Mobile Web Sites Struggle to Deliver an Effective Experience

Posted by at 11:28 pm on November 21, 2008

Yankee Group  today released a new report that shows mobile Web sites struggle to deliver an effective experience to the millions of consumers they serve. Based on a new Yankee Group methodology, the report, “The Best of the Anywhere Web,” scores 32 mobile Web sites on a scale of 1 to 100 and finds not one Web site with a passing grade of 70.

The mobile Web site market is growing at a rate of 10 percent per month and is expected to become users’ preferred method of accessing the Web in the next 10 years. Therefore, the mobile Web platform represents a major opportunity for companies to leverage, especially in tough economic times when other market opportunities may be stagnating.

Carl Howe, a director in Yankee Group’s Anywhere Consumer research group and the report’s author, says, “Satisfying mobile users isn’t rocket science, yet our report finds that the average mobile Web site has significant room for improvement. Although most of these Web sites are functional, few provide anything specifically designed for mobile users, instead relying on reformatted desktop content. The average score of 54 shows just what these sites are: average.”

Financial services mobile Web sites ranked best overall, with only two sites scoring in the “Needs Improvement” range below 50.

  • Bank of America’s score of 67 topped the financial services category with its Zen-like simplicity and comprehensive security.
  • Two regional banks-”U.S. Bancorp and First Interstate Bank-”tied for second place in Yankee Group’s assessments with a score of 65. Both sites mirror Bank of America’s simplicity but aren’t quite as refined in how they help mobile users find their A s and branch locations, and perform basic banking functions.
  • Fidelity was highlighted for supporting nearly all investor functions, allowing nearly any mobile device to securely perform nearly every operation possible on a desktop PC, from trading stocks and bonds to checking up on a 401(k).

Air travel mobile Web sites naturally serve mobile users, but are inconsistent in offering help to Web users on the go.

  • American Airlines topped the category with a score of 65 for prioritized same-day information.
  • Continental received a middle-of-the-pack overall score of 50, but was recognized for its unique mobile check-in feature that allows users to access a bar code on their mobile device that serves as a boarding pass.

Shopping mobile Web sites provide a broad array of services with variable mobile experiences.

  • Edmunds received the highest overall score in this category, earning a grade of 67 for making checking car prices simple.
  • Amazon.com and Best Buy provide the broadest shopping experiences, with Amazon.com prioritizing and marketing mobile products over traditional products.
  • eBay created a site for auction addicts with a minimalist design that allows bidders and sellers to track their auctions on the go and not miss any last-minute changes in those transactions.

About Yankee Group’s Mobile Web Scorecard Methodology

Yankee Group has developed best-in-class design criteria and a proprietary methodology for evaluating mobile Web design. Its Mobile Web Scorecard consists of 25 questions designed to evaluate performance in five key categories: user, device, network, design and effectiveness. Yankee Group Consulting performs custom evaluations for companies, providing a detailed assessment, benchmarking and specific recommendations based on scorecard results.

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