The good news for the mobile Web is that the audience is growing at a steady clip, increasing 34% to nearly 57 million users as of July, according to Nielsen. The bad news is that Web surfing via cell phone continues to be a frustrating experience for most users.
Two out of three mobile Web users reported having problems when accessing Web sites on their mobile phones in the last year, according to a new study by Web application testing firm Gomez Inc. Slow load times were cited as the biggest issue, followed by mobile sites crashing, and the formatting of a page making it difficult to read or use.
Because most people are used to broadband connections at home and work, their expectations for the mobile Web are high. Most of the 1001 Gomez survey participants expect Web sites to load almost as quickly, as quickly, or even faster on their mobile phone than their home or work computer.
One out of five mobile users say sites should load in five seconds or less -- comparable to expectations for the regular Web circa 2007 or 2008. A recent study by the Nielsen Norman Group, which reached similar conclusions about the mobile Web, likened it to the traditional Web circa 1994. Gomez found that more than half of cell phone users are willing to wait only six to 10 seconds before giving up.
Not surprisingly, having a bad experience with a mobile site can hurt brand perception and reduce traffic. Nearly two-thirds of mobile users (61%) say they would be less likely to visit a problematic site again, and 40% say they would head to a competing site.
More than 80% claim they would access Web sites more often from their phone if the experience was as fast and reliable as on a PC. In terms of age groups, people ages 21 to 44 would be most likely to fire up their mobile browsers more if performance was better.
Unlike some other mobile studies, the Gomez report did not differentiate between regular cell phone and smartphone users. The study included people who own a mobile phone and had used it to access the Internet in the last twelve months.
A study released earlier this year by Universal McCann, AOL and interactive research firm Questus found that 80% of smartphone users were satisfied using the Internet on their devices.
The Gomez report highlights why we created Ruxter (www.ruxter.com). The mobile web is not the PC web and the report highlights the not only the needs of the mobile user but their expectations as well. With a free mobile site on Ruxter these problems of lslow load times and sites that won't render properly are solved and your mobile audience and customers will keep coming back time after time and not associate you with frustrations.
This study spoke to me, as I am a late adopter of mobile web, finally have it and find I use it less than anticipated. Not so much because of speed, but browsing on a small screen leaves much to be desired and the user interface is not as intuitive as it is on a pc. I have to ask my teenagers for help with doing some things, and find it just takes longer to navigate sites due to not having a mouse; having to scroll through things. So my use is mostly to check email.