Mobile User Experience is Mobile Optimization: Using Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool for Mobile
Google is serious about user experience on mobile devices. Until recently there haven’t been many tools to analyze a mobile user experience or mobile optimization efforts. Last August Google gave webmasters a tool to validate mobile optimization through its PageSpeed Insights tool. Much like GTMetrix and other page speed tools, Google’s tool reports specific items that may be a hindrance to optimal site performance for both desktop and mobile platforms.
SEOs familiar with the selection of page speed evaluation tools on the market will likely recognize a common limiting factor. Each page speed tool I’ve ever used only goes so far as tell you what the problem is, with very few telling you how to fix it. For example, a typical page speed tool may report that a site has a lot of thumbnail images and the page may benefit from using CSS sprites – something like that. But none of the tools will suggest why this observation is important, at least from a mobile perspective.
User Experience Report in Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool
The PageSpeed Insights tool defaults to the mobile tab (we can read between the lines however we want), but newly added to the tool is a User Experience section which is currently in beta. It shows what specific items need to be addressed and how, and (in unique fashion) offers context as to why they need to be addressed, in order to improve mobile UX, as shown in the image below:
From an objective SEO perspective, there is no ranking or inbound traffic benefit from creating larger “tap targets” or creating a mobile web page with legibly-sized text, for example. What we get here is a window into what Google ranks as important to mobile optimization: a well-executed mobile user experience is highly correlated to mobile optimization. To Google, they are one in the same, regardless of whether or not you have a responsive design site (which is the mobile solution Google has thrown its weight behind) or a separate mobile m-dot site.
Recommended Mobile Optimization Resources
There are a ton of resources out there for creating optimal mobile user experiences, and Google is one of them. Google has dedicated a whole section in Google Developers to creating sound smartphone optimized websites and if you haven’t watched Maile Ohye’s videos on optimizing mobile UX through Google Analytics, I highly recommend that you do so. She gives a thorough step-by-step process of how to address problem mobile pages on an individual basis to improve user experience. Also, be sure to peruse the checklist for mobile website improvements.