We live in the age of the mobile device, with the number of mobile subscribers expected to surpass 5 billion this year. And that number will almost certainly continue to grow for the foreseeable future. With billions of people accessing the Internet with their smart phones, now is the time to step back and evaluate your current website design. Is it really catering to modern users – the majority of whom access your content with a mobile device?
Google has made no secret of its preference for a mobile-first approach to design. Earlier this year, the search giant’s penchant for mobile manifested in the rolling out of a new mobile-first search index to rank websites. This took the place of a previous index that catered to desktops first, with amendments and revisions made to rank mobile sites.
Given Google’s clear preference for sites that are designed to be viewed on a mobile device, it’s clear that anyone hoping to improve their site’s SEO in Australia needs to adopt a mobile-first approach. With that in mind, we’re taking a closer look at a few of the ways we can help you optimise your site for mobile users.
Begin with the User Experience
The first thing to consider when designing and laying out a website is the user experience. What problems do you anticipate users having when they visit the site? Are any of these related specifically to the fact that they may (or may not) be using a mobile device? If so, these are amongst the first issues you should consider addressing.
Most of the problems that relate to accessing a site with a mobile device can be correlated to one of two issues:
- The site doesn’t display correctly on a mobile screen.
- The user has difficulty interacting with the content on the site.
We’ll touch on both of those issues in the following sections.
Layout Your Site for a Diverse Range of Displays
Between the variety of smart phones, tablets, phablets, hybrid notebooks, regular laptops and desktop computers on the market – each with its own display resolution properties – how could you possibly expect to create a website that renders well on all of them? The short answer is that you can’t. That’s why the savviest designers respond with responsive (sometimes called ‘fluid’) layout design.
A fluid layout is measured in percentages of a screen’s width. The website communicates with the device being used to visit it to determine what percentage of the screen a particular module of the layout should occupy. This ensures that every single device and display used to access the site will be able to display the content correctly.
Fluid layout design is an ingenious means of coping with the range of resolutions available. It eliminates the need to design multiple sets of layouts to be applied depending on the display in question. As a result, designers spend less time and energy laying websites out, and users enjoy a tailored, more streamlined experience.
Design Sites for Touchscreen Interaction
At this stage in the game, more people use a mobile device to access the Internet than a desktop computer. We crossed this milestone back in 2016, when more than 51% of all websites sessions were loaded on a mobile device. No doubt, that figure continues to grow to this day.
Armed with that knowledge, it’s more important now than ever that website designers and anyone offering SEO in Sydney create sites that are navigated – first and foremost – with the touch of a finger.
If you’ve ever tried navigating a site that was designed for touch, you know first-hand how frustrating it can be to try and press a button that simply isn’t big enough, or to scroll through a page when that’s designed to work with a mouse but not a finger.
Websites that have been designed for touch are still easily manipulated with a mouse or touchpad, but the same doesn’t hold up in reverse. With that in mind, it makes even more sense to design sites for the majority of users (touch users) in mind, trusting that mouse users will still be able to use the site with ease.