How long will you wait for a page to load before you click back and try the next link on Google?
The data tells us you won’t wait long. Statistics say that 53% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That’s not the worst of it, if your site loads slowly it can also negatively affect your Google rating, pushing your site further down the list of search results. Here's a link to a developer article explaining Why Speed Matters
Up until recently website owners have been getting away with some shoddy practices when it comes to performance and Google has even launched a slew of initiatives to help developers streamline the process of creating sites that are optimized for performance on mobile devices. Developers and website creators, however, have been slow to adopt.
You see from Google’s point of view, the searcher is the customer, and the customer comes first. Well, if we’re talking about organic search results that is. Google wants the searcher to find not only the most relevant results but the most effective results. That means if your site is slow because it’s loading gigantic images that may be needed for desktop, but to a mobile phone, you are wasting the user’s time and data. Shrinking the display size of an image doesn’t shrink the data used or shorten the download time. And this is just the tip of the ice-burg.
We no longer have a choice
Google is so serious about this that as of March 2021 it will no longer be indexing any websites by their desktop version. Google has been mobile indexing newly added sites since July of 2019 but if your site was around before then there’s a good chance you’ll be in for a surprise when the new rules come into effect. Having a responsive version of a website isn’t enough, it NEEDS to be optimized.
Just because content doesn’t spill off the page and you are still able to view it correctly doesn’t mean it meets mobile requirements.
Desktop designs are pretty but are they reaching the users?
The irony in all of this is that most web designers and developers still market their products based on the desktop version. Considering over 50% of people visit websites these days from a mobile device, and that search engines are only indexing content from the mobile version it seems a little backwards. Think of the last time you looked for a restaurant’s menu online, did you head over to the desktop to Google it, or did you pull out your phone?
That’s not to say that having a website display properly on a desktop isn’t important, it means the old school desktop-first approach wherein we build a full featured version of a site, then eliminate elements to make it fit on a mobile device, no longer works. If information is not there on the mobile version, Google won’t see it and neither will the 50% mobile users, if they can still find the site at all.
Speed – Reduce the time it takes for your website to load and the user can make their first interaction.
Payload – Reduce how much actual data is being used to fully load your web pages.
Layout Shifts – If your website is responsive and shifts page elements as the view port gets smaller, make sure when initial loading happens, the layout doesn’t shift after it's visible. This is frowned upon.
Proximity of elements – Don’t try to cramp too much information onto a small screen or the elements will be too close together, making them hard to click and move on a mobile device.
Sufficient contrast – On desktop we have a good deal of real estate to space our components out in relation to images, when we get to small mobile view ports images can overlap text and buttons making the contrast between them not great enough to be sufficiently visible.
click on the images above to view the demo site