Monday, March 2, 2015

Mobile Friendly Sites now Google Mandated

Got the Google email today that 80% of my site isn’t mobile friendly, and that soon, that would impact the site rating. I’ve had a Google Webmaster account for years and so they know how to contact me.

And Yes.  I know that the site isn’t 100% mobile friendly.

About 3 years ago I looked into Mobile friendly when  I got a Smart phone and saw how tedious the site was. I  made the pages I get my business from all mobile friendly back then.
But that was just the Front Index, Cartoons and Business Logos, About and Contact pages.

The approach I took was to keep the existing pages the way they were, then added m.mobilepage.html versions for the mobile formatting.

I took this approach as the site is written in raw html and recently with a bit of php.  It is the way I started developing it back in 1995.  It also makes it robust as it doesn’t have any malice code injection points the CMSs do, but that really wasn't a consideration at first.

I researched and tried the different approaches to being mobile compatible.  What I eliminated immediately was the client side JavaScript approach. That is just so slow, and I hate the way the screen rewrites itself.  
I decided that the server knowing what the client was, then sending a mobile or desktop page was the best approach. Means php code has to run first and make the decision, but that makes testing difficult, as I only have access to a few client devices to test on.
The server side approach  is fast for the viewer, and the fonts and menus can be made readable and usable simply.  I take the approach of practicality over style and always use text as links for menus in a consistent fashion.

So on a desktop page, there will be a few link options across the page. In the mobile, these will be one per line with a

separator between them, which doesn't cause any problem of actually selecting the menu item with your finger on a small screen mobile.

The way I've done it means I have to update both pages with new content, even though the html of the update is the same in both.  I may have to look at this on the revision. Probably using php to merge the desktop or mobile header file with the actual single content html file

But years ago I found that when I used small 59 pixel wide preview images linked to larger images, the larger images didn't show up in Google Images.  I had to only use the larger images, but display them in the thumbnail size.  Makes a page heavier to download than it should be, even though it looks the same.   Just some Google indexing bug, but important to an image based page.

May be time to eliminate some now not so popular links too, and focus the site more.  Fine as long as I do it before April!

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