Eight Principles of Mobile-Friendliness

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The Connected Government Act, which was signed into law in January 2018, requires new, and redesigned, agency websites to be mobile-friendly. The Connected Government Act also codifies the Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites and Digital Services (1.2 MB PDF, 18 pages), (M-17-06) which required agencies to create mobile-friendly websites, back in 2016.

In order to help you comply, we decided it’s time to start reviewing good mobile web development practices. Over the next couple of months, we will share eight principles of mobile-friendliness (one each week)—and how adhering to these principles can greatly improve your site.

We also need your critical thoughts, and comments, about these principles. Join the MobileGov Community of Practice and let us know what you’re doing to work toward mobile-friendliness at your agency.

Let’s get started!

The Principles

In 2017, the MobileGov Community of Practice tested the top federal websites most visited on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). The results of the automated tests, A Guide to To Creating Mobile-Friendly Web Sites, showed us that a few common practices greatly affect the usability of a site on a mobile device.

Building on last year’s results, we are back at it again—but this time we examined the automated testing tools themselves. During this review, we found there are eight principles of mobile-friendliness. And if you follow them, they will make your site more usable and user-friendly.

The eight principles are:

  1. JavaScript is really cool, when used with care
  2. The viewport is the window to your site
  3. Remember That We Navigate Mobile Sites Using Our Fingers
  4. Installing additional software to properly view your site should not be necessary
  5. Conserve resources, recycle when possible
  6. The smaller the better, when it comes to page resources!
  7. Properly configure the server and plan for growth
  8. Don’t forget accessibility!

As a reminder, check back each week for another principle that we distilled from Google’s Mobile Friendly Test tool, DigitalDashboard.gov, and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) Benchmarking Report. We will provide a description of the issue, a method to detect the issue, and solutions to eliminate or prevent the issue from appearing your site to help make it more mobile-friendly.

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