By now, the likelihood of hearing the term “mobile-friendly” in any tech-related conversation is at its highest. Thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices around the globe, design practices that were once aimed at desktop have switched to mobile. According to Statcounter, this was mainly influenced by the overtaking of desktop traffic by mobile traffic in 2017. Web developers continue to realize the benefits of mobile-friendly website daily. A wider audience, higher traffic flow, longer session durations are just a few on the list.

What Is a Mobile-Friendly Website?

Making a website mobile-friendly is not as difficult a task as it may sound. While there is no concrete definition of what a mobile-friendly website is, most definitions focus on factors such as accessibility, readability, and navigation.

Google defined their best practices to include mobile-first indexing, which means that Google indexes the mobile version of your website before the desktop version. The indexes are used by Google algorithms to rank website appearances in their search engine. Such factors have transformed mobile devices from social devices to potential business hubs.

What Makes a Website Mobile-Friendly?

Over time, many statistics have been formulated to analyze websites for their “mobile-friendliness.” The basis of these statistics ranges from the use of mobile real estate to the themes of design that a website developer selects for use. Google has done a great deal in this analysis and now provide developers with clearly defined in the Google guidelines on mobile-friendly web development.

The first focus of a mobile-friendly website will come from the visitors of your site. The visual presentation of information is a crucial aspect of how your visitor judges the website. The key areas of focus in the visual presentation include:

Responsive Design

The responsiveness of a site forms the basis for its mobile-friendliness. Responsive design of a website ensures that the content of that website will be resized and rearranged based on the size of the screen it is displayed on. A mobile responsive page, for example, will turn a vertically displayed menu to a horizontal display to enhance the website appearance. Unnecessary graphics such as images, GIFs, and videos may also be removed for better content presentation.

Readable Fonts

The focus for how information is presented in most web pages tends to lie on text representation, with images, videos, and audio enhancing the information that is in the text. The mobile-friendly website focuses on readability of text and usually have their content in sans-serif which is readable on screens of various types and sizes. Font sizes should also be carefully considered as it will affect how readable your paragraphs will be to the user. A standard size for most platforms your website could be viewed in is 16px.

“You can do a good ad without good typography, but you can’t do a great ad without good typography”
Herb Lubalin

Proper Text Formatting

Long blocks of paragraphs may appear neat on a desktop, but the length on smaller screens may look like too much information and scare the reader. Shorter and more precise paragraphs should be employed for a mobile responsive design. Keep the sentences short and direct, and apply bulleting and numbering where relevant.

Optimized Media Display

Information that is represented in videos and images must be sized in a way that doesn’t need scrolling or resizing of a page to view. Likewise, videos should be able to fit screen sizes appropriately when turned to landscape mode. Accurate adaptability can be enhanced by always using the viewport meta tag for your graphical elements.

Audit for Mobile-Friendly Site: A Checklist

The main points for the mobile-friendly site are the simple navigation, basic conversion elements (sections) on a website, site loading time, usability and content. To check this, you can follow the instructions below.

Checking the Site for Friendliness

To increase your website’s mobile-friendliness, there are some key elements of your website that you need to optimize. The checklist provides a handy guide for where to start when optimizing your website to be mobile phone friendly. Check main website pages main page, section, flypage, contacts, and other useful sections and blocks. To check if the site is responsive use Google Service.

Checking the Basic Conversion Elements

Conversion elements are essential for websites that are looking to increase their following or obtain a wider customer base. They are parts of your website that prompt the user to take an action within the app. These actions may include:

  • Ability to contact the store or office in one click;
  • Hamburger menu
  • Availability of prices on the products, services at the main pages types
  • Page “Contacts or Contact us”: phone number, address, roadmap
  • Fill out forms
  • Allow for notifications
  • Access to the social media page, and more.

These conversion elements should be added to your website in a way that does not obstruct the visitor from the main content of the webpage.

