Is your settlement website Mobile friendly?

Is your settlement website Mobile friendly?

If not, you may be entering the “Red Zone

Mobile settlement websites have become an important part of modern best practicable outreach efforts.  But, an M-site can’t be an afterthought. 
Google’s new mobile-friendliness algorithm, set to launch on April 21, 2015 will search for sites that were designed and coded specifically for mobile, not just a modified version of the desktop site.

Flash elements, pop-ups, and certain image types that work on a desktop are going to be red flags, while responsive design elements that adapt to a variety of mobile screen sizes, and scaled down text will be indexed with higher rank. Nearly 183 million U.S. consumers now have smartphones and nearly 72 percent use them to access the internet. Increasingly, its becoming common to see a significant percentage of class action settlement website traffic originating from a mobile device.  This is particularly true for those settlements involving significant populations of Millennials – adults who are 18 to 34 years of age such as: In re: Skechers Toning Shoes Products Liability Litigation, No. 3:11-MD-2308-TBR (W.D. Ky. 2012), or settlements involving populations that are on-the-go, who use mobile platforms for everything from email, to text, to news, to shopping; not to mention keeping up with all those apps:  Murray, et al. v. Bill Me Later, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-4789 (N.D. Ill.). And courts are seeing the value of using interconnected digital media: Bezdek v. Vibram USA and Vibram FiveFingers LLC, No 12-10513 (D. MA).  In Vibram, the Honorable Douglas P. Woodlock stated in the Final Memorandum and Order: …[O]n independent review I find that the notice program was robust, particularly in its online presence…

All of this can be good news if your settlement websites have been designed to be mobile friendly – you can expect to see an improvement in how the site is ranked in a mobile search.  However, sites that have not been designed to be optimized for mobile friendly viewing may realize an index ranking drop, or worse… some sites may be labeled as red, or “slow.”  This could have a significant negative impact on mobile traffic to a settlement site.

What exactly does this change mean for a settlement website?

Google is making mobile optimization/responsiveness a high priority and it is changing the mobile website playing field.  Their recent announcement regarding the algorithm change is your official warning to make sure your settlement website is mobile friendly before April 21.

To help move website owners in a mobile friendly direction, Google is providing testing tools and guides to ensure websites are mobile friendly. Below, HF Media has highlighted a few of Google’s key tools that are critical to program a mobile friendly site:

  1. Guide to mobile-friendly sites. Google’s detailed mobile-friendly guide discusses why and how to build a mobile-friendly website.
  2. Mobile Friendly Test. This is a great tool to use if you want to make sure your website pages meet the Googlebot mobile-friendly criteria. The test will analyze a URL and report if the page has a mobile-friendly design.
  3. Mobile Usability Report. If you have a site and use Google Webmaster Tools (WMT), you can run the usability report to 1) identify mobile usability issues and 2) follow guidelines to correct issues.

This is just one example of how complex the media landscape has become. In the legal notice context, it’s even more important to understand why practitioners need to employ a multichannel approach (traditional, online, mobile, social media) to deliver an effective media relevant notice program to reach class members.  According to Jeanne Finegan, APR, President of Heffler/Finegan (“HF”) Media, mobile is becoming an increasingly important component of legal notice programs.  Mobile can drive awareness, offer highly targeted outreach and it can provide a platform for filing claims.

Modern, effective notice means that we have to reach potential class members in a “media-relevant” way — understanding the interconnections within media channels to target the right audience with the right media, at the right level of reach, at the right time is critical.  That’s why a modern, next-level, digital campaign needs to target and measure  “people” not just impressions.

HF Media, has been at the forefront of media-relevant notice and mobile optimization.  We stay on top of latest legal decisions and apply the most advanced media, technology and software to bring our clients highly targeted, cost-efficient media relevant notice.

At HF Media, we employ next level notice and work closely with Heffler Claims Group LLC to ensure our communications are mobile optimized/responsive.

For more information about this article and other information, contact us today.

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