What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today, a study from Google (conducted by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger, independent market research firms) which surveyed 1,088 US adult smartphone Internet users in July 2012, has nothing especially revealing or controversial in their particular findings. What’s more interesting about the study is the data about features and capabilities that people want from mobile sites, including some specific things by vertical.

We all know from considerable past research that mobile users don’t like to be frustrated by sites and user experiences that aren’t optimized for mobile. Google’s survey findings reinforce this:

  • 72 percent of users said that mobile-friendly sites were important to them; however 96 percent had encountered sites that were not
  • 74 percent of respondents said they’re more likely to revisit mobile-friendly sites
  • A majority of users (67 percent) are more likely to buy or convert after a visit to a mobile-friendly site, while the opposite is also true of a non-mobile-friendly site: 61 percent say they’ll “move on”
  • 55 percent said a frustrating experience on a (mobile) website would hurt the perception of the brand

Users expect mobile websites to load in under five seconds according to the survey findings. However even five seconds is a long time. The general proposition is: the faster the better.

The survey also found that smartphone owners want the ability to take action when on a mobile website. The preceding chart shows the hierarchy of actions that mobile users consider to be important. It’s interesting that 53 percent said “download an app.” There are several things implied by this answer, but it suggests high demand for apps overall.

The following graphic drills down on specific design and usability elements that people want from mobile sites.

The survey explores several verticals and corresponding mobile user behaviors. Below are the “most important tasks” users want to be able to perform or accomplish on mobile websites in Travel:

  • Check flight status: 78 percent
  • Get directions or operating hours: 74 percent
  • Check in for a flight or confirm a reservation: 69 percent
  • Find a business location: 65 percent
  • Log in to an account: 64 percent
  • Search for flight times, hotels, car rentals: 63 percent
  • Find a phone number or email address: 57 percent

There were also a number of activities that users were less inclined to perform on mobile devices in each of these categories. However, what this study makes clear is that mobile user sophistication is growing quickly and expectations of mobile sites are also rising. As the survey indicates, marketers and brands that fail to keep pace with those expectations will suffer accordingly.