Is Your Website Mobile-Ready?

Content From: HIV.govPublished: August 07, 20184 min read


Photo of David Vaughan: a man in a suit posing in front of a bridge.
David Vaughan

Most AmericansExit Disclaimer (77%) now own a smartphone of some kind, with almost a third (28%) of smartphone users between 18 and 29 year of age being reliant on smartphones for online access. Similarly, almost a quarter (24%) of African Americans and over a third (35%) of Hispanics also rely exclusively on smartphonesExit Disclaimer for broadband access. Americans check their cell phone on average every 12 minutes.Exit Disclaimer

It is important for those of us who use the internet to communicate about HIV to ensure that the information we provide via our websites can be easily accessed by smartphone users. We reached out to one of our website’s technical experts, David Vaughan, to ask some questions on this topic:

  • What do you know aboutyour mobile users (how much of your traffic is from mobile and what is the device breakdown)?
    • At, 60% of visits occur on smartphones, 37% on desktops, and 3% on tablets.
  • What are the differences between mobile and desktop users of
    • The biggest difference is the type of content being viewed by visitors:
      • On mobile devices 84% of content being viewed is’s HIV Basics content, which provides information about HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment for people at risk for or living with HIV, as well as the general public.
      • Whereas our desktop visitors view a larger variety of content, including’s Federal Response content and blog posts, which focus on how Federal agencies and programs are responding to HIV/AIDS at the local, regional, national and global levels.
  • What constitutes a "good" mobile experience for users?
    • Content is king, However, performance is also important - content should load quickly. The experience is similar to that on desktop in that users can access all of the content and features if they want. For it also includes finding answers quickly. Most of our mobile users come from Google searches, and they are often looking for an answer to an immediate question. Therefore our content and pages should be designed and structured so that users can quickly find that answer.
  • How does design for mobile affect:
    • The site's navigation? Just like on the desktop version, there should be a persistentExit Disclaimer option for navigation. It will be smaller and more compact, but it still needs to be present all of the time.
    • Overall design? Limited real-estate requires the information architecture of the site to be efficient and use of micro-interactions can help with streamlining it and providing users with meaningful feedback to their actions. Micro-interactionsExit Disclaimer are website feedback mechanisms which are small visual or animated responses to user actions. They help a user know their action has been noted and is being acted upon. A simple example of this is the animated progress bar that shows up when a user downloads a file, or how link text changes color when you click on it.
    • Use of images? Images should be used to convey essential information and improve the users’ understanding of the content. To accommodate various device sizes, on smaller screens responsive web design will often move images to a lower placement.
    • Use of videos? In 2017, 44% of video content was viewed on mobile devices. Website owners shouldn’t worry that video will slow down their website, take up too much space, or prevent text from being viewed even if a majority of their visitors are on mobile devices. Good website development or coding will mitigate speed issues.
    • Cross-promoted content within the site? On a well-designed mobile website, there will always be a website navigation option. In addition to that, the use of links within content to link to other content on the website is the best way to do this.
  • What do we expect to see in the future (or what are the mobile trends we should be watching)?
    • With responsive design a standard practice now, I think it’s more about the speed, experience and functionality of delivery. Responsive design doesn’t take into consideration slower mobile network speeds, so finding better ways to deliver content is the future, I believe.
  • How do we plan to continue iterating our site for our mobile users and why?
    • How: we will continue to work on mobile performance and research other approaches whether it is through AMP or changes to our cloud infrastructure.
    • Why:’s recent Pew FB Live discussed the smartphone only population – funded by the SMAIF, our work aims to serve those disadvantaged populations.
  • Where can our users go to learn more about mobile-ready websites?