mocoNews - Study Shows Browsing On The iPhone Is Nearly As Good As Using A PC

Tricia Duryee
Monday, July 20, 2009; 6:00 PM

A usability study found that the average success rate in completing various tasks on the mobile internet is just 59 percent, compared to 80 percent for regular PC web sites, reports USA Today.

The study, conducted by researchers at Nielsen Norman Group, had people look up movie listings and product reviews on their phones. In general, they found that the mobile web is as difficult to navigate as websites 15 years ago, however, individuals with higher-end phones performed better. In fact, the average success rate of the iPhone was 75 percent, or just five percentage points lower than using the PC (compared to other smartphones that average a 55 percent success rate, and feature phones that averaged 38 percent success rate).

What's interesting about this test is that participants used their own cellphones to complete the tasks, so they should have been fairly comfortable with what they were doing. In general, tasks were easier to complete on the phone when users viewed sites designed for mobile, increasing to 64 percent compared to 53 percent when using "full" HTML" sites. The report advises companies to build a mobile site if possible, but the mobile site should also include a link to the full site.

Here's the list of obstacles that made tasks more challenging to complete:

-The screens are too small, and you can't open multiple windows at once to compare products.

-Typing is slow and awkward and typos are common.

-Even when using 3G, delays are often longer than old computer dial-up modems.

-Websites designed for computers, don?t translate well for cellphones.

© 2009 ContentNext Media Inc.