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Category Archives: Mobile And Web Design And Development

5 Tips to Improve Speed of Mobile Sites

improve mobile site speed

Even if you have an otherwise well-designed mobile site, a slow page loading time can lead customers directly to your competitors. Did you know that most users become frustrated when encountering only one second of loading time? This is an astounding statistic considering that most mobile sites take an average of five seconds to load.

While optimizing the loading time of mobile sites has always been a critical part of capturing and maintaining the interest of potential customers, it will soon become even more important now that Google plans to factor mobile site loading speed into its page-ranking algorithm.

Here are five basic ways to speed up your mobile site’s page loading time and avoid being penalized by Google:

  1. Check your mobile website’s speed. If you do not have Google Analytics installed on your webpage, you can use Google’s Page Speed Insights to see how your site measures up to Google’s one-second page render recommendation. Using a score out of 100, this handy tool will give you an idea of your site’s relative page speed. It also suggests “fixes” that explain your site’s slowing problems and offers detailed instructions for making necessary changes.

  2. Build a responsive website. While Google’s Page Speed “fixes” serve as useful tips for improving your mobile site’s speed, you might want to begin by building a responsive website, which will often boost your site’s speed in several key areas. Responsive web design automatically sizes and rearranges your site’s text, images, and other elements in order to deliver the same exact content to users no matter what device they are using to view your site. Most importantly, responsive design will fix poor mobile rendering of your desktop site. Even If you have two separate websites for mobile and desktop, you will still encounter slowing problems such as faulty redirects. For these reasons and more, beginning with a responsive website will help page speed in addition to improving SEO.

  3. Use a “mobile-first approach” to web design. If you begin by optimizing your responsive site for mobile and then scale up for larger devices, your website will likely meet Google’s mobile-friendly standards. In addition to optimizing the user experience for mobile browsing, designing in a minimal form forces you to think about what is most important for your customer and contributes to a simpler, more effective design that will benefit your responsive site’s overall speed and SEO.

  4. Avoid plugins. Plugins such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and Apple QuickTime are familiar third-party applications used to render video; however, these kinds of software do not work well, if at all, on mobile devices. Even when used in desktop pages, plugins add to page load time. Not only do these software programs cause problems for the mobile user, but Google now considers plugins in its new mobile-friendly algorithm. Instead of plugins, Google recommends utilizing common “native web technologies” for rendering content such as “audio and video, advanced graphics and presentation effects, network connections, local storage, and file access.”

  5. Optimize your images. Responsive web sites use responsive images, which means that images will scale to fit the mobile device or disappear at certain screen dimensions if encoded to do so. However, there are still a few baselines to consider when selecting and compressing images for your responsive, mobile-first website. Since images account for most of a page’s weight, optimizing and minimizing images can greatly enhance your mobile page speed.

    First, decide if your images are necessary to the website’s overall effect; oftentimes, simpler web design contributes to a better loading time and browsing experience. As we all know, however, a website without images is boring and unengaging. Since larger image files make for longer load times, it’s good practice to get your image file sizes as small as possible while not sacrificing too much image quality.

If you would like to optimize your mobile site with responsive, mobile-first design, contact DAS Group.

Responsive Website Design – Best Practices & Practical Tips for Putting the Mobile Web to Work for You

Responsive Website Design

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive design represents a fundamental shift in how websites are built. Historically, accessing a website via a mobile device meant encountering a website designed for viewing on a desktop or laptop monitor. This is still the case for some websites, and unfortunately, this means mobile device users have to scroll, resize, or pan to find what they are looking for. This leads to a frustrating experience for users and a loss of customers for businesses.

As web browsing on mobile devices increased in popularity, some companies solved the mobile viewing problem by creating an appropriately scaled mobile version of their main site. However, mobile sites require an alternate URL, which diminishes a site’s SEO, and involves separate maintenance and updates, which can be costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, there has been greater variation in screen size and resolution since the proliferation of tablets and larger desktop monitors; this means that any company following this model today would have to design three or four customized versions of their website to capture every potential customer.

Responsive web design solves these problems. Today, people use their mobile devices more than – traditional desktop and laptop computers for browsing and purchasing online. Responsive websites have a single URL and are optimized for viewing across all formats. While traditional websites present site content “statically” in terms of set pixels, responsive websites map site content “dynamically” using flexible, proportion-based grids and images. A responsive website will automatically resize, hide, or reorder its elements – including text, images, and toolbars — to fit on any screen, making it easy for customers to navigate or view a website in any context. Responsive websites also adapt to the shifting horizontal/vertical display orientation of tablets and phones.

