As we addressed in our last blog article, there's confusion over what
Google considers to be a "mobile-friendly" format (as we highlighted,
it's not just limited to "responsive design", as some so called experts
would have you believe). Likewise, we've discovered debate and confusion
over what is considered to be a "mobile" device.
There are now so many gadgets that allow us to browse the Internet - not
only personal computers, laptops and notebooks; but also tablets,
phablets, smart-phones, e-Readers, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's),
gaming consoles, hand-held gaming devices, televisions, even fridges -
but which of these devices fall under the category of a mobile device?
Wikipedia defines a mobile device as "a small
computing device, typically small enough to be hand-held... having a
display screen with touch input and/or miniature keyboard and weighing
less than 1kg".
W3Schools, a trusted industry reference, simplifies the definition even
further, stating: "A mobile device is a pocket-sized computing device."
Therefore we can agree that to be classified as "mobile" device, the
device must be small and light. This clearly rules out personal
computers, gaming consoles, televisions and fridges.
And it seems that being "portable" is not the same as being "mobile".
Laptop / notebook computers are certainly portable, but not small enough
to be pocket-sized, or light enough to fall into the mobile device
We can also conclude, that to be a true mobile device, it must be
hand-held with a touch-screen (to use fingers or a tool such as a stylus)
or mini-keyboard so the device can be used effectively while moving
So smart-phones, e-Readers and PDA's can confidently be added to the list
of "mobile" devices (and let's be clear that we are only referring to the
e-Readers and PDA's that allow you to connect to and browse the World
But what about tablets and phablets?.
On the one hand, tablets/phablets are small and light enough to be
hand-held, they have a display screen with touch input, and a miniature
On the other hand, they are used very differently to a smart-phone or an
In fact, research shows that the majority of tablet use is at home,
workplace or other fixed location, which gives a clear distinction from a
smart-phone or PDA, and also a clear distinction between "mobile" and
A "mobile" device is used while you are mobile, on the go, and needs to
be convenient to use while you are moving about.
A tablet isn't convenient to use while on the go (as anyone who has tried
would attest). A tablet is just a smaller, compact version of a laptop
computer. So from an industry point of view, tablets in fact fall
into the desktop category.
Phablets on the other hand - well they're just inconveniently big
smart-phones. Too small to be useful as a laptop computer, and some would
say too big to be useful as a phone. But, because of the way that they
are used - on the go - these technological anomalies fall into the mobile
Wow! So the term "mobile" doesn't relate to the device being wireless, or
being physically connected to anything, the term "mobile" refers to
the mobility of the user when using the device - or to
put it another way, the classification depends on user context.
This is an important distinction, because it now changes the way we
should think about "mobile" device, and also the way we think about the
"Mobile-friendly" isn't just making a website display well on a
mobile-device, it's about making the end-goal of the mobile user far
simpler on a mobile device, taking into account the facts that mobile
users are mobile - moving about, time-poor, often with distractions about
and lacking the same tools that desktop devices available to use.
The iASP™ platform has been publishing simultaneously desktop
"mobile" device friendly websites since 2006 and the majority of our
clients will benefit from Google's changes as their non-mobile-friendly
competition pay the price for their lack of foresight.
The good news is it's not too late to invest in a mobile friendly website
so if you would like to know more please contact us
for a confidential
Thinking of making your website more mobile-friendly?
What do you think it involves? Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.