The importance of mobile-friendly websites is forever increasing. Statistics are showing up everywhere confirming the increasing use of mobile devices for web browsing. It really does not take sophisticated studies to figure this out. All you need to do is take a look around any kind of waiting room, restaurant, bus, and train. These casual observations don’t differentiate between apps and browsers. However, it is fair to assume that casual observation would suggest increased web browsing on mobile devices.

Here are few links that discuss the mobile trend and the importance of creating mobile-friendly websites.

Mobile Marketing Statistics compilation

7 stats that show Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ label matters

25 Mobile Marketing Statistics to Help You Plan for 2016

The latter link includes these notes:

21. 91% of mobile users say that access to content is very important. (Wolfgang Jaegel, 2015) The people have spoken. Your mobile site should make it as easy as possible for your persona to access your content.

23. 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. (CMS Report, 2015) Web design is no longer just about looks — it’s all about the experience. Now, more than ever, great UX has a higher ROI.

Going with the trend, the American Society of Journalists and Authors developed a mobile-friendly website for its annual writers conference. The site was developed in-house by a freelance graphic web designer and a back-end PHP/MySQL programmer on staff.

For the 2016 conference the association management company contracted by ASJA changed the look and platform of the conference site.

Let’s take a look at the differences.

The screen shot below is of the home page on a smartphone before the platform change.


The screen shot below is of the home page on a smartphone after the platform change.


The screen shot below is of the menu on a smartphone before the platform change.


The screen shot below is of the menu (indicated by a red arrow) on a smartphone after the platform change.


The screen shot below shows how sessions are listed before the platform change.


The two screen shots below shows how sessions are listed after the platform change. The first is a list of session times and names. The second is the full schedule page.

6  new-full-schedule

Notable differences include:

  • the new format did not pass the Google mobile-friendly test (the previous format did pass the test).
    • Among the Google mobile-friendly test results:
    • Text too small to read
    • Content wider than screen
    • Mobile viewport not set
    • Links too close together
  • the menu in the new format is readable and usable only upon zooming in
  • the Schedule at a Glance page (showing panel times and names) in the new format is unreadable because the print is so small
  • the full schedule page in the new format does not contain any data, instead providing a link to long PDF file.

Given the trend toward more mobile viewing, it would be wise for organizations to incorporate mobile friendly in web design. This may mean a redesign. And if moving to a different software platform it is important to keep in mind the capabilities of that platform for delivering a mobile-friendly site.

Below are screen casts of each site to show actual usage on a 3g cellular connection.