Google today announced the launch of a new ‘Google Mobile Sites certification’ program with the end result being that mobile-oriented web developers will be able to refer to themselves “as a Google accredited mobile site developer.” A certification which Google notes will then be listed on the developer’s partners profile as a sign to potential clients that the developer is considered “an expert in mobile site optimization” by Google.
To gain certification, developers will need to pass an exam. One which Google notes requires the developer to demonstrate that they posses the “ability to build and optimize high-quality sites.” Examples of some of the areas of expertise that developers will have to demonstrate include 'mobile site design' and 'mobile UX best practice'. Although, in addition to the actual content, the exam will also focus on the deliver of the site to the end user. Namely, the ability for developers to build mobile-oriented sites that are speed optimized.
The reason for the focus on speed, also seems to be one of the reasons that Google has launched the new mobile sites certification program in the first place. Google explains that the expectation users now have for mobile-focused and optimized sites has grown considerably, which in turn is largely due to the increase in the number of users who now use mobile devices to access internet pages. By Google’s own accounting - more than half of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices. Although, in spite of the increase in usage and expectation, today’s announcement seems to suggest that Google considers the overall mobile site landscape to be one which is still not quite speed optimized enough.
To further highlight this point, Google draws on one of their own recent studies to explain that the average loading time of landing pages on mobile takes as long as 22 seconds. Which is significantly longer than what Google suggest is a three-second limit that 53-percent of site visitors on mobile will wait before leaving a site again. Therefore, the launch of this latest program is not only designed to highlight developers who can build mobile-oriented sites, but also increase the conversion rates of mobile site visits and bring those rates more in line with desktop. For those interested in taking the Google Mobile Sites certification exam, Google has put together a study guide which can be found through the link below - along with the general announcement on the new certification program.