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Posts Tagged ‘Responsive Design’

Why Your Website Should Be Mobile-Friendly

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Mobile-friendly

Mobile-Friendly Websites

With the continuing improvements of smartphone technology, websites are being constantly accessed from mobile browsers and mobile devices. This means that the conventional design techniques may need to be tweaked to suit different screen sizes and be cross compatible with the plethora of devices in the market.

With multiple companies launching newer models every day, the competition for how your website will be viewed is also hotting up.

The experience of a mobile user is so significant in making or breaking a sale that now website’s are forced to change the way they look or behave based on what the users want.

This article explains why you should make your website responsive or mobile friendly if you haven’t already started.

Higher Ranking in Google Search

Starting on April 2015, Google has started giving priority to websites which have a mobile-friendly version of their site. Google has already started providing tags for searching results which indicate which web page is mobile friendly i.e. can be easily viewed on a web page.

As per Google’s Webmaster Blog:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

They go on to say:

“When it comes to search on mobile devices, users should get the most relevant and timely results, no matter if the information lives on mobile-friendly web pages or apps. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, our algorithms have to adapt to these usage patterns. In the past, we’ve made updates to ensure a site is configured properly and viewable on modern devices. We’ve made it easier for users to find mobile-friendly web pages and we’ve introduced App Indexing to surface useful content from apps.”

Other search engines are also most likely to follow suit and give preference to mobile friendliness in a website. Yahoo and Bing, like Google also give priority to responsive websites and openly indicate that.

Multiple Screen Sizes

The main aim of any website should be to serve up what the user wants and how the user wants it. With the drastic shift in internet usage to mobile-friendly devices, websites also need to adapt to this shift in the pattern.

This is called Responsive Design.

Responsive Design is used to reduce data usage on mobile connections by stripping off unimportant parts of the website and only focusing on the important aspects.

Modern web design must make adjustments for different types of screens including mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, projectors and even window displays. Every screen needs to have the unique features based on their usage and based on their functionality.

W3CSchools says that “RWD stands for Responsive Web Design; RWD can deliver web pages in variable sizes; RWD is a must for tablets and mobile devices.”

Focus on important features

Larger buttons, larger font size and designs that are optimized to be mobile-friendly, all of these items are ideal for giving the best website experience to a mobile user.

Other factors which are given priority is element spacing, especially for things like links, popups, buttons and even drop down lists.

The whole point of this is to ensure that the end user focuses on exactly what they want and not the flowery features of your website which are presented to desktop users.

Article Provided By: Internet Marketer Inc.

Mojoe iconIf you would like Mojoe.net to discuss your website’s analytics, custom logo designs, website, web application, need custom programming, or IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net.

SEO: Google to Make ‘Mobile-friendly’ a Ranking Signal

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

On March 15, 2015, the article “SEO: Google to Make ‘Mobile-friendly’ a Ranking Signal” was posted on the web. It is a most read for any website owner.

SEO: Google to Make ‘Mobile-friendly’ a Ranking Signal - Responsive Design

New Changes Start April 21

Do you have a mobile or responsive site? If not, on April 21 you may find it harder to rank in Google’s mobile search results.

Google announced algorithm updates that will have a “significant impact” on mobile search results worldwide for mobile searchers. The update improves rankings for sites that provide a mobile-friendly experience to searchers on mobile devices, and, by association, demotes sites that do not.

Google announced algorithm updates that will have a “significant impact” on mobile search results worldwide for mobile searchers.

Note that the mobile-friendly update only affects mobile search results — i.e., searches from smartphones and tablets — not searches conducted on a desktop or laptop computer.

In addition, the algorithm is applied worldwide, page by page, on a real-time basis. “Worldwide” means that the algorithm update affects mobile searchers and search results in all countries at the same time, rather than just rolling out in the U.S. first.

“Page by page” means that each page’s mobile friendliness is judged separately. That’s good news if your ecommerce catalog is mobile friendly but your forums or other content sections are not. The unfriendly sections will not cause your entire site to be ranked as unfriendly.

“Real time” means that you can expect to see the mobile ranking benefit of making your site mobile friendly right away. The next time Googlebot crawls your pages and determines that they are newly mobile friendly, the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm would kick in for those pages. This is especially good news because some algorithm updates have been processed on a monthly or unknown time cycle and applied to the algorithm in batches.

Beware, though, because real time also works both ways. If an update were made to your site that makes pages unfriendly, the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm would kick in for those pages the next time your site is crawled.

