Tag Archive for: mobile first

As announced last month, Google is officially making its first step towards the launch of mobile-first indexing with the test of its mobile-first search index.

The company confirmed the testing has officially started via its company blog:

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”

This means in the future Google will increasingly prioritize crawling the mobile versions of a site’s content, rather than treating desktop as the “main” version of your site.

The company also gave some quick tips to help you make the most of this change as it is happening:

  • If you have a responsive site with identical content across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
  • If you have a site where the primary content and markup is not identical across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
  • Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.
  • Google recommends using the Structured Data Testing Tool to verify the equivalence of structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output.
  • When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
  • Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
  • Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links.
  • If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
  • If you only have a desktop site, Google will continue to index your desktop site just fine.
  • If you are building a mobile version of your site, do not launch it until it’s ready. Google says: “a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site.”

Just because we are a month into the year, it doesn’t mean some aren’t still giving their predictions for what will be popular this year. Jake Rocheleau is a little late to the fray, but he makes a couple predictions which pique my interests, especially because he stays away from the standard for this years’ lists, responsive design.

Instead of just repeating that responsive design will be big this year, Rocheleau suggests responsive design is going to shift our workflows to starting on mobile and building sites up from there. Mobile first design allows you to identify what is important from the beginning, then flesh out the site for other platforms. The traditional method of starting on desktop usually turns into a game of squishing and cutting elements when scaled down for mobile.

Rocheleau also uses a popular implement for many social media websites as a sign that soon infinite scrolling will be common on the web. Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter have all popularized the layout style, and even Reddit’s most popular add-on, Reddit Enhancement Suite, adds in infinite scrolling, as well as numerous other features. This style doesn’t work for every type of site, but it certainly is spreading.

His other predictions aren’t as interesting as the last two advancements. White space and minimalist designs have had a niche following for years in web design, and while many sites use this style, it is hard to see it becoming widespread. The idea behind using minimalist designs or a lot of negative space is that it removes clutter and helps users focus more on pages. Clutter on a webpage is never good, but most companies will continue to opt for other solutions, if the trend continues as it has been.

The same goes for big photography. In the circles extra large photography online benefits, big photography has been common in some form for years. Design portfolios and personal websites have long organized their main pages around large, high quality images. The newer high definition displays out there definitely make these types of pages pop a little more than they used to, but it is hard to see it becoming any more common than it already is.

It is always interesting to look at predictions or annual lists that arrive a little behind the rest of the pack. Most lists for 2012 that came out in early January or late December tended to focus on responsive design and parallax scrolling. Those two design implements are keeping their foothold, but as this list shows, we’re already moving further with design.