Going Mobile

I’m goin’ home
And when I wanna go home
I’m goin’ mobile
Hee, hoo!Beep beep!

– The Who

GoingMobile-LP-USA2As you can see, The Endless Further has a new look. I’m going mobile. But, when Peter Townsend wrote the lyrics to The Who’s song, he was talking about mobility in transportation terms. I’m talking technology.

Nowadays, as more and more people use tablets or smartphones for surfing the Net, blogs and websites have to adapt their sizes to fit any screen dimension. Two things recently came to my attention: one, several potential visitors complained that the blog was not accessible to mobile devices, and secondly, I learned that back in April Google began using “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal (where have I been?). If your site is not mobile-friendly, you could lose page rank in Google’s all-important ranking algorithm. I don’t care much about rank. The Endless Further will never be anywhere near the top, but I hate the idea of preventing folks from visiting here out of sheer ignorance.

It’s been a learning experience. Mobile-friendly is definitely a case of less is more and small is better. The layout and design must fit to a small screen. Navigation must be arranged so a user can easily click where they want without accidentally hitting the wrong button. Images need to be compressed to speed-up page loading. And that’s just the beginning.

I checked my blog with the W3C mobileOK Checker – WC3 is the international standards organization for the World Wide Web, the place to go to see if your CSS or HTML code is correct – and my site had so many errors it was overwhelming. I wasn’t sure I could fix all that was wrong with the theme I’ve used from the beginning, so I went with a new one and simplicity was my guiding principle.

From here on, images will be smaller, compressed, and if you want to see the full image you can just click on it.

Any readers who are mobile who want to tell me how The Endless Further looks on their device – I’d appreciate it.

I am curious about the links. I always set them to open in new windows, because that’s what I like when I’m viewing Web content. It doesn’t work too well on my phone (because it’s a cheapie) but I wonder about other mobile devices. I’d like some feedback on that.

If you are hosted on Blogspot or WordPress.com, it might not be a major issue, because they will take care of the mobile stuff for you. But if you are like me, a self-hosted blogger and/or website owner and you want to become mobile friendly (if you’re not already) here are some resources:

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool is the first place you want to head for, and it will quickly tell you if you are mobile friendly or not and show you what the Googlebot sees when it goes to your site.

If you fail and you want to know what’s wrong, go to the W3C mobileOK Checker. Not for the faint of heart, because unless you are an expert coder, you might be shocked. Still, it is an indispensible tool for learning about mobile optimization.

Responsinator is cool, but it just shows you what your site looks like on a small mobile phone, but not on a tablet or some of the larger cell phones.

OK, I am sure that was boring to most of you, so we’ll leave it behind and get mobile:

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2 Comments for “Going Mobile”

Chris

says:

Hi David,
I had an opportunity to look at your website today from a mobile device. I use an Android phone running Chrome as my browser. First, the actual blogs themselves look pretty good. There is occasionally some strange text-wrapping associated with the photos. For example, close to your image of The Who, “Going Mobile,” the word “As” is set off oddly on its own. Two other things I noticed: 1) There is no search option available in the mobile menu (I had to search for the material I was seeking on Google rather than on your site); and, 2) on some of the older entries, the comments are cut off on the right hand side of the text (I saw this problem in the Outlines of Buddhist Meditation Part 3).

I love your blog. Thanks for everything you do and for making the site mobile friendly.
_/|\_
Chris

David

says:

Chris,
Thanks for the feedback! I am certain there is more work to be done to get the site optimal for mobile users. The issues you’ve brought to light really help. The search function is on the sidebar, but frankly I don’t see how mobile users can access the sidebar. I can’t on my phone, but then mine is so dysfunctional when it comes to the Internet it’s not even funny. There may be some things in older entries I may not be able to fix. In any case, I am still working on it and again, I appreciate you helping out. Regards.

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