In addition, content from indexed Android apps can now be ranked in search results for searchers who are signed in to Google and have that Android app installed on their mobile device. Since Google would have no access to Apple’s iTunes database, iOS apps would not be included in this app ranking improvement.

Google’s stated goal is to improve searcher experience. It’s frustrating to search on a phone and land on a page that’s so tiny you can’t accurately click the links without pinching and zooming and scrolling to find the right text or links.

Google is converting that frustration into an improvement in its search results, so that more mobile searchers will land on sites with positive mobile experiences. It makes sense from the searcher’s perspective, which is what matters to Google.

But from an ecommerce perspective, it could possibly be a very costly update in terms of lost mobile traffic and revenue.

Example of Mobile Impact

Say you use your smartphone to search for “formal dresses.” Starting April 21, the results on your smartphone will be reordered based on the relative mobile friendliness of the sites. The image below shows my mobile search result for “formal dresses.”

SEO: Google to Make ‘Mobile-friendly’ a Ranking Signal - mobile impact

Keep in mind that the mobile search result is probably personalized in some way. Your mobile search results may vary. The important thing to note is that the first, second, and fifth organic search results are already deemed “Mobile-friendly,” as I have highlighted above.

Google has already been annotating mobile-friendly pages for searchers, in an effort to help influence mobile searchers toward a better mobile experience.

On April 21, the annotation will become part of the ranking algorithm, affecting the order of search results directly. In Google’s words, the change will have a “significant impact” on search results for mobile searchers.

The burning question is how significant the impact will be.

Will the fifth ranking site move up to the third place, ahead of the non-friendly sites so that the new ranking order becomes 1, 2, 5, 3, 4? Or will the sites that rank third and fourth today disappear completely from the first page of results, so that only mobile-friendly sites grace the first page? There’s no way to know until April 21.

Ecommerce Impact

Maybe it’s easy to dismiss the example above. It’s one keyword, likely not even related to your industry. How many people even search for formal dresses on their phones anyway?

It turns out that searchers want to find “formal dresses” over 100,000 times a month, according to Google’s Keyword Planner, and nearly 300,000 more want some variation of formal dress keywords, such as a semi-formal dress.

Of all those nearly 400,000 searches on average per month in Google in the U.S., only 39 percent of them happen on a computer. That means that 61 percent — about 240,000 searches a month — occur on smartphones and will be significantly impacted by Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update on April 21.

SEO: Google to Make ‘Mobile-friendly’ a Ranking Signal - stats

If a consumer is searching on a mobile device for a product sold specifically by your ecommerce brand, my prediction is that your brand will continue to rank at the top regardless of mobile friendliness. For example, for site-branded keywords, such as “macys formal dresses,” mobile search results are unlikely to change dramatically. There’s no way to know for certain until April 21, but logically Google should respect the searcher’s ecommerce brand navigational search intent.

The same would presumably not hold true for product brand searches, such as “UGG boots,” where many etailers sell that brand. We should expect the mobile-friendly update to impact product branded keywords in the same way as it would a completely unbranded keyword like “winter boots.”

Impact on Your Ecommerce Performance

First, determine if Google sees your pages as mobile friendly. It doesn’t matter if you think they’re mobile friendly or your agency tells you that they are. What matters is what Google determines algorithmically because it has 100 percent control over how your site ranks.

Google has provided a mobile-friendly testing tool that analyzes each page that you enter and tells you whether it’s mobile friendly or not. The image below shows a page that is not mobile friendly, and the resources that Google recommends to resolve those issues.

SEO: Google to Make ‘Mobile-friendly’ a Ranking Signal - mobile friendly

Resolving the issues could be as simple as asking your developer to update your robots.txt file to remove a block on certain files (your developer will know what this means). Or it could be as difficult as a redesign to implement responsive design or mobile site best practices.

How this affects your ecommerce business depends a great deal on your mobile search performance today. Remember that the only traffic and sales at risk here is organic search driven via a mobile device (smartphone and tablet).

Analyze the risk in any change that will impact search engine optimization in terms of worst-case scenario.

The worst-case scenario is that all of the sales-driven organic search traffic via a mobile device disappears instantly when the change happens. That’s the worst case. It can’t get worse than losing it all. In all likelihood, the worst case won’t actually occur, and the decrease would be more like 80 percent, or 50 percent. But measuring the worst case helps you decide if the issue really is significant enough to act on immediately.