Responsive design comes with benefits beyond mobile accessibility. Because screen sizes continue to change, responsive design will continue to serve your website in the future. Responsive design also positively impacts a website’s SEO, as Google favors responsive websites’ single URL and mobile friendliness.

What is a Responsive Theme?

Responsive web design patterns are numerous, but there are some common responsive themes. Responsive themes are layouts that provide a template for a responsive website so that you do not need to code one from scratch. A responsive theme offers a fluid grid system and flexible foundation, providing you with some options regarding how elements can be arranged in relation to one another. Responsive themes offer a general scheme for your website, but allow you to customize with your information, corporate logo, and other personalized content.

Breakpoints

While a responsive website will proportionately scale text and images, there are also certain dimensions – optimally correlated with common screen sizes – where it makes sense to rearrange these elements. These instances of re-organization are referred to as “breakpoints” and are encoded to tell the website to change at certain pixel points where shifting content would optimize the user experience for a particular cluster of similarly-sized devices.

At these set breakpoints, the website will snap to a new layout. For instance, a breakpoint might involve removing navigation sidebars from a horizontal layout intended for a desktop monitor and placing them on the top or bottom of a vertical layout designed for mobile browsing. Whatever your theme, you can use breakpoints to reshuffle content in an ideal way.

How to Design with a Mobile First Approach

Before the dominance of mobile browsing, web design started with the creation of a website for traditional platforms, which was then adapted for mobile devices. However, since phones and tablets have overtaken the traditional computer as a means of online browsing and shopping, web designers and companies might consider taking a “mobile first” approach. This approach simply means that the web designer starts with the creation of a web site optimized for mobile devices. Then, the designer incrementally scales up the mobile layout for larger devices.

In addition to optimizing user experience for mobile browsing, the mobile first approach to web design has additional benefits. Designing in a minimal, single-column form forces you to think about what is most important for your customer. This insight will ultimately result in a better desktop site. The simple site design will also benefit a company’s SEO, as faster load times increase a site’s Google rankings.

User Behavior Differences

Another benefit of responsive design is the ability to target all demographics. Some consumers prefer to browse, research, and purchase using a certain device, depending on age, work habits, and other factors. Using responsive design ensures that you target all of these different user groups.

Other customers are part of an “always on” demographic that uses various devices throughout the day. These users may research a product on a tablet, request further information on a phone browser, and complete a transaction on a laptop. Responsive design ensures that these users can move conveniently from one device to another.

Clearly, responsive web design has become the new standard for web design and will remain so in the future. If you would like to implement a responsive website to help grow your business and meet your business goals, contact DAS Group today!

Google Releases Amplified Mobile-Friendly Algorithm

mobile friendly algorithm

“In the United States, 94% of the people with smart phones
search for local information on their phones.”
(Webmasters Mobile Guide)

Google will release a gradual update to amplify its mobile-friendly algorithm, beginning in May. The algorithm, launched on April 21, 2015, was originally designed to boost mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results on Google. Just this week, it has been announced by Google on the Webmaster blog that this feature will now be amped up even more. Another ‘Mobilegeddon’? Not quite, as this was the nickname of the first update due to the massive impact delivered upon release. Still, we are promised a direct mobile impact with this update.

Mobile-Friendly Update Factors

‘Mobilegeddon’ yielded the following mobile-friendly page preferences, extending Google’s reach even further into mobile expansion:

  • Avoids software that is uncommon on mobile devices, such as Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Fits content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

These updates will soon mesh with the new features to build an even stronger platform for successful mobile search engine results. Some boosted effects for the new algorithm push are:

  • Increased effect of mobile-friendly ranking signal
  • Minor drop-off on non-mobile-friendly websites over an indefinite amount of time

The new and improved algorithm is a page-by-page signal, and as this rollout slowly progresses, subtle changes are bound to populate our screens. Rankings, including over 200 qualifiers, are assigned by Googlebot to determine whether or not your site is mobile-friendly.

There is no grey area – you’re either in or you’re out.

Click the link to see if your website is mobile-friendly: Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

Consumers Prefer Mobile Websites vs. Mobile Apps

Mobile Sites vs. Mobile Applications: Who Wins?

Recent data states that nearly 90% of smartphone users’ time is spent in apps; however, many surveys have shown that users actually prefer mobile websites to mobile apps when using the mobile internet.

