Ever walked down the street and wondered why you always seem to be bumping into people who, with their heads down, seem to be oblivious to their surroundings?

Maybe you’ve entered a busy coffee shop recently. But you think you’ve interrupted a church meeting, heads are bowed towards a small screen as if in prayer with hardly a word being spoken.

Kids eh, who can understand a flipping word they say? It’s a timeless sentiment for most grumpy parents. Our urchin pretty much refuses to communicate with us at all, unless it’s via WhatsApp. Their alien language, (“Txtspk is sooooo cool”), now leaves the parents grunting, in true Kevin and Perry style, at the kids.

It’s not just kids. The other day I walked into a shop where the staff, who were let’s say in their autumn years, were glued to their smartphones. (I did the old coughing politely thing to get their attention).

The Pocket Internet.

No, it’s not the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, (well not quite). The World Wide Web is literally as huge as it sounds, except now, the internet fits snugly into your pocket.  The future is here.

But for website owners who want to reach as many people as possible (who doesn’t), or for those who rely on their websites for their trade, there is a very serious point to all this. There are now more people accessing the internet on their phones & tablets than laptops or desktop PC’s. So it makes no sense, economically or otherwise, to exclude the majority of online these users.

Can you imagine not being able to use Facebook, or Twitter on your mobile phone or tablet? If you had to be shackled to your desktop PC to send a Tweet or to post a photo of your dinner, then you just wouldn’t bother. It would be the end of social networking as we know it.

What the hec is mobile-friendly anyway.

Yet I frequently come across websites which are not ‘mobile-friendly’ (known as responsive design). Which in a nutshell means;

  • The website sizes and stacks the content according to the screen, so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom.
  • Fast load times. Over egging the content costs money for mobile users in additional data charges. In other words less is best.
  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices. like ‘Flash’.
  • Has an easily navigable menu and places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

Modern life is busy and people are not willing to waste time with websites which are difficult to use on mobile phones. They will simply go somewhere else if it’s a chore.

Help Google to love you.

If that doesn’t convince you; A couple of years ago, Google started labeling sites as “mobile-friendly” in their mobile search results. And this year, Google rolled out an update to mobile search results that “increases the effect” of its mobile-friendly ranking. The goal is to “help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly” say Google.

Google now applies importance in their search results to both the user experience as well as search relevance, giving priority to mobile-friendly websites. Google even provide a handy mobile-friendly test tool that will analyse your website to see if it complies. Give it a go.

If you have a business website, or like us also want to provide the user with a great online experience, your website needs to be mobile-friendly, or it could literally hit you in the wallet.