Start by measuring the amount of affected traffic and sales today and determine the real impact of losing it all. Remember, filter the visits and sales so that the data only contains organic search-driven traffic via a mobile device. Then determine the impact to your ecommerce business if those traffic and sales disappeared completely on April 21.

That’s how to determine the actual cost. What’s more difficult to measure, however, is the opportunity that this algorithm update represents.

How many of your competitors will be boosted by the mobile-friendly update? How many will be demoted? Can you capitalize on their loss? Is this an opportunity to surpass the competition?

Keep in mind, receiving few visits and sales via mobile search today does not in any way indicate the true size of the opportunity.

Head to the Google Keyword Planner and identify the actual opportunity that mobile search represents. Test your assumptions using keyword research and determine the true size of the mobile search opportunity before dismissing it as a useless channel.

I was skeptical, for example, that “formal dresses” would drive any real mobile search traffic. I was wrong.

Article Provided By PracticalEcommerce

If you would like Mojoe.net to discuss developing your logo, web site, web application, need custom programming, or IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net.

WordPress Web Site – Cox Photo

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

WordPress Web Site - Cox Photography
Mojoe.net has launched a new WordPress web site for Patrick Cox Photography. Mojoe.net is very honored to launch www.coxphotography.net. Not only did we consult with Patrick on the development of his site in WordPress but this site is  a fully responsive WordPress web site but with an added twist.

The images on the home page fill the screen up no matter what the device: desktop, tablet or mobile phone. The site and the images are optimized for improved performance on mobile devices like tablets and phones. Patrick wanted a site that would not only be easy to update by using WordPress as his Content Management System but wanted a site that would show the beauty, technique and creativity that he puts into each and every shot.

We customize the site to display full screen images on any page of the site but we also customized the WordPress login screen especially for Patrick Cox Photography. This site has been developed with its own unique navigation for the home page and draws upon a plugin that has been customized to deliver the experience that Patrick Cox Photography wanted to achieve when visitors come to his web site.

Cox Photography is the premier photographer in Greenville, South Carolina and has been published in major magazine and publications.

Services Provided:

If you would like Mojoe.net to discuss developing your web site, web application, need custom programming, or IT consultant, please do not hesitate to call us at 864-859-9848 or you can email us at dwerne@mojoe.net

Responsive Images and Web Standards at the Turning Point

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Responsive Images and Web Standards at the Turning Point

by MAT MARQUIS

The goal of a “responsive images” solution is to deliver images optimized for the end user’s context, rather than serving the largest potentially necessary image to everyone. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been quite so simple in practice as it is in theory.

Recently, all of the ongoing discussion around responsive images just got real: a solution is currently being discussed with the WHATWG. And we’re in the thick of it now: we’re throwing around references to picture and img set; making vague references to polyfills and hinting at “use cases” as though developers everywhere are following every missive on the topic. That’s a lot to parse through, especially if you’re only tuning in now—during the final seconds of the game.

The markup pattern that gets selected stands to have a tremendous influence on how developers build websites in the future. Not just responsive or adaptive websites, either. All websites.

What a long, strange, etc.

Let’s go over the path that led us here one more time, with feeling:

The earliest discussion of responsive images came about—predictably enough—framed in the context of responsive web design. A full-bleed image in a flexible container requires an image large enough to cover the widest possible display size. An image designed to span a container two thousand pixels wide at its largest means serving an image at least two thousand pixels wide. Scaling that image down to suit a smaller display is a trivial matter in CSS, but the requested image size remains the same—and the smaller the screen, the better the chance that bandwidth is at a premium.

It’s clear that developers’ best efforts to mitigate these wasteful requests were all doomed to fall short—and not for lack of talent or effort. Some of the greatest minds in the mobile web—and web development in general, really—had come together in an effort to solve this problem. I was also there, for some reason.

I covered early efforts in my previous ALA article, so I’ll spare everyone the gruesome details here. The bottom line is that we can’t hack our way out of this one. The problem remains clear, however, and it needs to be solved—but we can’t do it with the technologies at our disposal now. We need something new.

Those of us working on the issue formed the Responsive Images Community Group (RICG) to facilitate conversations with standards bodies and browser representatives.

“W3C has created Community Groups and Business Groups so that developers, designers, and anyone passionate about the Web has a place to have discussions and publish documents.”
http://www.w3.org/community/

Unfortunately, we were laboring under the impression that Community Groups shared a deeper inherent connection with the standards bodies than it actually does. When the WHATWG proposed a solution last week, many of the people involved in that discussion hadn’t participated in the RICG. In fact, some key decision makers hadn’t so much as heard of it.

