Mobile pages are back in the news with the advent of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. So, have we come full circle and what impact will it have on website developers, surely it can’t be the year of the mobile again — can it?
With the explosion of mobile devices at the end of the last decade website owners and search engines started to take mobile seriously. In parallel, a collective groan went out in the world of web development as everyone realised they would need to start designing small pages that didn’t look very good and would be guaranteed not to work when a new sized screen was introduced to the market.
A whole ecosystem around mobile optimisation was born. Specialist vendors in mobile web technologies generated huge hype (and revenues) in optimising for mobile devices. With the shift to responsive web design which started in earnest at the turn of the decade, the conversation around mobile pages for many at least seemed redundant. Apps were becoming more popular and any website owner worth their salt optimised for mobile devices.
Do website owners now need to start designing mobile specific pages again?
What is an AMP Page?
Utilising these features gives a signal to Google that a page is an AMP. From the user’s perspective, they will see the ‘AMP’ symbol which will signal to users that the page has been optimised for mobile. The premise is that stripping out unnecessary cookies, ad extensions and java tags will decrease the time it takes for a mobile page to load.
The role of responsive design
If, however, most websites are now responsive and built to work on any device why was this mechanism implemented? From what we can deduce there were two key considerations 1) website speed and 2) the advertising ecosystem for digital media owners.