You know, at some point in time, Google will make themselves irrelevant to the internet and the world.
I ran across this article, but have not seen any mention of any major Google announcement anywhere.
Thank You, Google Overlords | TechCrunch
Is Google's newest vendetta to attack sites with sloppy mobile implementations or lack of optimization for smart phones? Has anyone seen any further details about this?Running a website not optimized for smartphones? Guess what, you’ve been put on notice. Google is using its influence and the power of its algorithm to finally force web publishers to fix their mobile website configuration issues, or risk getting downranked in Google Search. Directing smartphone users to 404′s? You lose. Sending smartphone users looking for specific content to some generic mobile homepage? See ya. Using Flash for your video embeds on mobile? Farewell. Thank you, Google overlords.
I like the comment from Timacheson
"screw you guys who didn’t get on board with this whole mobile trend thing"
Very amusing, but this is a serious matter. Comedy is a popular tool among propaganda mechanism Google apologists.
I did find a Google announcement related to this.
Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Changes in rankings of smartphone search results
This is very similar to their attempt to force all site owners into social networking. They pushed people into social networking for two years by telling them that it was going to be a ranking factor, and then they quietly abandoned it whey they finally discovered that social networks are such a mess that it is almost impossible to find anything useful in the data to influence rankings.
Google need to stop trying to force people to use the web as the majority of their 20-something employees like to use it. That has nothing to do with how the majority of users and site owners want to use it. Let the web be the web.
Though, I can see that as more people are using tablets and smartphones designing a website that is optimized for smartphones makes sense.
This is a good article on how to create mobile optimized websites for Wordpress.
According to the article, the Twenty Eleven, WordPress’ default theme since version 3.0, is responsive enough for many websites.
There are not recent articles, but if you are gathering all the forcing actions they put on us, it is overwhelming, particularely for the small businesses.
Google Panda: Forcing Businesses to Create Better Content
Is Google Forcing Google+ Down People’s Throats? | WebProNews
Google forcing reviewers to use real names
google forcing youtube users to give their personal phone numbers?
After reading through all of the Google artilcles I found, it sounds like the ranking issue may only affect mobile searches. In other words, they will likely be giving a ranking preference in mobile searches for mobile sites that are fully compliant. That would make more sense than the original article I found., but it is hard to tell what Google will do. Google is as Google does.
My opinion is that you should design your content layout to be easily re-arranged from wide to narrow. So for a forum like this, there could be a mobile version that lists things such as latest posts. So everything is in a long column of content divs. Scrolling down a screen by wiping the finger is easy. But magnifying a wide page to read text and click on links on a mobile device is a pain.
Also, the Ad format would need to switch between wide/narrow.
I have it on my to-do list to work out how to detect what kind of device my site is accessed by (maybe USER AGENT is enough) and switch the layout of the DIVs accordingly. I suspect it will be via CSS3 techniques. But also some PHP to tailor what is downloaded to the browser. Basically, there will be a detector to decide: wide/narrow content delivery. And, the text content should ideally be largely unchanged since it is all under 1 URL.
I find most mobile site designs to be very annoying, including those that re-arrange the layout with a responsive design. For example, the Amazon.com minimalist mobile version is way too simplistic. My iPhone displays a miniature version of a standard web page and I can easily enlarge the sections I want to read. From my perspective, that is the best option for a smart phone.
There are well over 150 different mobile layouts. If you are going to do a mobile site and want to include all the data on the main site, the responsive design concept is probably the best because it detects the height and width of a user's display and substitutes different style sheets, rather than basing the design solely on the type of device. Even the iPhones have two different resolutions, so basing a layout on the device does not work well. Some mobile designs that I've looked at simply use a 100% width, but then you lose control of the layout.
Then there is the bandwidth issue. Many cellular network have very low bandwidth. Smart phones using these networks have a difficult time using sites with a lot of content and images. That is where a minimalist design, such as that used by Amazon, would work best.
Nothing that I have seen thus far is the perfect solution.
I haven't designed a site to target mobile users, but I would tailor my site based on the usage scenario. For example: mobile users checking out their favorite forum may be mostly interested in keeping tabs on responses to their last post and new post topics. Also, I would maybe mimic the UI design of the most popular Apps related to my site content delivery.
I have an iPhone 4GS and every time I accessed standard web pages with it, it was a pain. But dumbed-down apps are easy to use such as the FB app. Very simple and intuitive mobile interfaces are the way to go IMO.