Last week, Google shifted the rules it plays by when producing search results. Not every search will see the change – only those searches that were conducted on a mobile device will be affected. Google changed the way in which it lists search results for mobile searches, preferring websites that use a friendly, mobile website design. But what exactly is Google looking for?
What Google is looking for in mobile website design
First of all, that Google even determines what kind of device an individual searcher uses should provide a clue about just how important this shift is. The uptake of mobile devices is staggering, and while not every searcher uses a mobile device, the growing importance of mobile devices is unmistakable. According to Cisco’s worldwide projections, there are about 7 billion mobile devices in operation today. That’s one mobile device for every human being on the planet. That figure alone should cause you to evaluate (or re-evaluate) your mobile website design immediately.
Good mobile website design takes into account the limitations of mobile devices – and there are some significant ones! Mobile devices don’t have a lot of power, and that means they don’t have very robust processors. Processor limitations mean that they don’t download or upload data very quickly, and they can’t display graphics-intensive data very well.
Given these limits, Google is looking for a mobile website design that takes into account the amount of data a mobile device can process easily. That usually means eliminating large images, expansive color palettes, complicated fonts (which may not reproduce well on a small screen anyway), some forms, and things like Flash, which require a browser plug-in to operate and may not even be compatible with certain mobile devices.
Another mobile website design element is navigation. Providing excellent navigation is essential, especially when a user is contending with a small screen and a limited number of navigation options (e.g., swipe, point-and-click, etc.) Limiting the number of layers a visitor must traverse to reach his or her final destination is also critical. Mobile users won’t be patient with having to sift through layer upon layer of a website.
Employing a good mobile website design doesn’t mean going “plain,” though. A knowledgeable designer can help you incorporate good mobile website design practices into your site, while still producing a creative, memorable and highly functional mobile website.
If you would like more information about mobile website design, Google’s mobile search algorithm changes or how you can add a friendly mobile website design to your existing website, please contact our Creative Director, Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation.
Photo Credit: Loraw2000, via FreeImages.com