What does it mean: Mobile Friendly?


A long, long time ago, there were all sites in desktop size. It was a short time after the flash. It was a sad time, because flash scripts made websites amazing, like a movie. But.. time of ecommerce began. Developers returned to php language and everything went back to the beginning.

Many websites have been developed to the most common resolution on the most common OS, which was 1024x768 on Windows XP.

The computing power of the CPU and GPU were higher and higher. Meantime, people have started to use mobile phones to read Internet websites. Some of us remember the WAP protocol for surfing the Internet. At the same time, cable Internet connections began to speed up and developers made websites larger and heavier. This was the time of the first 3G mobile phones. 3G mode made us able to surf the Internet faster.. but websites were still too heavy.

Suddenly, Google has announced that in the next 3 years it will roll up all SERP (search engine result pages), and will kick off all non-mobile-friendly websites. At that time, mobile friendlyness was simple to understand. There were only 3 conditions:

Responsible-which means that the height of the website is the same as the resolution of the users' screen.

Easy to click elements-which meant that the 10px square button was not functional on mobile. The dev team had to re- set the website layout. I think, that is really the beginning of UX.

Easy to read font-it was a funny problem, because many times, scalling wide of the website was strictly related to scalling font-size. And the text on the website was unable to read. (hah, you can probably see this problem in low quality newsletters still).

I can still remember panic when many websites have dropped from the top 3 top 10 and even top 40.

People have asked me:

  • What happened?

And I answered, "Google ran the Mobile Friendly algorithm, just as I`ve told you a lot of times ago". So again, people have asked:
  • What should I do?

And I`ve sent Google documentation and advice "show it to your developer".


Developers, as a really lazy group, had not rebuilt websites. They used media query, and wrote different website layouts for mobile devices. It was really common, to see subdomains for mobile websites. Perhaps you can still remember https://m.facebook.com. A huge amount of content was still visible on the desktop, but on mobile phones there was only the most important information. That is how we began to create two different websites, with two different content.

And again, Google destroyed everything. They announced "Mobile First". Which means, Google will index the website as it would be displayed on mobile device. And everything has to be done again from the beginning.

Meantime, he had HSPA+ and LTE in large cities, and still huge websites. When people were on lifts, or in old buildings with weak GSM signal, the website loading process was still a problem.

Now, we have many mobile friendly factors. Some of them are related to display issues, however more problematic, and common are that describe the speed of websites. TTFB-shows us from time to first byte. The time to first respond to your server to the query of your client. FCP - first contentful paint - shows time, when the user sees the first valuable part of the website (mostly some banner or ATF element). Finally, my favorite, Fully Loaded-which means time when all elements of a website are displayed on the user screen.

I`ve written a bit of history of developing "Mobile" topic of UX and developing websites. But what have we learned from the last few years?

Believe me, nothing.

Still, there are many popular websites, that loads >10s. Everyone knows, that loading time, longer than 3s, cuts off about 30% of users.. and imagine the conversion loss.

Fastly and correctly loaded websites are strictly related to CPC (cost per click) in Google Ads. Imagine, you have a $100K budget for ads per year. You will make your website load faster, for example, you will speed up the website from 10s to less than 2s. I believe Your CPC dropped significantly. Let`s say, CPCs will drop 10%-so you save 10K, and have a good wallet for developing new, fast websites.

There are many ways to tune up on websites. We can talk about image optimisation, or changing hosting. In 2022, I`ve did some tests. For my prestige keyword "pozyzjonowanie poznań" my website was the fastest. It had been fully loaded in about 3s, and my competitors were ready in 8-13s. I`ve updated version, updated all CMS elements, and changed domain service and hosting. I`ve done a lot of things, and it would make you bored to read about it now. Finally, my website was ready in less than 1 second.

What happened? Nothing, because on my keyword I was in the first position, so I`ve took the same part of queries. But, I made proof, that it is possible to do an amazing job by tuning up website speed. I made proof that I`m really professional.

Perhaps you think now like : Hey, I have good organic positions, I spent a huge budget on ads, and I don`t have clients. Now, you are sure way to write to me. Now you are sure, that talking about the speed and quality of displaying the website is so important.

by me