BlueTrain Mobile is offering a free web-based site-checker that rates websites for their performance on smartphones. For web designers, it provides a quick way to check updates to a website to see if changes have made the performance better or worse.
Mobile Grader rates some features either pass or fail. For example, sites that use Adobe Flash or "hover states" will lose five points in each case. Other features, such as page size and download speed, are rated against a representative selection of 100 different mobile sites. BlueTrain says the sites on its Mobile 100 have been chosen "to create a realistic benchmark against well-known brands and the mobile versions of their websites" across a variety of industries.
The scoring weights are given in the table below.
In a blog post, Griffin Mahoney, Mobile Grader's designer, is soliciting "any ideas for what we should add" to the benchmark.
Websites often perform badly on smartphones: they have smaller screens, much less memory, slower processors, and less capable browsers than PCs. The biggest improvement can therefore be gained by having a simplified, mobile-oriented version of a website. This adds 35 points to the score. Beyond that, there are benefits from reducing page load sizes and the number of elements that have to be downloaded.
Walgreens' mobile site (viewed on a PC)
Walgreens, the US retail chain, has got close to perfection with a mobile site that comprises a small (1.4K) red logo plus a simple text menu. It scores 98 percent.
However, Andy Komack, BlueTrain's vice president of marketing, says "it's unlikely that the goal of any marketer should be to achieve a perfect score. Rather… they should allow room for aesthetic imagery, unique mobile content, and other elements that might lower a Mobile Grader score, but are necessary to achieve the intended marketing result."
Mobile Grader Score Weights