Why You Should Prioritize Mobile Accessibility in 2022

Now more than ever, businesses are focusing on mobile accessibility and creating a more inclusive mobile web experience.

This is understandable, as it is a simple fact that the majority of today’s internet users spend more time on their mobile devices than they do on their desktops. In fact, a report published in 2019 by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) suggested that by 2025 a whopping 72% of users will access the internet exclusively via their mobile phones.

With the continuing uptick in popularity of mobile searches, it should come as no surprise that organizations across the globe are taking mobile accessibility into account when developing and refining their websites. 

Mobile traffic may have overtaken desktop internet usage in prevalence, yet effectively providing mobile users with an ideal website experience involves far more than just ensuring it can be displayed on mobile devices. Let’s dig into some of the considerations for delivering an accessible and user-friendly mobile experience.

Mobile Accessibility vs Mobile Friendliness

It is impossible to discuss user friendliness without also discussing mobile accessibility. The two concepts have become so closely interconnected that they are almost inseparable and interchangeable as subjects. 

Mobile accessibility refers to making websites and applications more accessible to people with disabilities when they are using mobile devices, while Mobile friendliness, long touted as one of the most important elements for search engine optimization (more on this below) refers to the ease of use for any user when accessing a website via a mobile device. 

Have you ever arrived at work and realized that you have left your reading glasses at home? Or simply just not been able to read the small font size of a given website? Thank goodness for the ability to zoom in on a mobile site, right? This is just one example of a mobile web accessibility feature that most of us can understand and relate to. 

When thinking about mobile friendliness, you might consider the popularity of responsive design. Good responsive design should, for example, automatically adjust font sizes based on browser size (though some will still need to zoom for their own visual preferences).

The truth is, you can’t really have one without the other when it comes to mobile accessibility versus mobile friendliness. The two simply go hand-in-hand, as an accessible website will tend to be more user friendly and vice versa. 

This means that both accessibility and user friendliness should be top priorities for organizations seeking to ensure a high-quality website experience for their visitors in 2022 and beyond.

A Word About Google Rankings

It’s no secret that Google has heavily prioritized mobile-friendly websites in recent years. With their search algorithms now clearly favoring mobile-friendly content and fast loading speeds, websites are effectively being penalized for being inaccessible to mobile users. If your website results in a bad experience, you will pay the price with poor search result rankings.

In simple terms, this basically means that a website’s ability to rank well is increasingly being determined by two main factors: its ‘mobile friendliness’ (which by proxy includes mobile accessibility) and its availability, or how fast it loads.

As the majority of tech savvy users like to search the web on their mobile devices, it only makes sense that search engine algorithms will evolve to include mobile sustainability as a factor when ranking websites.

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How Monsido Can Help - The Mobile Accessibility Checklist

Monsido can scan your website for accessibility issues including mobile-specific issues so that you can deliver an inclusive mobile experience to all of your website’s visitors. 

Monsido’s mobile web accessibility scan simulates how the website is rendered in mobile view. This enables us to pick up device-specific code that only loads when a website displays on a mobile device. Based on this mobile rendering of the website, we are able to perform two additional checks on top of the many other accessibility checks performed as standard.

Monsido Mobile Accessibility Testing Check 1: Is pinch-to-zoom disabled?

The first of these additional checks identifies whether your website has pinch-to-zoom disabled. Some websites have, on purpose, disabled the option that allows visitors to zoom in on a web page by pinching with their fingers. 

This is not conducive to an accessible experience, however, as a zoom option should always be made available for low vision users, including when they are using a mobile device. For this reason, we will flag if we discover that pinch-to-zoom has been disabled on your website.

Monsido Mobile Accessibility Testing Check 2: Does web page require two-dimensional scrolling?

If your website is not properly responsive, there may be scenarios where visitors will have to scroll both vertically and horizontally in order to read a paragraph of text or view an image in full. This typically occurs when a website owner has not defined an image size for mobile, resulting in the image displaying in the same size as if it were being shown on a desktop. 

This can be an accessibility nightmare for low vision users, as well as those with motor disabilities (scrolling in two dimensions can be very strenuous). For these reasons, we will flag web pages that require two-dimensional scrolling.

The results for these additional mobile accessibility checks will be displayed in the Monsido platform and can be filtered out from all other check results. They will also be shown in the Monsido Browser Extension.

The mobile accessibility checklist essentially serves to determine if a web page is responsive, which is a basic requirement for having an accessible website.

The Bottom Line

Ensuring that your website is mobile friendly will lead your organization to better rankings, an improved user experience, increased demand capture, and, perhaps most importantly of all, help you to build brand credibility across a broader audience. 

With the future of the web inclining towards mobile devices, web development teams would be well advised to develop websites that allow their visitors to take full advantage of the many powerful mobile accessibility settings provided by the likes of Apple and Android, who are constantly working to ensure that their devices are available to all users.