Respond Or Die: Designing For Google’s Focus On Mobile

Respond Or Die: Designing For Google’s Focus On Mobile
SHARE
THIS



From April 21 Google’s algorithm adds weight to mobile-friendly sites in search results, making the principles of responsive design even more important. Sam Court, UX director at full-service agency, The White Agency has some tips for companies on how to manage the change.

Responsive Design is about crafting websites to provide an optimal experience across a wide range of devices with various resolutions – from desktop computer monitors, to tablets, and right down to mobile phones.

When we search there are millions of webpages with information. Google’s algorithm relies on more than 200 signals to interpret what you might really be looking for. These signals include things like the words on the site, the freshness of its content, your device and region, and PageRank.

More information about Google’s update can be found on their blog.

But first, some context…

The first phase of the web was about openness – anyone could build a site and have it found. Phase two has been about mobile, allowing entire nations to skip the desktop. If the next phase of the Internet is about connecting the dots to automate human-centred experiences, then we better ensure that the web is properly indexed for mobile usage!

Since 2011, digital media consumption has grown 394% on smartphones and 1721% on tablets (Comscore). In addition, 31% of traffic to the top 10 digital properties was mobile-only. So with the changes to Google’s algorithm, there are really no excuses for not concentrating on mobile.

Five Tips for Optimisation

In order to best capitalise on Google’s mobile prioritisation, here’s five principles to help optimise your mobile experience.

1. Usability, not aesthetics

Mobile screens are small, so more than ever, the interface needs to be easy rather than pretty. It also means that leveraging established design patterns is more important than ever.

The Nielsen Norman Group has some great advice on mobile usability:

  • Use Mini-IAs (like a Table of Contents) to help with long pages
  • Layer content so a reader can quickly get the gist
  • Optimise the IA’s depth to reduce the steps needed to get to relevant content

2. Optimise for speed

There’s no doubt our smartphones are crazy-powerful – even smarter than the computers that got NASA to the moon. Despite this, and despite 4G’s speed, it’s still important to cater for inferior connections. Web geriatrics like me will remember the days when websites had self-indulgent Flash introductions, which were so big, they needed a preloader.

Users on the run will not wait for lagging sites. Test and optimise your site using a lower-spec mobile with a slower than 4G connection. Keep the load times to a minimum and make the experience feel “snappy”.

3. Prioritise navigation

Consider whether every navigation item is necessary on smaller screens. Prioritise the vital elements, giving them absolute prominence.

Many product-based sites have complex navigation systems allowing inventory filtering. Clear sign-posting provides context and guides choices. The Iconic does a pretty good job at simplication for smaller screens.

Another key concern is revising your main navigation – often triggered using a ‘hamburger’ fly-out. Minimise items around what the stakeholders and users need most. And don’t forget the users’ mobile contexts – What are they most likely to need when on the go?

4. Fingers are fat

We human folk are clumsy and imprecise. Especially when you think about the poor accuracy of a finger on a touchscreen, compared to the pixel precision of a mouse cursor on a desktop.

It’s best to keep in mind real mobile contexts for use too. Lend Lease is one of our clients, and I like to imagine a construction worker using his smartphone to check a building material specification whilst on a building site.

Most importantly, give your clickable elements sufficient breathing room. Google’s Material Design Specification is a great reference and offers scalable visual guidelines to ensure all elements of your interface are clear and usable on every size screen.

5. Don’t forget iPhone’s high-resolution screens

Including both ‘high’ and ‘standard’ resolutions for images ensures your site will look sharp on high-spec screens like Apple’s Retina. Obviously with additional fidelity comes increased file size, so ensure your load times are still manageable and you’re only using high-res when you really need it.

Another way to optimise with icons and logos is to make them in SVG format. Because they’re vectors, they’re small file sizes and they stay crisp at all resolutions.

