Google’s recent mandate is to demand that websites become “mobile-friendly” in order to better serve the people using smartphones and other mobile devices via responsive website design. The new directive was embedded into their recent algorithm change with those meeting the new website standards getting priority over websites that lag behind. Why the sudden interest in this technology? Smartphone searches are dominating other devices and regular website design is not suitable for smaller screens. Business owners might be wondering why their traffic is decreasing or sales are falling. It could be because Google is no longer ranking them as highly if they have not catered to the mobile demographic with a responsive web design.
After the algorithm change, Google revealed that the search volume via mobile phones now exceeds that of other devices, like laptops and tablets. This is true in the United States, but also eight other countries (including Japan). Forbes compiled a list of facts that revealed that 82 percent of adults own a cell phone. In addition, 74 percent of smartphone users use it for shopping. Of these, 79 percent make a purchase using their smartphones. Even the biggest news sites know that they need to reach this demographic to stay relevant. Take a look at cnn.com or msnbc.com on your smartphone to see some excellent responsive website designs. With that much commerce at stake, it’s important to get up to speed with responsive web design as soon as possible. Here’s how to get started.
Unlike ordinary website design that tends towards complicated drop-down menu structures and multiple embedded links for site navigation, these features prove to be obstacles to successful site navigation on the much smaller mobile screens. The responsive web design philosophy is all about simplicity. Simplify menu structures with flat designs that scroll endlessly by swiping. Use fat buttons instead of links so that a person navigating with their thumb can easily target it. Use menu navigation at the top of the screen with buttons that will scroll the page down to the right section.
Content is the same for regular websites as for mobile sites. However, the layout can affect the way it's viewed. Keep content concise and direct. It can’t ramble on endlessly or you will lose the short attention span of the smartphone user. Information should be segmented into smaller pieces that can fit on a smartphone screen. Short paragraphs and lists can be content that is easily scrolled through or swiped, making it ideal for mobile layouts. Create attention-grabbing subheadings to make things easy to scan as users swipe down on their screen. Remember to use relevant keywords and prioritise information so that your best content is visible first, since it will be stacked on a scrollable page.
Avoid garish colour combinations and stick to flat hues. They are more visible on a smartphone. Keep menus down to a minimum. If you have rotating banners or other complicated design elements, remove them. They will hog up valuable screen real estate and might not function as expected on a smartphone.
Responsive website design is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Complicating things is easy, but when it comes time to simplify, you have to call in the experts. Only someone like Quantum can make a difficult task with so many tiny pieces a breeze. Contact us at Quantum to learn how fast you can make your own site “mobile-friendly” to stay relevant and retain your Google ranking in the future.