Mobility First: responsive, friendly or optimized?
As Google rolled out its Mobility First algorithm update, mobile sites had to evolve to perform at a higher level. After the ‘mobile responsiveness’ wave of the years 2012-2018, the trend is ‘mobile friendly sites’, a term coined by Google. As we gained in experience designing mobile sites, we came to observe that mobile friendliness is not the end-all for mobile sites.
A mobile-friendly site is only complying with Google’s set of design and coding criteria (admittedly, Mobility First stipulates a long list of them). Yet the latter are mostly algorithmic in nature, and not fully user-relevant. Google wants you to give your mobile users a great experience with loading speed, spacing between clickable elements, and volume of content, but these parameters are more quantitative than qualitative.
From our experience, we started to derivate design and coding rules to optimize a mobile site to satisfy both Google’s Mobility First requirements (paramount to SEO) and end-user experience (UX). While both are not terribly conflicting, there is a definite need to adjust the site structure to preserve its UX quality without jeopardizing its SEOability.
This post won’t dwell on the distinctions between ‘mobile responsive’, ‘mobile friendly’ and ‘mobile optimized’ (this is the topic of a series of separate posts on mobile sites), but rather gives you proven principles, rules, and tools to use when testing the efficiency of your mobile site. The goal of design remains maximizing your ROI by generating as many leads as possible.
For your reference: Hats off to PikToChart for their awesome library of beautiful infographics. This one is made using one of their templates.