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Aussie Netflix Watchers Vote The Brand Number One For Consumer Advocacy
  • Marketing

Aussie Netflix Watchers Vote The Brand Number One For Consumer Advocacy

Aussie Netflix customers are the strongest advocates for the brand reveals the latest findings of the the YouGov 2017 Brand Advocacy Rankings. The rankings are calculated by measuring recommend scores among each brand’s customers for the twelve-month period through October 2017. Interestingly, car-maker Volkswagen, savaged after 2016’s emissions scandals – has topped the YouGov list for […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Study: Aussie Brands Close The Gap Between Digital Experience & Customer Expectation
  • Marketing

Study: Aussie Brands Close The Gap Between Digital Experience & Customer Expectation

SAP Australia today launched its 2017 Australian Digital Experience Report, revealing that Australian businesses have significantly improved the digital experience they provide, closing the gap to what consumers expect. However, while performance has improved, consumers are still more likely to be unsatisfied with digital experiences than delighted by them.  The report, based on results from […]

Nuttelex Launches First Brand TVC Via Independent The Sanford Partnership
  • Campaigns

Nuttelex Launches First Brand TVC Via Independent The Sanford Partnership

Following a nation-wide qualitative and quantitative research study, independent creative agency The Sanford Partnership has produced a TVC for its client Nuttelex. The TVC has a nostalgic theme with a modern twist and highlights the brand’s healthy credentials. Nuttelex Food Products Pty Ltd started in a small factory in St Kilda in 1932. Now, the family […]

Yarra Trams & Icon Agency Introduce ‘Tram Coach’ For New Passenger Safety Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Yarra Trams & Icon Agency Introduce ‘Tram Coach’ For New Passenger Safety Campaign

Yarra Trams has appointed Icon Agency to deliver a new passenger safety campaign, following a competitive three-way pitch. The campaign aims to reduce the incidence of slips, trips and falls on trams via Melbourne’s latest safety ambassador, ‘Tram Coach’. Commencing today, Tram Coach will be travelling the Yarra Trams network throughout the week. His mission […]

The Red Republic Appoints New General Manager
  • Marketing

The Red Republic Appoints New General Manager

The Red Republic has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Mai Aristoteli (pictured above) as general manager. Aristoteli joins The Red Republic from Talk PR in London, where she has worked for nine years as a board director. The appointment of Aristoteli follows The Red Republic managing director Lynn Mooney’s relocation to head-up […]

PR Deadlines Inks Deal With GlobalCom PR Network
  • Marketing

PR Deadlines Inks Deal With GlobalCom PR Network

Sydney-based agency PR Deadlines has extended its global reach after inking a partnership agreement with the GlobalCom PR Network. The agreement gives PR Deadlines’ clients access to some 70 independent agencies covering all European Union states, as well as 60 more in countries worldwide. In turn, clients of affiliated agencies will have access to PR […]

Fintech Start-up InstaReM Names Aussie Cricketer Matthew Wade As Brand Ambassador
  • Marketing

Fintech Start-up InstaReM Names Aussie Cricketer Matthew Wade As Brand Ambassador

InstaReM, which offers international money transfers to individuals and businesses, has signed on Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade as the sports face of the brand. InstaReM lists Australia as its founding market, having begun life here in 2014. Since the company’s modest start in Australia, InstaReM has since successfully spread its wings to other corridors by […]

Australia Is Diverse… Does Your Brand Have An Inclusive Digital Presence?
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Australia Is Diverse… Does Your Brand Have An Inclusive Digital Presence?

As Australia continues to grow and the population becomes more ethnically diverse, it is important that marketers ensure digital environments are more inclusive, especially for those who don’t speak English as a first language, writes Siteimprove’s Haley Doel (pictured below). Having a readable and accessible website is no longer just a high priority for large […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Pepsi MAX Teams Up With PHD & Time Out For New Data-driven Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Pepsi MAX Teams Up With PHD & Time Out For New Data-driven Campaign

Pepsi MAX has partnered with PHD and Time Out to not only inspire Australians, but also enhance their ability to ‘MAX’ out their summer this year. Through the use of a live dynamic data feed, consumers will be served ads by the brand on events taking place around them that are relevant to their personal […]

AI – To Join It Or To Beat It
  • Media
  • Opinion

AI – To Join It Or To Beat It

I'm afraid we can't let you read this piece Dave! That's a joke about A Space Odyssey 2001, young B&T readers.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine