For several years now, we have been told to think “mobile first” when creating websites. With end users clamoring to their smartphone and utilizing it as their primary device for accessing online information, this approach to designing and building websites makes sense.
Websites were traditionally built with large screen laptops and desktops in mind; representation on mobile devices was an afterthought. Before the advent of responsive design, many companies in fact had separate websites for mobile devices (remember the “m.” URLs?) versus large screen devices and had to attempt to keep their separate sites in sync from a content and functionality perspective.The mobile first approach has been cemented further by the fact that Google Search now user expuser penalizes you from a search result perspective if you still attempt to primarily cater to large screen devices.
As we all increasingly rely on our mobile devices to be our gateway to the web, it is becoming more critical that sites load quickly. When users do not have access to Wi-Fi, data transfer rate speeds are often slow due to the cellular networks that do not yet provide the consistency and speed users have come to expect.
It is a fact that as bandwidth speeds have increased overall, our tolerance for slow-loading websites have decreased accordingly. Based on current data, 40 percent of users abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
With little control over the end-users download speeds, website creators quickly realized that they needed to create websites that were more efficient and less wasteful in terms of the amount of data required to download a webpage (data payload). In an effort to address this issue and reduce the time content takes to get to a user’s mobile device, the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, an open source initiative was founded. Its primary goal is to improve the mobile web experience for everyone.
Accelerated Mobile Pages are HTML-based pages that leverage improved technical approaches in order to prioritize speed and a faster experience by loading content almost instantaneously.
Companies and individuals are adopting AMP at a massive rate as they realize every millisecond counts when trying to keep a user’s attention. This becomes particularly critical when you are selling products. You never want to give users a reason to leave your site for a competitor’s, especially not download speed.
Google is one of the big supporters of the effort and shines attention on sites that utilize AMP. Although speed is one of Google Search’s ranking factors, utilizing AMP is supposedly not a factor yet. However, all indicators are that this may change soon. Google wants to present its search users with sites that offer the best experience, and speed is a significant factor of this.
Although the AMP Project presents a massive improvement in speed, the goal is to continue making it faster. If you would like to find out more, visit the official AMP website: https://www.ampproject.org or follow along on Twitter using #AMPlify hashtag.