It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who exists in the modern world that mobile devices have become close to surgically attached for many people. Whether they’re talking, texting or trolling on Twitter, you don’t have to look far to find somebody with their nose buried in a phone.
The number of people using mobile devices to access the web has been growing for years. According to Statista, mobile traffic accounted for 52.2% of the total in 2018.
The share is higher in many parts of the world, and will vary somewhat depending on demographics. If your user base trends older, you’ll probably see fewer mobile users. But it’s safe to assume 50+ percent of people viewing your website are doing so on mobile phones or tablets.
In other words, if you’re not clear about your website’s mobile usability you could very easily be annoying or frustrating a good chunk of your users.
Fortunately, there are a few basic and fairly quick tests that will give you a good idea of how you’re doing.
1) Let Google show you the way
Since much of what is considered good practice is determined by the Borg ship in Mountain View, a good place to start is by running your site through their mobile-friendly testing tool. Enter your url and hit the button, easy peasy.
Hopefully, you’ll see this message.
But you may see this one.
The second is the result of a test I did for the remarkably bad website of author Suzanne Collins. Sorry Katniss.
The main issue here, aside from obviously being built by her nephew back in 1998, is that the website is designed for the desktop and makes no adjustments at all for mobile clients.
In these days of nearly ubiquitous responsive design, websites will automatically adjust to smaller viewports and rearrange elements to fit the smaller screen. This one does not, and hence is ugly (uglier) and hard to use on a phone.
Exactly. But hey, we’re not here to pick on Suzanne. I’ve never written a series of incredibly successful novels about a fifteen-year-old girl who can shoot an arrow through a bunny’s eye at three hundred yards or whatever.
Still, making even a terrible website like this responsive would not be very difficult. Better yet, redo the whole thing with a visually beautiful and responsive WordPress theme and leave this relic in the dust. The long-suffering denizens of District 12 will thank you.
2) Use a mobile simulator to view your site
This is a great way to get an idea of how your site looks on a variety of different clients at different screen resolutions. There are many out there, but I like this responsive design checker because it’s intuitive and easy to use. Just enter your URL and click “GO.”
Just play around with the different clients/resolutions to get an idea of how your site looks. You’re not going to see a super up-to-date list of phones but this is a good way to get the gist of things.
For instance, you might notice that your logo looks good at one resolution but it’s slightly off on a smaller screen. Or, there’s a bit too much or too little white space around the body text.
In the interest of science (and bashing on another terrible website) let’s run this Illuminati awareness site through our tool to see how it fares.
Again, this site is not at all responsive so instead of adjusting the content to the size of the screen it just cuts it off. Sorry, Satan or Putin or Kissinger or whoever happens to get the axe.
I’m just going to assume destroying man made religions and traditions and exposing the church’s lies, while also exposing Satan and his NWO and Waking People up With TRUTH keeps one very, very busy and website redesigns are not a top priority. I can certainly understand.
3) Use actual devices
As with many things, there’s no substitute for going directly to the source. In this case, the source is an actual phone or tablet, whether it’s yours or that of a friend or colleague.
The tests above are good, but they’re essentially simulations. They’re also not actually testing the functionality, such as whether your responsive menu works or if other script enabled doodads you might be using are working as intended.
Another advantage of having other people look over your website is they may notice things you don’t, using as they are different eyeballs and brains. You’d be surprised what other people see when they’re coming to your site fresh without the preconceptions you’ve developed by staring at it for hours.
The best case is to use phones and tablets in both iOS and Android. If you can find an iPhone and an iPad, as well as a Samsung phone and tablet, you’ll be doing pretty well.
Check your site in both portrait and landscape mode, and just click around and scroll up and down as if you’re a random user.
Here are a few questions to keep in mind:
- Does the navigation function as intended and is it easy to use?
- Is it easy to click links within text, preferably using one hand?
- Are all your hover effects working?
- Do your logo and other graphics look good or are they getting chopped off?
- Do your contact or other forms work?
- If you have a phone number on your site, is it linked so users can click-to-call?
Give this a try and you might be surprised at what you find.
And, as always, try to be aware of how fast the pages load. As I’ve said before, page load time is one of the most important factors in overall satisfaction and trust for the people using your site.