Good SEO’s know that Google closely monitors and could reward sites that offer good user experience and this now specifically includes Mobile user experience. It is very important that your website offers the very best mobile experience to it’s users and that mobile users aren’t “short-changed” on functionality.
As the number of web-enabled mobile devices has increased in the last few years, so too has the amount of web traffic the medium is responsible for. According to data recorded by Statista in August 2013*, nearly a fifth of Internet traffic is was generated by mobile phone and tablets – an increase of over 6% from the previous year so it was important back then to begin to think mobile. in 2017 with the huge ingress of mobile devices into our lives, this percentage has rocketed. Some sites regularly have more mobile and tablet visitors than desktop visitors, an we’ve had experience of e-commerce site having over half their revenue generated from mobile users!
On a mobile device, the web page is no longer a static place to display text, images or applications – they are fluid and malleable – so a responsive design is important. Mobile browsers take pains to capitalise on as much screen real-estate as possible, so the amount of feedback the user gets from navigating the site is limited. For example, clicking a link on a desktop browser will usually be acknowledged in the movement of the loading progress bar in the window. However, web browsers on smaller mobile devices rarely have this luxury.
For this reason, it is important that your site, when viewed on a mobile device, is as responsive as possible, giving the user a sense of interface with the page. For example, ensuring that large bodies of text can be enlarged via multi-touch displays to a readable size with minimal left-to-right scrolling. Furthermore, integrating page transitions and custom loading bars can compensate for the lack of tactile feedback afforded by the form factor. Failing in this area may result in the user pressing the link multiple times which could potentially disable the site altogether if they do this en masse.
The best approach in achieving this is keeping the site’s design as close to its desktop-based equivalent as possible and maintaining continuity that repeat visitors will appreciate. You must maintain consistency, user experience, familiarity for frequent, multi-device visitors whilst ensuring that perpetually mobile users are not short-changed on form or function.
However, the browser will not necessarily always be king in the coming years. As third-party app support on mobile devices have become ubiquitous, many large companies are duplicating the functionality of their website services into software on these platforms, as this allows tighter control over the user experience.