Mobile Web users prefer mobile version over standard Web

- EN - DE
Mobile Web users prefer mobile version over standard Web

Mobile versions of websites are very popular - but are rarely offered. This is the result of a study by the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, which shows that Austria’s mobile Internet surfers clearly prefer websites that are specially optimized for cell phones. This study result also has European implications: As Austrians in the EU are pioneers in mobile surfing, their preferences also allow conclusions to be drawn about the future usage behavior of other EU citizens.

Surfing online on a cell phone is "in". But how exactly do Austrians use the mobile web and which websites are actually available to them - this has now been investigated in a study by the Institute for Media Informatics at the St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences.

The study clearly shows that cell phone users prefer to access mobile versions of websites - i.e. websites that are optimized for cell phone use. This preference is evident even though the latest cell phones are already so technically advanced that in principle it would now also be possible to view "normal" websites without any problems. However, the "mobile web" offers advantages such as direct access to certain menu items on a website in a screen size adapted to the cell phone. This user preference for mobile web versions is precarious against the background of another study result: many websites do not currently meet the needs of cell phone surfers and do not offer a mobile version - this includes in particular the majority of the websites of Austria’s top 100 companies. The study thus shows the need for more mobile versions of websites.


Project manager FH-Prof. Grischa Schmiedl sheds light on the specific findings of the study data: "Among the top 50 most visited websites from Austria, the situation doesn’t look too bad. 82% of these offer one or more mobile versions. However, only 32% of the next 50 listed websites do. However, it is particularly striking that only six of Austria’s top 100 companies, as determined by the Trend Magazine ranking, offer a mobile version of their website. We see potential for improvement here. After all, Austrians like to browse the internet on their cell phones and prefer to use mobile-optimized sites. After all, our field experiment also showed that users are 30 - 40 % faster there than on normal websites."


According to the study, the following Austrian "type" particularly enjoys using the mobile web: the average mobile web user is currently male, technically interested and educated and between 20 and 29 years old. However, this average type is likely to become significantly younger in the future - because more and more schoolchildren are also using Internet-enabled cell phones. Cell phone surfers are primarily interested in current and general information, as FH-Prof. Schmiedl explains: "70% of those surveyed currently use the cell phone Internet to find out about current events or to get the information they need quickly. This includes, for example, calling up news, timetables or weather information as well as using online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia. A further 17% are primarily interested in entertainment, search for music and videos and 13% use social networks such as Facebook while on the move.

The basis for the study results is an innovative mix of methods - personal surveys as well as user tests and website analyses were used. Although these were primarily applied with a focus on Austria, the study also has implications for Europe as a whole: the reason for this is that Austrians are among the most active users of cell phones in the EU and therefore play a pioneering role. The preferences of Austrians with regard to the mobile Internet therefore also allow conclusions to be drawn about future usage behavior in other EU countries. It can already be expected that, in addition to Austrians, more and more EU citizens will acquire a taste for cell phone surfing due to falling usage fees - and then, as the study by St. Pölten UAS shows, there will be an even greater need for mobile versions of websites.

Publication: Mobile Phone Web Browsing - A Study on Usage and Usability of the Mobile Web, Grischa Schmiedl, Markus Seidl, Klaus Temper, MobileHCI’09 Germany, ACM 978-1-60558-281-8.

Translation by myScience