Design    3 min read

The mobile web is mainstream

The mobile web is mainstream

When Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone in 2007, he ushered in a mobile web we couldn’t imagine and didn’t know we needed.

It’s been a decade since that incredible Steve-note. Apple’s incredible hand-held device not only changed the way we interact with each other, but with the web that’s all around us.

A connected, mobile web

There are now over 5 billion devices connected to the internet. Desktops, laptops, phones, watches, refrigerators—you name it. And each with their own way of accessing and presenting information from the web.

An even more staggering fact is that nearly 60% of Google’s search queries now come from mobile devices. Sit with that for a minute. More than one out of every two Google searches takes place on a phone or tablet. That’s nuts.

60% of Google’s search queries now come from mobile devices.

Those of us in the web design industry could see this coming. In fact, Responsive Web Design (RWD for short) had it’s hay day a few years ago as a result of increased mobile website visibility. And it’s more important today than it was back then.

Mobile web design - RWD

Mobile web design is crucial on the modern web

But at this year’s Google I/O conference, it became clear that there was a new kid on the block — AMP. And they had a bunch of data to back up their new tech.

The rise of AMP

We’ve lived in a responsive web world for a while now. It’s well documented that users need to have a consistent site experience regardless of which device they’re on.

Now, with the focus shifting to higher-performing sites on mobile platforms, Google introduced and open-source project last year called AMP—or Accelerated Mobile Pages.

AMP sites aren’t just fast, they’re screamers. In fact, they typically load pages in less than a second and use 10x less data. As of this writing, there are 2 billion pages across 900,000 sites that use AMP to serve their content. That’s incredible of momentum for a product launched early last year.

And it’s only getting more popular with sites like CNN, Wired, The Washington Post, and more adapting the technology.

So which is right for you: AMP or Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Web Design (RWD) and AMP are platforms that both occupy mobile space but solve two different challenges.

RWD is more concerned with site flexibility and presentation. It wants to make sure your site and content get shown in the best possible light, regardless of the device it’s viewed on. In fact, mobile web design is something that comes standard now. We bake RWD in to every project, it’s just part of the process.

AMP is different because it’s more focused on delivering the content as fast as possible to your mobile browser. And to get those speeds, you need to consider a specific code framework and architecture when building your site. But it’s worth it, as speed is still king on the mobile web. The faster you can present the information, the better. AMP makes a lot of sense for publishers looking to improve user engagement with a fast, smooth, and compelling experience.

Either way, the mobile web is here to stay

With these two technologies at the forefront of mobile design and development, it’s clear that a fast, beautiful, high-performing experience is non-negotiable for modern companies and products.

If your site is still not optimized for mobile traffic, either with RWD or AMP, now’s the time to remedy that. And don’t wait too long either or you might find yourself missing from Google search results entirely.

How, you ask? Google’s new algorithm update has significantly harmed sites without mobile-friendly sites. Yikes.

Written by @mattdowney

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