Sunday, January 27, 2008

The mobile Web’s biggest challenge

Usability remains the big challenge ...

"... From my perspective, consumer awareness (about content availability and ways to access the content) is the biggest hurdle. Only about 12% of U.S. mobile users actively surf the mobile Web today, and the upside is tremendous. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “You mean I can really do that on a phone?” Even with many early-market limitations, mobile devices are a powerful enabler today for people who use them. A number of companies, especially in the media, financial services and travel industries, have already built user-friendly sites that reach millions of consumers every month. If we as an industry address and solve this issue together, customer growth will give us the resources to easily conquer any other obstacle.

And the survey says…

However, I also wanted to check with some industry counterparts on this subject. So I turned to INmobile, an online community of mobile executives, to get their perspectives. We asked, “What is the biggest mobile Web challenge that the industry needs to overcome?” Of the 30 respondents, 17% agree with me that it is awareness, but the majority, 53% believe that site design/usability is the biggest challenge, 23% identified walled gardens, and 3% believe that either advertising standards or networks speeds come first.

I was not surprised by the number of respondents who felt that site design/usability must be addressed. One respondent reminded us that if design is not simple and intuitive, the word-of-mouth buzz that helps drive viral growth just will not happen. Many mobile Web sites are still not optimized for mobile users, and indeed quite a few companies still have not launched their first mobile sites at all. Multiple organizations are focused on helping companies design sites that meet basic criteria for usability and design, and this area clearly merits major focus.

The walled garden answer was popular, and one respondent feels that it impedes consumer understanding with many divergent experiences across each carrier’s deck. I agree to some extent, but believe that with awareness and improved site design, this obstacle can be easily overcome."    (Continued via RCR Wireless News)    [Usability Resources]


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