More and more website owners are catching on to the need for mobile-responsive website design, in order to avoid being penalised by Google in its search results for queries conducted from a mobile device.
Known as Mobilegeddon, this is one of the search engine’s major updates of recent months, and it affects anyone with a website that’s not designed to be mobile-friendly – for example, with bigger text and links that are easier to click (or tap) on a small smartphone screen.
But one contribution to the tongue-in-cheek blog Clients From Hell, “a collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers”, highlights the confusion that still surrounds the term.
In the anecdote, a client needs his website rebuilding from the bottom up to be mobile-friendly – but when the finished design is delivered, he hates that it looks different on a phone.
“Which do you want,” asks the designer, “a mobile-responsive website, or a site that looks the same on both a desktop computer and a mobile device?”
“Can’t you do both?”
The answer is that really good mobile-responsive website design should very nearly do both – but it’s not about making your mobile site look totally identical to your desktop site.
Instead, the adaptation from one to the other should be seamless, streamlined and subtle, with consistent branding, text and images, but stripping out the clutter and any proprietary technologies to ensure the mobile template passes the Google mobile-friendly verification test.