How to Fix Mobile Usability Error in WordPress Site?

The Usability Error, also known as the Mobile Usability Error, is a common issue with WordPress websites which are set to automatically detect their visitors’ devices. It can be seen when visiting a website on an iPhone or any other mobile device. The error message appears in the form of a pop-up window, usually after clicking on a button or image on the page.

The Usability Error is a result of how mobile browsers interpret certain WordPress functions, plugins and themes. In some cases, you don’t even need a plugin to fix the error – simply following the steps below will help you protect your website from this common issue. We’ve compiled a short list of solutions for preventing it.

Check if your website is causing the Usability Error

To check if your site is indeed triggering the error, you should open your page on an iPhone or another mobile device, click on a button or link which brings up an element modal window, then tap “OK”. If this triggers the error message below without it affecting any other functionality on the website, then your site is responsible for displaying it.

In some cases, this may be due to a WordPress plugin or theme specific function call. In these cases, you’ll have to use a custom code solution instead of following any predefined steps below. A quick way to solve it would be using a mobile plugin – our favorite is the WPtouch plugin. It takes a couple of minutes to set up and can be configured to work with any WordPress website, no matter what theme you’re using.

One other way is ensuring that your site’s pages are responsive (mobile friendly). This will allow visitors who are browsing on mobile devices to view them correctly without having to scroll one line at a time. There are also some WordPress themes for mobile devices, such as Genesis Miwo which was designed with mobile in mind from the start.

In case you use a premium WordPress theme and want to ensure that it’s not causing this problem, check the documentation or support center of your theme provider. If you have purchased your self-developed theme – you’ll have to fix this issue yourself by finding the function or code responsible for triggering it.

Is your website mobile friendly?

While the Usability Error is triggered when visiting a technically non-mobile friendly website on an iPhone or another device, most devices can’t actually interpret its contents properly anyway. If you try to open your website on an Android phone for instance, more than likely it will show the error instead. This is because mobile browsers usually default to “desktop mode” when they can’t detect mobile elements on web pages.

To make sure that your website is mobile friendly, test it using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test . It’s free and easy to use, just type your website’s address and wait for the results.

What causes the Usability Error?

The Usability Error is usually caused by a WordPress function that isn’t mobile friendly, either because the developer didn’t know or account for it, or simply due to lack of time/resources to properly optimize it for mobile devices.

There are several ways to trigger the error depending on your website’s structure, but most of them are caused by a single function that gets called when clicking a link or button. In this case, it usually comes from one of the following:

Link modal windows which load in a new page outside the WordPress admin area (for example, clicking on “Learn More” or “Sign Up”) The wp_ajax function which calls certain admin scripts (for example, for updating posts) AJAX requests to external pages (usually triggered by social sharing widgets)

There are several other ways this error can be caused. Unfortunately, we can’t cover all of them here because it’s up to you (or the developer who built the website) to find out what’s causing it. The best way is to use Google Chrome or developer tools for this – open your website, click on the button/link which triggers the problem and check browser console (Ctrl+Shift+J in most cases). If you see an error message that wasn’t already mentioned above, it’s most likely the one causing it.

How do I solve it?

The Usability Error is usually caused by a WordPress function that isn’t mobile friendly, either because the developer didn’t know or account for it, or simply due to lack of time/resources to properly optimize it for mobile devices. This means that you’ll have to find the offending function and either remove it or properly edit it to make sure that it’s mobile friendly.

In some cases, you might want to check theme files for a responsive version of a “desktop” style file. Again, WPtouch comes in handy – there is a plugin available on WordPress Plugin Directory which adds this functionality automatically with just one click.

The mobile user experience is important and shouldn’t be neglected. If you have a website which isn’t meeting your visitors halfway, they will most likely just leave and find another one that is more friendly to their needs. The best way to prevent this from happening is to make sure that all of its elements are mobile optimised – buttons, menus, images, articles… everything.

The Usability Error is a result of most visitors’ need to have intuitive page structures and ease of use when they visit a website. In most cases it can be solved by removing or editing certain elements which trigger the error – but sometimes it’s caused by themes not being developed for mobile devices at all.