How to make a website mobile friendly?
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - September 25, 2020
Mobile phones have become an inseparable part of our lives. Mobile platforms account for 51.53% of overall web traffic (Source: Statista). That’s approximately half of the global web traffic. Given this significant mobile usage, website owners must focus on delivering seamless user experiences on mobile devices.
Consequently, website owners must ask themselves –
- How to make a website mobile friendly?
- How to make your website mobile compatible?
This article answers that question by describing six effective techniques to make mobile-friendly web pages.
Bear in mind that every mobile device has unique screen sizes and resolutions. To deliver optimal viewing experiences across multiple devices, a website needs to be responsive and compatible. This brings us to the first technique.
1. Implement a Responsive Layout
A responsive layout allows a website to rescale itself according to the device being used to view it. This makes the website adapt to different screen sizes without any rendering issues. Responsive web design works well for both mobile and desktop platforms as the website realigns its appearance accordingly.
Having a mobile responsive website also helps in boosting the SEO value of a website. Google prefers indexing and ranking websites that are mobile-friendly. Incorporating a responsive layout goes a long way in assisting websites in ranking higher on Google searches.
Wondering how to check your website’s responsive design?
Try running a quick test using BrowserStack’s Responsive Checker tool. Just enter the website URL, and the tool will immediately display the website on a range of real devices like the Samsung Note 10, iPhone X, iPad Pro, etc. Testers can see for themselves how a website appears on different devices and how mobile-friendly it is.
The responsive checker runs responsive tests on real device-browser combinations, as a result, users get accurate test insights. Thus providing an inclusive experience as compared to other tools.
2. Focus on Website Speed Optimization
Speed plays a decisive role in creating the first impression of any website. 47% of visitors abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Page load speed cannot be compromised.
To evaluate a website’s loading time, run a website speed test on BrowserStack SpeedLab. Simply enter the URL and click on Start. This free tool verifies website speed on multiple real browser-device combinations and displays a score out of 100 for both mobile and desktop platforms.
Must Read: 3 Reasons Why Website Speed Matters
3. Avoid Pop-Ups
It’s annoying for users to encounter sudden pop-ups while browsing content on a website, especially for mobile users. In some cases, the X mark (to close the pop-up) is not even adequately visible, thus adding to the users’ annoyance. Developers and designers must ensure that if they have to display ads, they do so in a way that it does not obstruct the content on any device screen.
4. Incorporate the Viewport Meta tag
Incorporating the Meta tag lets developers control the viewport’s width and scaling so that the website is sized correctly on all devices. The viewport meta tag instructs the browser to resize the width of the web page according to the device screen size it is viewed on.
Also Read: Ideal Screen Sizes for Responsive Design
Use the code snippet below to define the meta element on each web page:
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
5. Avoid using Cluttered Web Design
Web developers must ensure that they are not cluttering the website by providing every functionality on the same page. This creates confusion, as it becomes difficult for users to navigate a page with too many elements. Offer only the critical functions upfront, since those are the ones users will actively look for. For seamless user experience, prioritize a neat, minimalist design that makes navigation intuitive.
Developers can incorporate the Hamburger button on a website. If implemented, mobile users can open the entire menu with a single click. This will make navigation easier and foster more visual appeal. Once done, consider running a responsive test again to verify if the website appears as expected across various devices.
6. Keep Testing the Website on Real Mobile Devices
An effective way of ensuring that your website delivers an optimal user experience is to test it on real mobile devices. Testing on real devices enables the detection and resolution of any issues or discrepancies that a user may face in the real world. Run every user scenario on as many real browser-device-OS combinations as possible so that customers can experience effortless, effective browsing irrespective of whatever device they may be using to view a site.
Testing websites across real iOS and Android devices can be challenging without access to comprehensive test infrastructure. Now, it is not feasible for every organization to have an on-premise lab as it involves a significant investment. Using a cloud-based testing platform is often a better alternative because it offers only the benefits without requiring the effort of maintenance.
BrowserStack’s mobile testing lab provides teams and individual testers with instant access to the latest and legacy versions of Android and iOS devices. Websites can be tested in real user conditions. This includes mobile-specific features such as geolocation testing, push notifications, network simulation, location testing, etc.
Mobile devices have significantly changed the way people use the internet in their day-to-day lives. This trend is set to increase, and more people continue to access the internet primarily via mobile devices with every passing year. Additionally, as leading search engines like Google continuously seek to make the web a mobile-first search ]landscape, having a mobile-friendly website must take precedence for developers and testers.