Google provides a tool to show what if they think a web site is “mobile friendly.” Google states that they will penalize sites in their search rankings if Google doesn’t believe they are mobile friendly. So obviously this matters if you care about your ranking in Google.
If the site passes Google’s test you will get a response similar to ours:
Now Google’s automated tool isn’t so great at providing good usability advice (such as if it really is a good design for mobile users) but it does tell you if Google is going to punish the site or not. If Google thinks the site fails they will provide some feedback, such as:
- Text too small to read
- Links too close together
- Mobile viewport not set
Then you can decide if those really are issues and if you want to fix them. Due to Google’s dominate market position it may be you feel forced to adjust a site (even if it means degrading real usability) in order to make Google happy so your site isn’t punished by Google in search rankings. Or you can decide that you are going to do what is right for users regardless of what Google will do to the site.
The tool is useful in pointing out potential issues to improve for mobile users. I do wish however, Google wasn’t so autocratic about its opinions acting as though failing their tests is equal to failure mobile users. It isn’t, it is a decent indication there may be a problem but it is not proof there is a problem.
Related: Google Still Providing Users Bad Search Results: Basing Results Not of Value to Users but How Completely Sites Do What Google Tells Them To Do – Don’t Use Short URL Services (bit.ly etc.) – Good Blogging Practices