Google has officially announced that they will be moving to “mobile-first” indexing. This means that Google will now use the mobile version of a web page for “content indexing and ranking.” As of last year, mobile devices surpassed desktop internet usage worldwide as desktop became a secondary touch point for most users. So, it’s no surprise Google is moving away from a desktop-centric ranking system.
Historically, Google has used desktop versions of page content for indexing but are now using mobile to identify relevant content on the page. Mobile First won’t serve in conjunction with desktop indexing, but as a separate entity in which Google will utilize going forward.
Google is claiming that this new mobile indexing system won’t change ranking, yet in the developer notes it explicitly claims “mobile-first indexing means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.”
What are mobile solutions that exist right now?
Well, there is a spectrum of options.
Now that Google is penalizing your ranking efforts by prioritizing Mobile First designs, we all kind of have to follow suit. Most designers use a blend of already made bootstrap frameworks and custom design additions to automatically condense information into a mobile device. This is a lazy (but totally acceptable!) way to answer the Google First problem.
But what can you do to make sure your website is on top of the mobile game?
Depending on time and resources, there are different approaches you can take to design for mobile. Best case scenario is for every desktop design you have, a mobile design will also be created. This takes into account the nuances of each platform and still allows for maximum creativity and interactivity on each page. Now, I’m not advocating for you to suddenly spend an inordinate amount of time producing highly nuanced mobile designs in the next week. However, here are some tips and tricks you can implement to create a better mobile presence:
Sticky navigation is when a user scrolls through content and your navigation stays sticking to the top of the page. This is key on mobile. If you have an informational site, landing page, or even a product page, having navigation stay sticky will allow your users to easily find content instead of having to search for it. If they decide to take an online action, they can do it easily. Instead of having to scroll back up to “learn more” or Buy Now, it’s right there in front of them.
Things that make sense on desktop don’t necessarily work on mobile. A lot of business owners will have a website with simple navigation, a beautiful hero image, a main value proposition with titles, and maybe even a call to action button. These usually look great on desktop, but the moment you start to degrade that it into a mobile space, it will typically stack everything to look like an endless scroll. (You lose the CTAs and the emphasis you designed for.)
To avoid that, use truncation procedures like:
- Make icons smaller
- Have one sentence of website copy featured with an option to expand for more.
Truncation is adapting to mobile so that it’s easier to use and consume for the user. If truncation is done right, everything will be placed higher on the web page in a succinct and accessible manner.
Why is this important?
We don’t absolutely know what will convert the user, but what if it’s the testimonial that was buried in that giant scroll? Truncate your content intelligently when designing a mobile solution to increase user conversion and experience.
Sometimes clients will have a beautiful photo on a desktop page, but when it comes time to design for mobile the image is simply too big and decreases usability for the user. You don’t want everything on your desktop design featured on your mobile design. Make sure your images size gracefully or have your designer resize the image altogether so that it fits within your mobile solution.
The rule of thumb for mobile isn’t less is more, but to design with intention. A great UX/UI team will know how to guide you through these steps by first getting to understand your demographic, business goals, and budget. We do the research so you don’t have to.
Want to learn more?
Let us help get you situated for the Mobile First changes coming your way. It’s a jungle out there, click here so you don’t have to go at it alone! Let our CreateApe experts act as “jungle guides” and help you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.