Rolling out mobile-first indexing

It's been coming for a long time, but in the latest move to recognise the increasingly mobile-heavy web usage Google are now officially starting to index the mobile version of sites rather than the desktop version. It's a very gradual roll-out, and should only negatively affect sites which are not mobile responsive or which show very different content on mobile vs desktop.

To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page's content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we'll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they're looking for.

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Google’s mobile-first search index has rolled out to a handful of sites

This move from Google is a pretty significant change in the way they index sites - but a logical one, since stats show that over 60% of searches are now done from mobile devices. The good news is that if your site is mobile responsive you shouldn't need to do anything - in fact you may even see your rankings improve as sites that aren't mobile responsive drop down.

Just over a year ago, Google announced a major change to the way its search index will rank sites: it will go mobile-first. As the company explained at the time, Google’s algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank its pages, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from the site in its search results. This week, Google said it has begun to make this shift – and has already transitioned a handful of sites to the mobile-first index, which are now being monitored by the search team.

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Mobile-first Indexing is Coming: What This Means for Web Design

Making your site responsive doesn't have to be a terrifying ordeal, and it will majorly serve you and your search engine traffic in the long run!

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, making it universally accessible and useful. Simply put: they want to help you find the best answer to your question as fast as possible.

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Using Card-Based Designs To Enhance UX

As card designs trends continue to grow in popularity, it's great to a take an in-depth look into what makes them work! Card-based designs are easily convertible into strong mobile responsive outcomes so you should definitely check out this article to learn more.

Web and mobile apps move away from pages, towards completely personalized experiences. And this experience built on an aggregation of many individual pieces of content. Cards are the new creative concept. Regardless of how you feel about the concept, cards are here to stay.

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Which Responsive Design Framework Is Best? Of Course, It Depends.

Brown Box made the decision several years ago to use Foundation as the responsive framework in all the sites we build, but we regularly revisit that decision to make sure it still makes sense. This article provides a very thorough comparison of 3 of the main responsive frameworks, and ultimately they are all very similar, though there are small differences that may affect the choice of framework for any particular project.

With dozens of responsive design frameworks available to download, many web developers appear to be unaware of any except for Bootstrap. Like most of web development, responsive design frameworks are not one-size-fits-all. Let’s compare the latest versions of Bootstrap, Foundation and UIkit for their similarities and differences.

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Responsive Line Breaks

Designing fluid content, for all screens sizes, can be challenging - but that doesn't mean we have to sacrifice high quality design principles, like ensuring our type avoids creating widows and orphans.

Perhaps because responsive design is still relatively new or perhaps because of my history and affinity towards fixed-width pixel-perfect designs, but it pains me to see sites that employ great responsive design techniques while sacrificing useful principles like appropriate line-lengths

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Awful Website Navigation Mistakes You Should Avoid

We're constantly challenging people to think about how navigation works on touch screen devices (there's no hover state people!!) - love the other great points in this article around designing site navigation

The design of a website’s navigation can make or break an experience. By ensuring that the navigational structure is clear and easy-to-use, you encourage visitors to spend some time on a site and you help direct them to the content or features that are important to them and important to your business.

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Responsive Design is Still the Future of Web Design

Mobile web isn't going anywhere, in fact desktop web might be - so responsive web design is only becoming more and more important

User experience designer and researcher Stephanie Rieger said people will not only read the Web but buy things if the mobile experience is right. That experience can be tailored to suit a multitude of devices, she said, using techniques such as responsive design.

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Mastering Responsive Web Design: The Dos and Dont’s

Building responsive web sites is a lot more complicated than it sounds. There are so many extra things to consider - and this article touches on several of the main ones, though it's nowhere near an exhaustive list.

Web design for mobile platforms is not about cramming all of your site’s content onto a smaller screen. You may have worked for years to optimize your content, but the long and short of it is this: mobile web design is a whole different animal. The goal is not to shrink your current website, but to redesign it for a mobile platform.

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The Search For The Holy Grail: How I Ended Up With Element Queries, And How You Can Use Them Today

An interesting new approach to building responsive layouts, using individual page elements as the basis for applying different styles, rather than the width of the page as a whole. It's a JavaScript library, and requires quite a mental shift - and in many cases it may not provide any additional benefits over pure CSS - but for some projects this could really make sense. It's one that we'll keep on the shelf because chances are one day we'll run into a project that needs something like this.

The result of this research has been the creation of a syntax that includes a new set of advanced responsive conditions, scoped styles and new selectors for targeting elements, as well as a pure JavaScript library named EQCSS.js.

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Why is Responsive Web Design important for your website

Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.

Smartphones and tablets have changed the approach toward design and user experience. Before the proliferation of mobile devices with advanced web-browsing capability , web designers had only one primary challenge to deal with – keeping the same look and feel of their websites in various desktop computer browsers.

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Input Types: Give Users the Right Keyboard on Mobile Forms

UX for mobile devices isn't simply a process of making things bigger on a small screen. It's important to keep in mind how users are actually interacting with your site!

Typing is easy when users do it on a desktop computer. But it’s harder to do on a mobile device because not all the keys are visible on the keyboard at once. A smaller screen can only display a limited set of keys.

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Google’s Mobilegeddon Aftermath: Eight Months Into A Better Mobile Web

If your site doesn't work on mobile, not only are you losing out in terms of your page showing up in search results - but this study shows that you're also lagging behind at least 70% of the other sites out there.

Eight months into the apocalyptic event, we repeated the study because we wanted to measure and understand the real proportions of such an important development. We crunched the data and discovered some interesting findings — this article details the most significant ones.

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Apple Doesn’t Design for Yesterday

Jumping on current design trends might be good for your site or digital presence today, but will it stand the test of time?

Apple’s decision to make a wholesale shift from Lucida to Helvetica defies my expectations. Criticize the company as much as you’d like, but it treats user experience with reverence. So, this leaves me wondering: What possible reason is there for this shift? Why make a change that impedes legibility, requires more screen space, and makes the GUI appear fuzzy? The answer: Tomorrow.

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4 Quick Ways to Lower Your WordPress Site’s Bounce Rate

Once again we are reminded that Responsive design and page load performance are the key things to consider when developing or reviewing the effectiveness of your website.

A huge part of web usability is loading speed. Put simply, if your site takes so long to load that most visitors have clicked away impatiently by the time it deigns to make an appearance, all other aspects of your website are irrelevant. With that in mind, you can work on everything from image optimization, to caching, to Content Delivery Network solutions; and don’t forget those pesky page speed tools.

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Mobile Navigation For Smashing Magazine: A Case Study

Another great article by Smashing Magazine about Smashing Magazine.

Back in spring 2013, Smashing Magazine sported a select menu as its mobile navigation. It wasn’t considered an anti-pattern back then and I still think it’s a viable solution to the complex problem of how to build accessible and functional cross-device navigation. Brad Frost wrote a few words about the pros and cons of this pattern on his blog and I couldn’t agree more.

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