Posts Tagged ‘UX benchmarking’

Mobile Phone Sites Fail to Connect

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Despite selling the technology frequently used for social networking, Britain’s biggest mobile phone e-retailers are failing to plug into the phenomenon, according to a report from benchmarking specialist Syntagm (http://www.syntagm.co.uk). The study of 12 leading mobile sites found that the majority offer very limited interactive features, and don’t encourage user-generated content or attempt to foster a sense of community – in stark contrast to e-commerce leaders like Amazon.

Recent research from Ofcom revealed that 30% of British adults now have a social networking profile, with many accessing this virtual world via their mobile phone. And consumers have come to expect the same level of interactivity when shopping online: user reviews, self-service and control over purchasing are commonplace everywhere from ASOS to eBay.

When it comes to buying a mobile, however, customers might as well skip the online experience and stroll into a ‘bricks and mortar’ store if they’re looking for an interactive shopping experience. Whilst some of the sites provided interactive search facilities or 3D phone viewers, only two (Three and T-Mobile) allowed potential customers to chat online to a sales advisor.

None of the sites made personalised recommendations based on previous visits, and most did not even attempt to show users the products they most recently viewed – a serious flaw given the amount of ‘site hopping’ people tend to do when shopping online.

Several sites subscribed to ‘read only’ third-party product reviews, but it wasn’t possible for users to make comments about their own experience of a particular product, or leave questions to be answered by other punters.

William Hudson, Syntagm’s CEO, comments: “Successful e-commerce sites echo the sense of community that has made social networking sites so popular, by enabling users to communicate and share information. In our survey, only outsider Expansys came close, whereas its bigger competitors seem to have got their wires crossed when it comes to social networking opportunities.  There’s a lot more they could be doing.”

Syntagm’s benchmarking report compared user experience between Argos, Carphone Warehouse, Expansys, mobiles.co.uk, O2, Orange, phones4u, Tesco, T-Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone.

The study concluded that the sites are failing consumers on some of the most basic services needed to buy a phone. And the biggest names were often the worst culprits: relative unknown Expansys was the only site to score above 50% on overall experience for online shoppers, putting its mainstream competitors to shame.

Hudson adds: “At a time of intense competition between the main mobile traders, they need to offer their online shoppers a more engaging experience. Our report clearly shows where their strengths and weaknesses lie – we hope the companies concerned will make use of the information it provides.”

Ends

Notes for editors

About Syntagm:
Syntagm is a small consultancy based in Oxford. Established in 1985, it specialises in design for usability (user-centred design and user experience) and people development. It has worked more than 100 blue chip organisations across Europe and North America.

About the benchmarking report:
Benchmarking took place in late May and early June 2009, comparing the 12 mobile phone sites across 13 categories: content, visual design, navigation, engagement, accessibility, trust, persuasion, shopping basket, search, selection, checkout, account management, and online support.

Additional sites can be benchmarked on request. Syntagm and its staff have no financial interests in any of the organisations benchmarked.

 For further details or to purchase the summary report visit www.uxbench.com

Dates study, user experience benchmarking and more…

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Many thanks to the hundreds of people who took part in our dates study. We had almost 1,000 responses in a one week period. I have written a full report of the study and put it in the resources section of our site – www.syntagm.co.uk/design/datesstudy.htm – but read on for a headline summary. Respondents who used month-first order were torn between ‘8/2/09’ and ‘August 2 2009’ with the former slightly ahead. Those who used day-first ordering had a strong preference for ‘2 August 2009’ while a very small number of respondents used the ISO date standard: 2009-08-02. Having said that, the thing I really wanted to know was whether people used leading zeroes without being asked. The answer is pretty much ‘no’. 76% of all responses used no leading zeroes in the day or month. Read the full report to find out why this is interesting (to me, at least).

Having spent 7 years benchmarking intranets, it is now the turn of e-commerce sites. The first in our new series of user experience benchmarking reports addresses the UK mobile phone market and covers 12 of the leading vendors: Argos, Carphone Warehouse, Expansys, mobiles.co.uk, O2, Orange, phones4u, Tesco, T-Mobile, Three, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone. There were some big surprises in the ratings – see our overview at www.uxbench.com. Also, join our UX benchmarking email list to have a chance to win a personal copy of the report. Just send an empty email to subscribe-uxbench@listman.syntagm.co.uk (unsubscribing is easy too).

Finally, a reminder of our upcoming courses. We are running our full-day card sorting and Ajax interaction design courses in London, Las Vegas and Berlin in the Autumn (the later two venues as part of the Nielsen-Norman Group conferences). See www.csadvances.com and www.ajaxusability.com for further details (and to book the London dates).