Google announced this new feature to track mobile usability way back in 2014. However, since 2014 the importance of this feature has only increased. Companies, today highly invest in making their websites attractive and user friendly. Though many companies only claim and do not deliver on that promise, most of the websites today have evolved and are providing great usability and user experience. It is 2017 and the mobile usage by an average consumer for accessing information or simply shopping, has taken over computer usage. Mobiles are growing at a fantastic pace, both in screen size, features and usage. Hence, if you want your business to be a success, you need to deliver the best mobile experience to your audience. This is when the Mobile usability feature of Webmaster comes in the picture to save your day!
A mobile friendly site is the one which you can easily use and read on a smartphone. Swiping left/right to search for content, zooming to read the text and use UI elements, or not being able to see the content at all make a site harder to use for users on mobile phones. The mobile usability feature identifies issues that usually come up during using a company’s mobile website. The specific issues that the report shows consist flash content, missing viewport meta-tag for mobile pages, tiny fonts that are hard to read on mobile, fixed-width viewports, content not sized to viewport, and clickable links/buttons too close to each other.
Let’s have a look at these common errors that the Mobile usability feature points out
1. Flash content
Many mobile users are not able to use a certain page on their phones because the page relies on flash and most mobile browsers do not render flash based content. Due to security vulnerabilities, many browsers have also banned flash content, like Mozilla Firefox. Hence, Google webmaster suggests designing the look and feel of website by using modern web technologies other than flash.
2. Viewpoint not Configured and Fixed-width Viewpoirt
A mobile friendly site is the one which perfectly adapts to different devices. People use sites from various devices, from smartphones to tablets, hence a website should be configured to specify a viewpoint that adapts to all devices. Fixed-width viewpoint issue occurs when a web developer has fixed the view point to suit only the common mobile screens. Fixed width viewpoint makes your page look responsive on certain devices however, may become unresponsive in other devices. You can terminate this issue by using the “meta viewport tag” and by adopting a responsive design for your website.
3. Content not supported by Viewport
After configuring the website correctly, the content doesn’t automatically work well with all widths. This issue occurs when pages use absolute values in CSS declarations. However, this issue can be fixed by using relative width and position values for CSS elements.
4. Small font size
This issue occurs when the font size of your page’s content is too small to be easily read by a user. The visitors may be required to zoom-in in order to read. After configuring your viewport of your webpage, it is important to set the front size of your content to scale properly within the viewport.
5. Touch elements too small
This issue occurs when touch elements like input fields, buttons or navigational links are too close each other. Extra close proximity between touch elements makes it difficult for a user to select the desired item. Google looks for specific sizes of the targets themselves, as well as the spacing between them, to ensure they are easy to tap.
As the web becomes more accessible to people using various mobile devices, it is important that pages appear correctly and the content is easily accumulated. Resolving any issues pointed out by Google Webmaster will not only deliver a great user experience to your end user but will also increase your search engine rankings.