If you’ve ever been on the Internet on a mobile device, you know that mobile user experience as a whole is pretty unpredictable (and by unpredictable, I definitely mean maddening). As a user, I’ve experienced it all: popups that won’t close, half of the page obscured outside of the viewport, sites that load slowly (or just don’t load at all), illegible font, and of course, the genius who sends all of their mobile traffic to their one mobile-optimized page. My phone’s even powered off a time or three.
Now with mobile Internet usage exceeding desktop Internet usage, it seems we’re closing in on a pivotal moment: embrace the One Web approach and give users a consistent cross-device experience or, to put it simply, be left behind.
When it comes to leading a movement toward real change, who better to champion web standards than our friends at Google? From publishing mobile guidelines and creating tools to assess mobile page speed to laying the smack down on faulty redirects, Google’s been working diligently over the past few years to educate people who build the web and reward those who build it really well. In its latest and possibly most exciting development, Google has announced it will be displaying “Mobile-friendly” labels on search results, a change you’ll see roll out globally in the coming weeks.
The label will look something like this, though it’ll probably change over time:
For your web pages to qualify for Google’s “Mobile-friendly” label, Googlebot will be looking for the following criteria on your website:
- Avoid software that isn’t mobile-friendly, like Flash
- Text should be readable without resizing the viewport
- Content should fit inside the viewport so users don’t have to zoom or scroll horizontally
- Links are placed far enough apart to be easily selected
To check your website, Google suggests running a Mobile-friendly test on their new tool, which provides an assessment of your site’s mobile-friendliness along with suggestions for improvement and plenty of documentation to get you on track.
Google’s also added a “Mobile Usability” section to Google Webmaster Tools which provides detailed error information for your web pages as well as specific guidelines and web fundamentals that will help you to resolve them.
It’s a jungle out there, kids, but if it’s up to Google, the end is certainly nigh.