Proposed markup patterns

The pattern currently proposed by the WHATWG is a new set attribute on the img element. As best I can tell from the description, this markup is intended to solve two very specific issues: an equivalent to ‘min-width’ media queries in the ‘600w 200h’ parts of the string, and pixel density in the ‘1x’/’2x’ parts of the string.

The proposed syntax is:

 

<img src="face-600-200@1.jpg" alt="" set="face-600-200@1.jpg 600w 200h 1x, 
face-600-200@2.jpg 600w 200h 2x, face-icon.png 200w 200h"> 

 

I have some concerns around this new syntax, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

The markup pattern proposed earlier by the RICG (the community group I’m part of) aims to use the inherent flexibility of media queries to determine the most appropriate asset for a user’s browsing context. It also uses behavior already specced for use on the video element—in the way of mediaattributes—so that conditional loading of media sources follows a predictable and consistent pattern.

That markup is as follows:

 

<picture alt=""> <source src="mobile.jpg" /> <source src="large.jpg" media="min-width: 600px" /> 
<source src="large_1.5x-res.jpg" media="min-width: 600px, » min-device-pixel-ratio: 1.5" /> 
<img src="mobile.jpg" /> </picture> 

 

Via Github, this pattern has been codified in something as close to a specas I could manage, for the sake of having all the key implementation details in one place.

Polyfills

So far, two polyfills exist to bring the RICG’s proposed picture functionality to older browsers: Scott Jehl’s Picturefill and Abban Dunne’s jQuery Picture.

To my knowledge, there are currently no polyfills for the WHATWG’s newly proposed img set pattern. It’s worth noting that a polyfill for any solution relying on the img tag will likely suffer from the same issues we encountered when we tried to implement a custom ”responsive images” solution in the past.

Fortunately, both patterns provide a reliable fallback if the new functionality isn’t natively supported and no polyfill has been applied: img set using the image’s original src, and picture using the same fallback pattern proven by the video tag. When the new element is recognized, the fallback content provided within the element is ignored—for example, a Flash-based video in the case of the video tag, and an img tag in the above picture example.

Differing proposals

Participants in the WHATWG have stated on the public mailing list and via the #WHATWG IRC channel that browser representatives prefer the img set pattern, which is an important consideration during these conversations. Most members of the WHATWG are representatives of major browsers, so they understand the browser side better than anyone.

On the other hand, the web developer community has strongly advocatedfor the picture markup pattern. Many developers familiar with this subject have stated—in no uncertain terms that the img set syntax is at best unfamiliar—and at worst completely indecipherable. I can’t recall seeing this kind of unity among the community around any web standards discussion in the past—and in a conversation about markup semantics, no less!

We’re on the same team

While the WHATWG’s preferences, and the web developer community’s differing preferences, certainly should be considered as we finalize a standard solution to the problem of responsive images, our highest priority must remain providing a clear benefit to our users: the needs of the user trump convenience for web developers and browser developers alike.

For that reason (for the sake of those who use the web), it’s critical not to cast these discussions as “us vs. them.” Standards representatives, browser representatives, and developers are all partners in this endeavor. We all serve a higher goal: to make the web accessible, usable, and delightful for all. Whatever their stance on img set or picture, I’m certain everyone involved is working toward a common goal, and we all agree that a ”highest common denominator” approach is indefensible. We simply cannot serve massive, high-resolution images indiscriminately. Their potential cost to our users is too great—especially considering the tens of thousands of users in developing countries who pay for every additional kilobyte they consume, but will see no benefit to the huge file they’ve downloaded.

That said, I have some major issues with the img set syntax, at least in its present incarnation:

1. USE CASES

Use cases are a list of potential applications for the markup patterns, the problems that they stand to solve, and the benefits.

I’ve published a list of use cases for the picture element on the WHATWG wiki. It is by no means exhaustive, as picture can deliver an image source based on any combination of media queries. The most common use cases are screen size and resolution, for certain, but it could extend as far as serving a layout-appropriate image source for display on screen, but a high-resolution version for printing—all on the same page, without any additional scripting.

At present, no list of use cases has been published for img set. We’ve been working under the assumption, based on conversations on the WHATWG list and in the WHATWG IRC channel, that img set covers two uses specifically: serving high-resolution images to high-resolution screens, and functionality similar to min-width media queries in the way of the 600wstrings.

