In the weeks leading to April 21, Google sent emails to many webmasters alerting them to critical mobile-usability errors on their sites.
They were told, more or less, that Google had tested pages from their sites and found them unfriendly to mobile device users. Even more importantly, webmasters were told that Google Search would pinpoint these mobile-unfriendly pages and rank/display websites according to how well smartphone users could see them.
About 48 percent of Google searches take place on mobile devices, according to an analysis of SimilarWeb data. With this number expected to climb, event marketers can’t afford to get left behind. It’s important that independent planners and marketing departments of large planning companies move to mobile-friendly websites as soon as possible.
Smaller planning companies and independent planners were unprepared. They hadn’t budgeted for total website revamps. Questions came up: What critical areas should websites focus on? What makes a website mobile-friendly?
The answers, according to Google:
- Layouts that are flexible instead of fixed.
- Menus that are short and concise.
- Homepages that are easy to return to.
- Prominent and visible calls to action.
- Images, audio and videos that are scalable and load quickly.
From a technical perspective, planners need to do these to their websites:
- Set the viewport. In other words, avoid large fixed widths. Instead, include a meta viewport tag element in the document to give the browser instructions on how to control the scaling and dimensions of each page. On the cascading style sheet (CSS), apply different styling for screens of various sizes.
- Size content to the viewport so that horizontal scrolling is not required.
- Set the minimum font size to 16px on the CSS.
- Space links and buttons far enough apart to allow users to tap on specific targets.
These are just a few of the considerations. For more details, register your site with Google and log into “Webmaster Tools.” Google sends webmasters messages about critical usability issues including tips for making websites mobile-friendly. Google also has tutorials about Web fundamentals.