Mobile Web, apps let users down

Mobile users worldwide have high expectations of speed and experience of Web sites and applications but companies not keeping up, according to new survey.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Businesses are not living up to high user expectations for mobile Web surfing and applications, a new study has revealed.

Conducted by Compuware, the survey of over 4,000 mobile Web users worldwide found that the majority of users experienced slow or unreliable mobile and application performance between February 2010 and February 2011. Over half, or 57 percent, reported problems accessing a Web site via their mobile devices, while 47 percent indicated they had problems accessing a mobile app.

In a statement Wednesday, the technology performance company said respondents expected exceptional Web experiences and demanded responsive mobile sites. Seventy-one percent of users felt that Web sites should load almost as quickly or faster on their mobile phone as compared to their computers at home, an increase from 58 percent in 2009, when the survey was last conducted. Yet, 46 percent reported that Web sites loaded more slowly on their phone.

Steve Tack, CTO of application performance management at Compuware, noted in the statement that user expectations for mobile Web and applications have continued to increase in the past two years, but "companies are still not meeting mobile users' needs for fast and reliable experiences."

Firms struggling to keep up with user demands
According to Tack, businesses are not realizing the benefits of growing mobile Web access due to poor performance of mobile products.

"Today, 77 percent of top companies across multiple verticals have mobile page load times of 5 seconds or more, while mobile users are only willing to wait 5 seconds or less for a Web page to load before leaving the site," he pointed out.

In its report, Compuware said that nearly 60 percent of mobile users expected a Web site to load on their mobile phone in 3 seconds or less. About three-quarters of those surveyed were willing to wait for 5 seconds or less for a Web page to load before they left the site. Fifty percent indicated they would wait for 5 seconds or less for an application to load before exiting.

Half of mobile Web users were unlikely to return to a Web site they had trouble accessing from their phone, while 57 percent were unlikely to recommend it, it added.

Of those that reported access problems, 78 percent said they would retry a Web site at most twice, while 80 percent said the same for an application.

Nick Evered, regional vice president of Compuware Asia and Japan, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail interview that user expectations have increased rapidly due to the availability of more powerful mobile devices, more sophisticated mobile operating systems and high connectivity levels in an age of rapidly-evolving infrastructure.To keep up, businesses need to have visibility across the entire application delivery chain so they can identify issues, isolate the root cause and fix them immediately, he said. To that end, they ought to rethink their approach to application performance management and not monitor application delivery chains separately as they would not have a full view of the Web site performance as seen from the perspective of users.

"They are left with blind spots that may contain problems they never knew," said Evered.

The executive added that almost 40 percent of the survey respondents were from the Asia-Pacific region, reflecting the growing importance of the region in the area of mobile Web and application development.

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