The number of smartphone users has seen an unprecedented growth in the past few years. People are increasingly using their mobile devices to consume media and access the web. Many estimates suggest that the smartphone and tablet user traffic has far overtaken the traffic from traditional desktop and laptop computers. Mobile devices are easily accessible and a more economical alternative to other bulky and expensive computer systems. Because of their relatively cheaper price, they are being used as primary internet access devices by a majority of people in developing countries.
Even after their many advantages and merits, users face a very big problem when browsing the web using their mobile devices: The small and inconsistent screen size. Due to the limited screen real-estate, viewing websites which are not optimized for mobile can be a nightmare, especially when trying to read text content.
A website that is designed only for a laptop or desktop screen does not translate well when used on a phone or small tablet. Zooming in and out on a web page over and over again is irritating and makes the user experience inconsistent and unappealing. Desktop websites can also be resource intensive due to their large size and the necessity to pan and zoom, and therefore cause lags and stutters in low-end devices.
The following images perfectly demonstrate the problems associated with viewing desktop sites on a mobile device. On the left side, we can see that the content is either too small to read, or cropped to fir the small screen size. Whereas on the right we can see that same content fits perfectly after it has been updated to a mobile friendly format.
Keeping the above points in mind, it is necessary to update your website to be mobile friendly. Websites which are optimized for mobile viewing automatically scale and arrange their content so as to perfectly fit the device on which they are being used. A mobile-friendly website will provide a coherent experience on all screen sizes ranging from the smallest phones and tablets to even huge desktop screens. In the image below, we can see how a website will adapt to for varying screen sizes.
Another pressing reason to update to a mobile optimized layout is the release of a “Mobile-Friendly” update by Google. With this update, Google will make changes to its search algorithm allowing it to judge a website’s ‘mobile friendliness’. This data would then be factored in while deciding the website’s rank or position on Google search results. Any website which is not optimized for viewing on a small screen will receive a lower rating, which will result in a lower rank onGoogle search results. A majority of users click only on the first few search results, and virtually no one makes it to the second page of results. Considering that traffic from search engines contributes a major chunk to the overall website traffic, the need for mobile optimization for a website has never been higher.
Google has also provided a simple test to verify if your website meets Google’s mobile-friendly standards. By simply entering the website’s URL you can assess any problems which may hinder mobile-friendly behavior. This test can be accessed by clicking