No, that isn’t an invitation to join the Mo Rocca fan club. It’s a rallying cry from Google to get brands and organizations to mobilize – as in enable to behave nicely on mobile devices – their web sites, and to do it now.
Sure the fine folks at Google have an obvious self-interest in mobile, but that doesn’t change the fact that their site www.HowToGoMo.com is an excellent little starting place for the mo-curious (I’ll refrain from postulating on why the site doesn’t fully work in FireFox, Chrome’s biggest rival, but it’s interesting to note).
First and foremost, is making clear the distinction between simply being able to access a site on a mobile device, and a site that is designed to cater to the mobile experience, which is ruled by screen size and bandwidth.
Next, is appreciating the arguments for why going mobile has shifted from a nice-to-have to a must-have. Case in point: “By 2012, more people will use their mobile phones than PCs to get online.”
HowToGoMo also features a fun and useful tool – its GoMoMeter – to provide a sneak peak of how a given site looks on a smart phone, and to provide any top-line recommendations for how it could be improved for mobile browsing (hooray! The recently launched m.theshelterproject.org scores a perfect 4 out of 4!).
Recommendations are rooted in Google’s 10 Mobile Best Practices – a set of guidelines that is certainly in line with, and as good as any I’ve seen out there. To my eyes, there’s a sense of priority in how their best practices are ordered, so check out the top 5 below, and you’ll be off to a good start in understanding the nuances of what makes for a good mobile site.
Top 5 Mobile Best Practices from Google
- Keep it Quick: fast load time and copy/content that can be scanned quickly
- Simplify Navigation: a clear hierarchy, vertical only, and a prominently available search box for complex sites
- Thumb-friendly: users lack the finer control of a mouse or stylus
- Design for visibility: use sufficient color contrast and plenty of negative space
- Make it accessible: site should work across all mobile devices and handset orientations. Avoid Flash – it doesn’t work on all devices.
Google’s full set of best practices is available as a handy-dandy PDF you can save and print as a reference.