Equation Research recently came out with a report analyzing user expectations for the mobile Web. Their graphic is a well-illustrated visual of the issues that a mobile Web site owner faces when developing a site. In short, poor performance results in users dropping and less likely to return or recommend a site.
While the conclusion may not be surprising, it’s the survey numbers that are worth noting. Interestingly, nearly three-quarters of mobile phone users expect Web sites to load as quickly on their phones as they have on their desktops. When it doesn’t meet expectations – they drop. And 74 percent will only wait five seconds for the page to load.
How does the problem get resolved? It’s true that network congestion and factors outside a developer’s control can be an issue, but there’s a lot within control to be a major influence on the user experience. It’s time to stop putting the blame on wireless carriers for having poor coverage or an old network. It’s pointless as the carrier in turn puts blame on their governments for not releasing enough spectrum or to YouTube for hogging an amazing 22 percent of the pipe.
Performance is often neglected during development and design, with most of the attention going to UI and feature capabilities in the mobile device. Yet these numbers from Equation Research tell a different story – build a poorly performing site and you may not have many users, regardless of your features. The good news is that it’s not necessarily a trade-off between speed and function. With the right architectural approach, a high-performing, feature-rich mobile site is certainly possible. Even on an older wireless network;even in poor coverage areas. It’s time to stop blaming the network. Seventy-seven percent of the top companies with 5+ second response times need to start redesigning their mobile sites!