Report: Mobile Web Sites Are Not Improving


The number of consumers using their mobile devices to access the Internet is growing, but many mobile Web sites are not particularly mobile-friendly.

According to Yankee Group, 31% of phone-owning customers are using their phones to access the Web at least once a month. However, in its second evaluation of 27 popular mobile sites, the average score (on a scale of 100) was 52 -- still not passing, Carl Howe, director of Yankee Group and author of the company's "Best of the Anywhere Web 2009" report, tells Marketing Daily.

"The average has not gone up. But there are a few standouts," he says.

The most common usage of mobile Web sites is news, search and weather. Perhaps not surprisingly, two of the best mobile sites are Yahoo's and Google's, Howe says. Both sites are able to adapt to the device through which people are accessing the Internet and optimize the content and appearance to it. They also present enough information to be valuable to consumers without overwhelming them. Google also uses location technology to further tailor searches, which is of value to users, Howe says.



The report also cites Major League Baseball's as a good example of tailoring content to the mobile device. Many mobile sites in the sports category tend to overwhelm users with information that is not easily readable or understandable on the Web.

For marketers, the lessons of the report are simple, Howe says. First, it's worth the investment to set up device detection on mobile Web sites for an optimal user experience. "It's not simple, and it's not easy, and it takes a lot of testing. But it says I care about what you as the consumer sees," Howe says.

He also suggests using location Web addresses that may be used. And finally, hire a mobile design specialist to help create the site.

"There's a temptation to think of a mobile phone as a mini-desktop, and it's not. There are a lot of things you can do, but you have to design for them," Howe says. "Our prediction is that more people will be browsing from mobile devices than from their desktops. If you want to interact with them, you've got to figure it out."

1 comment about "Report: Mobile Web Sites Are Not Improving ".
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  1. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, September 21, 2009 at 11:14 a.m.

    There is major similarities with Mobile Web as there has been regarding Automakers hesitancy to spend billions on Battery or Hydrogen technology to go green and get us off oil. Granted the mobile space for a specific brand won't entail billions of dollars of investment. But the fact is we have billions already invested in traditional web architecture that allows HTML and Flash as well as the legions of code writers used to these formats. Now brands are seeing the explosion of netbooks and convergence of other mobile technologies and with budgets tight all around where do you spend. Mobile has grown on phones out of simplicity not logic. Phones are portable and already wired via the Cellular networks and everyone has them. So it was the first mass technology that could host useful mobile applications. BUT people prefer larger screens for most online activities and soon they will have them as tablet style products evolve.

    So when tablets get under a pound. Foldable and rugged enough to toss in your backpack or purse they will become the defacto choice for watching video, surfing, shopping etc. People want larger screens but light weight and portable which laptops and even netbooks do not achieve yet. And phones are already weening people off DVD/CD drives and massive hard drives. And with tablets all the great features of the modern web and all that infrastructure already in place now becomes truly Mobile. And since that will push today's mobile web into a minority position why invest in that arena. Especially with how fast technology advances!

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