What’s the Difference Between a Mobile Website and a Mobile App?

A mobile website is just that: a website that is accessed over the internet (or over a 3G or 4G network) and is sized to your device. A mobile app is also designed to fit a much smaller screen (such as the screen of a smartphone or tablet) but incorporates touch-screen technology so that playing games and other functions are more fun.

Data Shows that More Than Half of Smartphone Users Choose Mobile Websites

According to a survey by the Local Search Association, more than half of smartphone users will use a mobile website instead of a mobile app, and that number increases from 64% to a whopping 78% when consumers use a tablet.

Users prefer mobile sites over mobile apps

Why Do So Many Smartphone Users Choose Mobile Websites?

Apps are supposed to make the digital experience more user friendly. So, why the marked preference for mobile websites? According to a recent study, those who prefer the mobile web experience over mobile apps site some financial reasons: the mobile web is free, whereas apps often cost money. Many feel that using a browser is easier and more user friendly than clicking on apps. Some don’t have enough free space to download apps, while others weren’t sure how to download them properly. Screen size was an important point in this discussion, as well. Also, according to the recent 2015 Mobile App Survey Report, almost half of consumers stated that they would be less likely to reuse a mobile app after having an unsatisfying mobile app experience.

In other words, consumers seem to feel that in many cases, using a free mobile website that won’t crash is preferable when compared to the alternative of apps that cost money, provide the exact same information as a mobile website and may crash or give the consumer other technological issues. However, they still continue to spend 90% of their smartphone time in mobile apps.

Everything You Need to Know About Google’s New Mobile Friendly Algorithm

Google announces new algorithm on April 21stGoogle’s newest update began rolling out today and while the community has been referring to today as “Mobilegeddon,” Google has been referring to this update as simply the “Mobile Friendly Update.” While traditionally Google keeps update to their algorithm quiet, in February it was announced their intention to release a new mobile-friendly algorithm. While Google makes small changes to their algorithm frequently but rarely announce them, this announcement suggests that Google knows this change will have a big impact on search results and impacting revenue for many websites who depend on search results.

Potentially, this update will give priority to websites who include a mobile-friendly experience or are responsive. This change is designed to help mobile users to find search results that are formatted to their device. In this post you will find answers to the most common questions surrounding the most recent change and how it will impact your business.

What Changes Have Been Made?

While we only know what has been told to us by Google, but based on what we have seen and heard both with this update and past updated Google has made, here is our best guess of what has changed:

A new mobile-crawler will do a much better job of crawling single-page web apps. A new mobile-only index should be released with the new update and will index both mobile apps and websites. We believe that certain factors such as load speed, mobile UX indicators that are currently showing at the bottom of the Google PageSpeed tool will play into the new mobile algorithm.

How Do I Know If My Website Is Mobile-Friendly?

To see if your website is currently indexed as “mobile-friendly” in the mobile search results, you can use this tool from Google. Google may still need more time to update their indexing to pick up that pages on your site are mobile-friendly. The mobile friendly algorithm is on a page by page basis so even if some of your pages on your website are not mobile friendly, you can still benefit from the changes.

Will the Algorithm Be Delayed or In Real Time?

Unlike Penguin the mobile friendly algorithm is run in real time. In some cases the mobile friendly label may be delayed in showing up in the search results, but Google will pick up on those changes in real time.

Responsive Design is Google’s #1 Recommended Design Pattern

Google favors responsive designGoogle has stated that responsive design are their preferred design pattern. The reason that responsive design is more desirable is that it does not create two copies of the same site. Visitors to your website from desktop and mobile visit the same URL and view the same HTML. We recently shared some information about responsive design on our blog. Our deep dive into responsive went farther than just what is visually appealing. Responsive websites are simple to maintain, easier to crawl, and users love browsing them.

Why This is a Good Change

In most situations, marketers become frustrated with Google’s changes to their algorithm but this change is a very good thing. Modernizing your website to be optimized for how users browse and shop will only do good for your business by increasing conversions and decreasing bounced visits.

As more users are taking to mobile to search for products, gather information, and stay up to date on news, it is important that businesses consider taking their tired websites or mobile redirects out of the equation and opting for a fresh responsive design.

DAS Group specializes in creating responsive websites that are optimized to provide a seamless experience for users visiting from any device. Our designs are created to provide a simplified experience to your users no matter what device they visit from. DAS also stays up to date on Google’s ever changing requirements. Our sites include clean HTML that is crawlable and easily found.