What Australians Hate About The Mobile Web Experience

As smartphones become more common, we're doing more and more of our net browsing on smaller screens, but that doesn't mean we're enjoying it. A new survey highlights some of our biggest annoyances with the mobile web, and the relatively slow speed of accessing sites tops the list.

Picture by Petras Gagilas

Compuware surveyed 500 Australians about their web experience, and found that speed and accessibility were the major concerns. While 62 per cent of Australians expect sites to load as fast on their phone as their computer, more than 33 per cent said this didn't happen. Half those surveyed expected sites to load in three seconds or less, which frankly doesn't always happen on PCs.

Speed aside, being able to get onto a site is a major issue, with 52 per cent having problems with sites and 45 per cent with specific mobile apps. Turns out we're impatient souls too: 77 per cent of us won't try more than twice to access a failing site.

I do find it irritating when a site doesn't have a mobile-optimised version. While most newer phones can actually render standard sites, I don't want to have to scroll and zoom to get to actual content. What are your biggest issues when it comes to mobile browsing? Tell us in the comments.


Comments

    Being on any carrier that's not Telstra pretty much sucks.

    Broken javascript that doesn't work in webkit (I'm looking at you Telstra) is really unforgivable.

    I traded my Blackberry for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7"
    I've been using it as my phone for about 2 weeks now and I think once I've gotten a decent Bluetooth for it I'll probably never look back.

    The performance, multi tasking and full browser experience alone make it worth the swap.
    The plethora of apps is incredible.
    The ability to citrix apps on it from nearly anywhere is a real app killer.
    It fits in my pocket and has a decent battery life.

      +1 for not going apple :)

    You have to remember the amount of extra work which is involved to get a single website working on all platforms.

    IE - 7, 8, 9
    Firefox
    Safari
    Opera
    Chrome
    Blackberry
    iOS
    Android
    Symbian

    Just getting a website working over all those platforms is a challenge, let alone getting a mobile specific version running.

    Big businesses can spend the money on that kind of stuff, but I can't see a small business shelling out that kind of money just for a little more customer convenience.

      Safari
      mobile Safari - often have quite different behaviours

      I also hate using sites which always throw up an ad that suggests you use their iphone app version. Yes, well already got that but it's not like the app opens up when I get the link to the site, so what's the point? e.g. YouTube, IMDB, ...

        Android does this. Click a youtube link and it will ask whether you want to use a browser or the app.

          You know you can set a certain app (ie: youtube app, or browser) as the default and it will never ask you again?

          Personally I prefer the youtube app as its much faster to load content (no browser overheads on top) and I can go full screen just by turning the phone to landscape.

    i hate mobile sites. That's why i use opera mobile because i can to choose in the settings to pick the desktop version of the site. Then as you zoom in it re flows the text to fit. its such a nice experience on the N8.

    Mobile sites are good, except when I follow a link from somewhere and the site redirects to the mobile site HOME PAGE! Most frustrating thing in the world, and usually ensures I never use that site again. Also annoying is when there is no option to switch to the desktop version - mobile sites often don't have all the detail that the desktop version does, so by not allowing switching they are restricting what I can do.

      Aka: Facebook.

    What I hate is losing the mobile data connection during my daily commute on the train. Makes watching YouTube impossible for a few stations =P

    Mobile sites that don't include core features found on the full site.

    I dowbnloaded Opera on the weekend, cause the standard Android browser refused to load eBay's Normal website after clicking the link from their Mobile site!

    I've noticed that by switching dns servers there is a considerable increase in page-load performance.

    0. Auto-redirection to the mobile root site. Bye-bye!
    1. Mobile sites that don't let you switch to the desktop version. Especially ones that have less features.
    2. Desktop sites that do a browser check on *every page* and switch you every time.
    3. That Wordpress iPad theme thats supposed to be "like Flipboard" but is instead just really annoying.
    4. Flash. If you're serious about web design, design for web not Flash.
    5. Auto-play videos. Some of us are on 3G okay? (Looking at you SMH)
    6. Sites that don't set the HTML5 email attribute on email form fields.
    7. Hover menus.
    8. Sites that treat the iPad as an iPhone and the other way 'round. You're better off treating the iPad as a desktop.
    9. Videos only in WMV. Seriously ABC? WMV? Is this '99?

    That's all I can think of right now. Not that *desktop* browsing is all cake-and-fairies either, mind.

    One of the things that I find myself constantly doing (on android) is changing the browser (the stock one) settings to disable/enable mobile view. Some sites implement a great mobile view, which use less data and render quickly, so where I can I use it, most, however are pretty crappy.

    This year I switched from a Palm 750 (Win Mobile 6.0) to a BlackBerry 9800 Torch (BOS 6.0), but kept the Telstra sim card. Both give great "phone", although the Palm had better background noise rejection. Overall the Torch browser works really well, and performs heaps better than the Palm, but I do have hardware-specific and site-specific browser gripes.

    Hardware gripes: can't lock the orientation, doesn't remember the how much I zoomed the previous page from the site (so I get to re-zoom every time I load a new page - hello ZDNet!), inconsistent contextual menus.

    Site gripes: endless 'next page' prompts, limited auto-sensing related to orientation and platform, stupid wide-screen format site pushed to a vertical slot phone screen, if I want to choose their 'mobile app' they demand I become a 'subscriber', video push for a 3G connection, pop-up ads (duh!).

    Good sites that get it MOSTLY technically right (orientation and font size auto-sense, single column) include Google News, SMH, Adobe.com. Technically bad sites would include ZDNet, PCAdvisor and the BBC.

    Your mileage may vary according to device and platform.

    Navigating the web on a phone is like driving a car through a mail-slot.

    For some sites I prefer to use the mobile version on my desktop for better speed and simplicity. Safari for eg allows the user agent to be set to a choice of mobile platforms & it's actually quite enjoyable avoiding the clutter sometimes.

    How quickly hardware becomes outdated. Using an iPhone 3GS to load mobile www.google.com and click the more button can take upwards of 10 seconds to render the page. Looks fancy but totally unusable.

    I have a vodafail connection. What I hate most about using it is how consistently it just doesn't bloody work. I expect that Telstra will justify it's exorbitant pricing when I'm outside of primary usage areas - but 99% of my mobile internet usage is done within 5KM of Brisbane's CBD. If I have connectivity more than 60% of the times when I try to use it, I'd be amazed.

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