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Google puts UX before context

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As of today, Google are going to use their algorithm to reward websites that are mobile-friendly.

So if your site is not well optimised for mobile, Google will punish you by ranking you lower in mobile search results. The number of web visits on mobiles is growing fast and will soon overtake desktop, so this move is long overdue. It’s welcome that Google are finally forcing the issue because there are still some marketers out there who don’t prioritise mobile experience in their budgets.

Here, we’ve been asking what the immediate impact will be for consumers and what this all means for brands.

There’s a danger that it will lead the industry into believing that all sites should be responsive, which could be a big step towards mundanity. We always think carefully for our clients about whether to build responsive, mobile-only or adaptive. For us, the answer always lies in context and user-centricity.

But one thing that has struck us about the new Google algorithm is that it seems that UX could be prioritised over context.

Consider a coffee shop on Friar Street in Reading that doesn’t have a mobile-friendly site. Will they be de-prioritised in search results over a coffee shop further away that does?

Because Google are privileging optimal UX of a site, search results may lead to an over-arching UX that is not optimal. We believe the consumer should always be at the heart of an experience, and context is integral to that.

This will probably be a quirky blip in digital history until all sites are mobile-friendly, but until that moment, the user is not going to be served to their best interests.

And once again, this is evidence to prove that if brands and businesses aren’t leading their digital strategy with mobile they’re going to get caught out.

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