What is a Mobile Viewport?

This article explains the answer to the common technological question that often arises in conversations of web designing- what is a mobile viewport? A viewport itself controls the way in which a website is displayed to viewers. If a mobile viewport is enabled, the site becomes more aesthetically pleasing and easier to navigate than if the website was viewed at desktop width from a mobile device. Configuring a mobile viewport greatly enhances the web page experience for mobile users.

For website owners in the smartphone era, having a general understanding of a mobile viewport is crucial.

What is a mobile viewport?

At its most basic level, a viewport refers to the way in which a web page is displayed to viewers (usually at either a desktop or mobile width). A mobile viewport enables the web page to recognize when a site visitor is viewing the page on a mobile device and subsequently adjusts the page’s width. In other words, viewports control whether or not a web page is ‘mobile friendly.’

Think about it this way. Have you ever visited a web page where the font was so tiny that it could hardly be read? Or, what about those websites where one has to scroll far to the left and then far back to the right to read the entire content of the page? Usually, websites arranged this way also require viewers to zoom in or out multiple times while also scrolling back and forth to read the tiny font. Web pages that are displayed this way do not have mobile viewports enabled and instead have required site visitors to view the page on a desktop width.

Constructing a mobile viewport transforms that difficult-to-read and annoying-to-scroll web page into a more mobile-user friendly page. Adjusting the webpage’s width from desktop view to mobile view results in a larger font, a width that better fits mobile devices so that users do not have to scroll far to the left and right, and eliminates the pesky problem of constantly need to zoom in and out.

Why should web page owners concern themselves withmobile viewports?

Mobile device user traffic will likely be significantly higher if the web page has the correct viewport configured. Without the correct width adjustments, mobile users become frustrated and simply click out of the web page in search for a more mobile-friendly site. Lower web page traffic often results in a less profitable website, whether it be from fewer advertisement views, less frequent online shoppers, etc. No one enjoys spending time on a web page that is difficult to view, especially not when there are likely alternative web pages on the same topic that can be viewed instead.

What’s more, it is pretty simple for a web page owner to determine whether or not the site has a mobile viewport configured. Google has developed a ‘Mobile Ready Tool’ that checks the viewport width of a given web page. All one has to do is simply visit Your text to link… and enter the URL. If that web page is not mobile-friendly, Google’s check will tell you.