Troubleshooting Web for Smartphone Users
Smartphone users make up a significant chunk of internet searches, which is only projected to increase. But smartphone search faces some specific challenges regarding mobile internet use. Two of the most common issues are faulty redirects and issues exclusive to smartphones. Here’s a look at how to fix them and improve your mobile users’ experience:
If your site uses separate URLs for mobile and desktop users, ensure your redirects fully function. An irrelevant redirect is when a desktop page redirects a smartphone user to an outside mobile page. For example, if www.example.com/about/ directs to m.example.com/ instead of m.example.com/about/, the user’s workflow is interrupted and may result in the user abandoning the site altogether. Even if they stick with the site, it will add more work on a slow mobile network, which degrades the entire site experience.
Luckily, this is a simple fix: Redirect smartphone users to the mobile-optimized equivalent of the requested desktop page. If you haven’t formatted the content in a smartphone-friendly format, showing the entire site on a mobile device is better than an irrelevant redirect.
If your desktop page displays correctly to desktop users but shows an error page to mobile users, check for some of the most common problems:
- If a user requests a desktop page from a mobile device and receives an error message, redirect them to the smartphone-friendly page at a different URL.
- Correctly handle Googlebot-Mobile. The Googlebot-Mobile user-agents identify themselves as specific devices; taking them the same way you would treat those decides is essential. Googlebot-Mobile for smartphones identifies as an iPhone, and you should be serving the same response an iPhone user would receive.
- Correctly embed videos in a way that is compatible with smartphones. If the content requires Adobe Flash, it won’t be playable on many Android versions or iPhones.
Of course, more issues can happen when using websites on a smartphone, but these are the most common. Giving your smartphone users a site experience free of error pages and irrelevant redirects can ultimately improve the entire experience with your brand or service. Test your site and video content thoroughly on various mobile devices and operating systems. An effective search leads to a happy searcher, which makes for a better web experience overall, and that’s good for everyone.