It’s vital that we have a way to take advantage of new techniques for detecting client-side capabilities as they become available to us, and thepicture element gives us a solid foundation to build upon—as media queries evolve over time, we could find ourselves with countless ways to tailor asset delivery.

We may have that same foundation in the img tag as well, but in a inevitably fragmented way.

2. MARGIN FOR ERROR

I don’t mind saying that the img set markup is inscrutable. It’s a markup pattern unlike anything seen before in either HTML or CSS. This goes well beyond author preference. An unfamiliar syntax will inevitably lead to authorship errors, in which our end users will be the losers.

As I said on the WHATWG mailing list, however, given a completely foreign and somewhat puzzling new syntax, I think it’s far more likely we’ll see the following:

 

 <img src="face-600-200@1.jpeg" alt="" set="face-600-200@1.jpeg 600w 1x, 
face-600-200@2.jpeg 600w 2x, face-icon.png 200w"> 

 

Become:

 <img src="face-600-200@1.jpeg" alt="" set="face-600-200@1.jpeg 600 1x, 
face-600-200@2.jpeg 600 2x, face-icon.png 200"> 

Or:

 <img src="face-600-200@1.jpeg" alt="" set="face-600-200@1.jpeg, 
600w 1x face-600-200@2.jpeg 600w 2x, face-icon.png 200w"> 

 

Regardless of how gracefully these errors should fail, I’m confident this is a “spot the differences” game very few developers will be excited to play.

I don’t claim to be any smarter than the average developer, but I am speaking as a core contributor to jQuery Mobile and from my experiences working on the responsive BostonGlobe.com site: tailoring assets for client capabilities is kind of my thing. To be perfectly honest, I still don’t understand the proposed behavior fully.

I would hate to think that we could be paving the way for countless errors just because img set is easier to implement in browsers. Implementation on the browser side takes place once; authoring will take place thousands of times. And according to the design principles of HTML5 itself, author needs must take precedence over browser maker needs. Not to mention those other HTML5 design principles: solve real problems, pave the cowpaths, support existing content, and avoid needless complexity.

Avoid needless complexity

Authors should not be burdened with additional complexity. If implemented,img set stands to introduce countless points of failure—and, at worst, something so indecipherable that authors will simply avoid it.

I’m sure no one is going to defend to the death the idea that the video andaudio tags are paragons of efficient markup, but they work. For better or worse: the precedents they’ve set are here to stay. Pave the cowpaths.This is how HTML5 handles rich media with conditional sources, and authors are already familiar with these markup patterns. The potential costs of deviation far outweigh the immediate benefit to implementors.

Any improvements to client-side asset delivery should apply universally. By introducing a completely disparate system to determine which assets should be delivered to the client, improvements may well have to be made twice to suit two systems: once to suit the familiar media attribute used by videotags, and once to suit the img tag alone. This could leave implementors maintaining two codebases that effectively serve the same purpose, while authors learn two different methods for every advancement made. That sounds like the world before web standards, not the new, rational world standards are supposed to support.

The rationale that dare not speak its name

It’s hard to imagine why there’s been such a vehement defense of the img set markup. The picture element provides a wider number of potential use cases, has two functional polyfills today (while an efficient polyfill may not even be possible with the ‘img set’ pattern), and has seen an unprecedented level of support from the developer community.

img set is the pattern preferred by implementors on the browser side, and while that is certainly a key factor, it doesn’t justify a deficient solution. My concern is that the unspoken argument against picture on the WHATWG mailing list has been that it wasn’t invented there. My fear is that the consequences of that entrenched philosophy may fall to our users. It is they who will suffer when our sites fail (or when developers, unable to understand the WHATWG’s challenging syntax, simply force all users to download huge image files).

WE THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE WEBSITES

I’ll be honest: for me, no small part of this is about ensuring that we designers and developers have a voice in the standards process. The work that the developer community has put into the picture element solution is unprecedented, and I can only hope that it marks the start of a long and mutually beneficial relationship between we authors and the standards bodies—tumultuous though that start may be.

If you feel strongly about this topic, I encourage all designers and developers to join the WHATWG mailing list and IRC channel to participate in the ongoing conversation.

We developers should—and can—be partners in the creation of new standards. Lend your voices to this discussion, and to others like it in the future. The web will be better for it.

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