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Think Mobile First When Designing Your Website

Jan 16, 2020
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Think Mobile First When Designing a Website

Mobile-friendly website design should be a top priority in 2020 to ensure that your visitors have the same user experience across the board from a smartphone, desktop or a tablet. There’s nothing worse than viewing a poorly rendered website on a mobile device and struggling to read overlapping text with cluttered images that run off the page.

In 2015, 31% of people viewed websites on their mobile devices. As of December 3, 2019, records indicate that it’s as high as 51%. With a little over half of the web traffic worldwide using mobile devices, mobile design is no longer an afterthought. 

Aside from potentially poor aesthetics in mobile view, it’s now imperative to have a mobile-friendly website in order to rank in Google. As of July 1, 2019, Google announced that “all new websites previously unknown to Google Search” will be indexed using mobile-first indexing. In other words, Google now crawls and indexes your website based on how it renders on a mobile phone versus a desktop computer.

What Does This Mean for My Existing Website?

For older websites, Google will continue to monitor and evaluate pages for their mobile readiness (as in mobile-friendliness) and will move these sites to mobile-first indexing. Readiness is based on Google’s best practices for mobile-first indexing. You can read a detailed definition of Google's best practices for mobile-first indexing on their developer site. I suggest you keep this link bookmarked because they have a Changelog of announcements on this page.

It’s important to know if your site is mobile responsive. A quick way to check is by using Google’s mobile-friendly test tool where you type in your website URL to see if there are pages that need fixing and what issues are detected. 

Test While You Build

Whether you are building or redesigning a website, you need to test for mobile responsiveness. Besides the obvious way of testing which is to type your URL into a smartphone and review every page, there are several other ways to do so as well.

It’s a good habit to check each page and fix as you build rather than at the end which can make for more work and needless troubleshooting.

How Can I Test My Site?

Here are 4 ways you can switch your website from desktop to mobile device view:

1. In this first example, you can do so while in the Chrome browser. This function works similarly in other browsers. 

Open your website and select anywhere on your page and right-click. You will see a list of options appear. Select the bottom option, ‘Inspect’. 

Step 1: Click on the multi-device icon as seen below. This will reduce the size of your website. 

Step 2. Select from the ‘Responsive’ drop down options to see how your website fares in a number of mobile device views.

test website for mobile responsiveness

2. If you’re designing a WordPress site and using a page builder like Beaver Builder, you can select the module you’re working on and choose the mobile view from the Advanced tab to see how the site looks.  

3. WordPress has its own built-in mobile device preview option via Customize which is located in the admin panel. This comes in handy when you want to take a quick view of your mobile design.

4. Free tools such as responsivedesignchecker will show how your site looks in different device options.

Often times when you see discrepancies between your desktop and mobile design, it may require further development and additional code. When you encounter these differences you will find investing in a knowledgeable web developer who can correctly align the site for mobile responsiveness is worth every penny. 

Remember, Google is watching! It’s important to keep up with the ever-changing and evolving trends in order to rank high and get found in searches. Following Google’s best practices for mobile devices and using one or all of these simple, easy-to-use tools will save lots of time and avoid potential issues before you launch your site. 

If you are looking for help with your website or would like to do a redesign, download this free ebook, The Ultimate Website Redesign Project Plan and get started today!

Website Redesign Project Plan

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Bridget O'Connor

By Bridget O'Connor

As our Website Operations Lead, Bridget is responsible for the project management and website builds/rebuilds. She has been working exclusively in the website design and development space for over 2 years, always learning the latest technologies to better serve clients. Her biggest passion and joy is working in WordPress.

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