On October 29th, 2014 Google introduced a new mobile usability app through Webmaster Tools to evaluate the effective structure of mobile websites, needless to say, businesses and web developers are thrilled.
There is no doubt social culture has seen a shift in media habits and consumption in recent years with over 11.19 million Australian smartphone users in May of 2013, 7.5 of which accessed the internet via their mobile devices in June 2013. With this social phenomenon, webmasters have set out to optimize their websites for mobile devices to ensure maximum traffic regardless of the display or monitor. The challenging part however was in defining what a successful mobile website consisted of as per Google guidelines and benchmarks for a true mobile friendly structure. Last Wednesday Google brought us all out from the dark. The Mobile Usability Report released allows webmasters and businesses alike the opportunity to evaluate common usability issues requiring adjustments to improve user experiences.
Specific issues, which can now be identified, include button or link proximity, font size for viewership, flash content and missing viewer point for meta-tags for mobile tags. For websites already connected to Google Webmaster tools, simply navigate to Webmaster tools> search traffic> mobile usability. Websites and businesses deemed “mobile friendly” by Google standards will be indicated as such during search queries as seen below. Those not accompanied by said mention would suggest the websites do not meet the criteria
Image source: Mobile Usability Report
Keep in mind, although your website may be responsive and adapt to different display sizes these factors do not necessarily deem your website mobile friendly. As still a very new report and development, the answers or best approaches to mobile friendly websites are not as well outlined as those for traditional websites but Google does offer some additional guidance in recommending you take a look at some basic mobile website criteria.
Needless to say, the shift towards mobile online activity will continue to become an important factor for businesses and users alike, if you have yet to evaluate the functionality of your mobile website you no longer have any excuses. Just “Google” it.