Mobile news usability study: Guardian tops list

06/06/2013

The Guardian has come out top in delivering the best mobile news experience, followed by the Independent, according to a new report from EPiServer.

The mobile news study assessed the mobile websites and apps of 12 of the UK’s top news publishers, with The Guardian providing impressively fast browsing, easy to locate stories with clear headlines and GuardianWitness, an innovative citizen journalism app for iPhone and Android.

The study measured the mobile experience across native apps, mobile sites and tablets, rating the UK publishers on elements including speed, functionality, sociability and ease of use. The assessment criteria were defined based on the results of a survey of 1,000 UK smartphone and tablet users into their expectations and demands of a mobile news site.

The Guardian scored an impressive score of 87%, followed by i and The Independent, both scoring 82%. However, the delivery of news via mobile website was lacking from the Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Times, with all scoring less than 50% in the study.

The average score of 67% across all 12 publishers suggests the industry has recognised the importance of mobile in the digital marketing mix, with 100% offering an iPad, iPhone and Android app. However, a third of news publishers do not offer a mobile website and could be missing a trick as mobile websites proved to be marginally more popular with consumers than apps in terms of general browsing.

Consumer behaviour suggests now is a crucial time for publishers to refine their mobile offerings. Almost half (47%) of smartphone and tablet users primarily turn to mobile to keep up with the headlines. Mobile is also the preferred method of consuming news for 42%, ahead of print (19%) and desktop websites (23%).

Scores of the top ten UK news publishers

1. The Guardian – 87%
=2. The Independent, I – 82%
4. Daily Record – 80%
5. Daily Telegraph – 79%
6. Daily Mirror – 78%
7. The Sun – 64%
8. Daily Mail – 49%
9. Daily Express – 47%
10. The Times – 47%

Maria Wasing, VP of Global Marketing, EPiServer, commented, “By making news constantly available, mobile devices are providing publishers with the opportunity of greater reach and engagement with their readers. With the mobile marketplace becoming increasingly complex, it is impressive to see the top publishers offerings apps across a range of devices. Top performer The Guardian is an inspiring example of how publishers can enhance their digital strategies to deliver an engaging experience across multiple channels and devices.”

The EPiServer report ‘Mobile strategy: what consumers want from digital news publishers’, is available to download here.

It compares new research into the expectations and behaviour of mobile users with the benchmark assessment of the mobile websites and apps of the UK’s top 12 news publishers.

Methodology

The consumer survey was conducted by OnePoll in March 2013 and consulted 1,000 UK consumers. The results of answers to the questions were translated into percentage values.
The publisher benchmark study was conducted by EPiServer in May 2013. A weighting has been applied to the scores achieved by each retailer to award each one an overall score out of 410.

The scoring was based on the following:

• Does the publisher have a mobile-enabled website?
• Does this appear automatically on a mobile device?
• Does the publisher have an iPhone app?
• Does the publisher have an iPad app?
• Does the publisher have an Android smartphone app?
o For each of the above:
 Is the mobile site/app easy to use?
 Does the site load quickly?
 Is login clear and simple?
 Are transactions easy to complete?
 Is video content used?
 Are social network sharing buttons included on article pages?
 Is there a site search function?
 Does the width of the screen fit the device?
 Does the page navigate up and down instead of left and right?
 Does it support zooming?
 Are text boxes and the amount of typing on the page kept to a minimum?
 Does it match the look and feel of the main site?
 Does the mobile site give the option to switch to the normal (desktop) version of the site?

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