Checking the Site Load Speed

If your website features documents for the visitor or user to download, and the overall content volume is high, you must ensure that the load speed of your website is fast and reliable. There are tools available online that can analyze your website and suggest how best you can improve those speeds. There are tools available online that can analyze your website and suggest how best you can improve those speeds.

Google provides PageSpeed Insights as an online service which analyzes the speeds of your website. It provides details on the speeds and the optimization percentages for your website and provides suggestions on how you can improve these metrics for better ratings.

Pingdom is yet another website analysis tool which can help a website owner to achieve higher traffic for their website. It provides insights such as API integration metrics, root cause analysis, uptime monitoring, and synthetic interaction testing, which are essential for acquiring real-time statistics on website performance.

Likewise, GTmetrix is a tool which provides speed testing for websites. It gives insights to website performance through multiple scheduled tests and alerts, and it provides toolkits which can help web developers to optimize their websites even further for better performance.

Checking Website Usability

The usability of a website is determined by factors such as:

  • Readability level – font size not less than 12 px
  • The simplicity of navigation
  • Minimal error generation
  • Efficient completion of tasks
  • Satisfaction of use

Lack of usability on your website will result in high bounce rates. Usability tests can be useful in testing individual modules of the website manually. Some tools can also automate the process and provide results much faster.

Checking Content Match for Mobile and Desktop User

As a web developer, you must ensure that what your users see on your desktop website matches what information they see on other devices that they use to access your site. The tests that are run to ensure consistency in each version of a website are known as parity tests. They involve crawling of the website as both a desktop and mobile users and identifying differences between the two versions. Likewise, checking your HTML code can provide insight into the differences and allow you to fix errors as soon as possible.

Typical Mistakes, their Solutions and Criticality Level for SEO

So, you’ve checked your site on some main points as usability level, site load speed, content match, and conversion elements. You are almost ready to provide a mobile-friendly version of your site. But during the process of optimization, some small or significant issues might occur. We decided to point most of them to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly and mobile-ready.

IssueSolutionLevel of criticality
Absence/Mismatch of Optimization for Tags in Mobile VersionYou need to check which headings of the browser windows and meta tags in the URL of the mobile version. Tags should match the main website version.10/10
Availability of Scrolling BlocksYou should use less the containers with scrolling. Think of the stand-alone methods of the complex blocks and tables’ adaptation.8/10
Drop-Down Box, Widgets and Pop-UpsBox that covers 5% of the screen at desktop could hide the biggest part of the functionality on the portable device. The size should be minimized to the 5% of the screen.7/10
Wrong Redirection SettingsThe problem is relevant with the existence of the additional version on the subdomain or setting up redirect via User-agent from all the pages to the main page, but not to the same document on the mobile version.from 5 to 10/10
Pictures, JS and CSS files Hidden from IndexingIndexing restriction of JS and CSS files is defined as an error for any website. However, if you will hide only some scripts (for SEO needs), it is not a critical issue.from 5/10
Non-Renewable ContentIf you use animation technologies that aren't compatible with the mobile devices, it is critical for the indexing. The criticality level is defined with the number of pages, where the problem occurs. Use HTML5 for the video content playback.from 3 to 8/10
Low Page Load SpeedSlow load speed could be a critical factor if the user has a slow internet that is typical for the mobile devices without Wi-Fi usage. Always track the speed of the pages via Pingdom, PageSpeed Insights and other useful tools and try to raise the results.5/10
Wrong Adjustment of the Viewport and Its Meta TagThe wrong adjustment of the viewport meta tag your site won't pass the test for adaptability that causes traffic to drop.9/10

You can use this table above to check all the issues that might have occur on your website. This will help to prepare your site to be fully responsive and user-friendly.

Summary

The success or failure of websites in any industry is dependent on the customer. Sites which are responsive and mobile-friendly provide higher user satisfaction and enhance the accessibility of your website. A more accessible website means a higher chance of attracting customers from a broader base. Furthermore, these websites are more likely to be ranked higher by search engines which increase the probability of being accessed. Luckily, there is an abundance of checklists, guides, and tools which can help to optimize websites and make them as mobile-friendly as possible.
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