About 5 years, I was walking down the street with a friend of mine. As we walked, he looked up from his iPhone and said to me: “It’s so refreshing when a web site has a good mobile experience!”
That was 5 years ago. Back then, it was common for web sites to not have a mobile experience. It was a surprise when they did. It was, as my friend said, “refreshing.” Back in 2013, mobile web design was a relatively new thing and most companies had not implemented any sort of mobile framework to their online presence. We were all used to having to pinch and zoom into web sites on our mobile phones. Nowadays, it’s a nuisance to land on a page with no mobile version. It’s become kind of unacceptable.
Most Internet Traffic is Mobile
According to statcounter, only 43% of total internet traffic today comes from desktop computers. The majority of internet traffic is coming from mobile/tablet devices. This number is only going to continue growing at a rapid pace. Having a well built mobile web site is paramount to attracting the right audiences and ensuring that their experience while browsing your space on the web is perfect.
Google’s Search Algorithm
Back in 2016, Google launched a new search algorithm that essentially removed your web site from mobile search results if your site was not mobile friendly. If you are a business that relies heavily on search traffic, this is a huge deal. According to TechCrunch back in March 2016:
To give publishers even more of an incentive to offer mobile-friendly pages, Google today announced that, in May, it will increase the importance of having a mobile page, and sites that are not mobile-friendly will rank even lower than before. As the company noted when it first introduced this as a ranking signal last year, the basic idea here is to give mobile users a better search experience.
This caused a rush of online publishers to begin rolling out mobile friendly versions of their sites and paying more attention to this than to the standard desktop versions. This is why mobile experiences have become so great today and are commonplace compared to 5 years ago when my friend and I walked together.
Responsive Web Site Design
Regardless, there are still companies and publishers that have not made the effort to refresh their mobile experiences. This is detrimental to their potential to retain users and be discovered on the web. If you fall into this bucket, there really is nothing to worry about. Responsive web design has become the standard technology being used by most web developers nowadays.
Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design which makes web pages render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes. Recent work also considers the viewer proximity as part of the viewing context as an extension for RWD. Content, design and performance are necessary across all devices to ensure usability and satisfaction. – Wikipedia
Basically, your web site will work and adapt to any device and is optimized for all screens. There is no longer a need to build a separate mobile experience. You build one web site that works everywhere. This is the standard by which all new web site design is based.
The only thing constant about technology is that it is always changing. What is a standard today may not be tomorrow. Technology changes and evolves so quickly that it is sometimes difficult for small businesses to keep up with the latest trends. Sadly, I think that all companies and business owners that have an online presence need to get into the mindset of expecting to redesign or refresh their online image every 5 years or so, maybe even less. Today it’s responsive web design, tomorrow it’s something else, and it’s very easy to be left behind.