Special Offer: There is a special offer available to mobile operators and portals to have their portal analysed by the author of this report using the methodology detailed in the report. This will enable direct comparisons with the benchmarks identified in the report. This is available Free of Charge to those mobile operators and portals that buy this report. You will be contacted via email after your order has been processed. Introduction to the report We have all heard it before, over a billion mobile phone users and more internet users thus a great market for mobile internet. The initial results from the implementation by DoCoMo in Japan have suggested that the need for such services and the consumption by consumers is high. However as the saying goes "Rome was not built in a day" and the market for mobile internet is far from the giddy heights often suggested by companies and analysts alike. One of the critical issues is to ensure that the mobile services offered to consumers not only meet their expectations and needs but are also presented in a manner that they find easy to use. We generally find that while there may be a lot of attention given to the content of a mobile portal there is frequently less if any attention given to service and portal usability. It is believed by the author that while the services and their quality are the vital issue, without the portal having features that render it usable, the business opportunity will in fact be missed. Hence the subject of this report is mobile portal usability. The report is very detailed in its analysis of mobile portal usability and uses a methodology developed by the author to analyse portal usability. The primary basis for analysis is click-distance. Click-distance (also written "click distance") is the number of clicks (menu options and menu navigation) that a user must traverse from the portal entry point before locating specific information. Basically the greater the click distance the more difficult it is for the consumer to find a service. There are many subtleties that are used to analysis portal usability from the click distance perspective all of which are included in the report. While the analysis may be rather technical the conclusions make for compelling reading and a definitive call to action for any mobile portal wishing to improve its chances of business success. The author is not only an expert in portal usability but is also the founder and C To of a company that works extensively on mobile portal usability issues providing software solutions to assist with portal usability. This involvement in the mobile portal industry is what led the author to undertake this research. The result of his research is not just presented in this report but has also led to the development of a product called ClixSmart that assists in the alleviation of many of the mobile portal navigation problems. This means that not only is the research contained in this report impartial but it has already been implemented and used by the author. The target audience for this report is primarily those responsible for mobile portal usability. This report is intended to inform these people about the current leaders in portal usability and benchmarks and thus enable them to improve their own current position with regards to mobile portal usability. The report provides a unique and fresh perspective on the situation with regards to mobile portal usability. The data collected from 20 European mobile portals provides the basis for all the analysis contained in the report. About the author: Professor Barry Smyth - Chief Technical Officer Graduated top of class with a BSc (hons) in computer science from NUI, Dublin in 1990 and with a PhD in computer Science from TCD in 1996. From 1991 to 1995 Prof Smyth worked as a research scientist with Hitachi Ltd in the area of Intelligent Systems. In 1995 he joined the Department of Computer Science in NUI, Dublin as a Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence, where he was recently appointed Professor of Computer Science. Prof Smyth is one of the foremost authorities on personalization in the international arena, bringing with him a unique blend of practical and research experience. Key career highlights include: o Co-founder of ChangingWorlds Ltd. In 1999 o 12 years experience in the development of artificial intelligence technologies. o Established and developed a world-class research group on Intelligent Internet Systems in NUI, Dublin, attracting approximately 20 researchers (at BSc, MSc, and PhD levels) since 1995, and approximately £1m in research funding. o Authored and published over 90 scientific papers in the leading conferences and journals in the field of computer science and artificial intelligence. o Won numerous international awards since 1992 including awards from The British Computer Society (BCS), the American Association of Artificial Intelligence (Aaai), British Telecom, the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence and the Irish Software Association. o Strong technology and R& D management experience and successful track record in the technology sector. SHOW LESS READ MORE >
1 Executive Summary
3 Mobile Internet Growth
4 Elements of Portal Usability
4.1 The 30-Second Rule
4.1 Content Elements
4.2 Infrastructure Elements
4.3 Navigation Elements
5 Navigation & Click-Distance
5.1 The Click-Distance Model of Navigation
5.2 Click-Distance Metrics
5.3 Content Density
6 A Click-Distance Analysis
6.1 Analysis Methodology
6.2 Summary Results
6.3 Portal Structure Results
6.4 Click-Distance Results
6.5 Usage Boundary Results
6.6 Click-Distance Winners
7 Usability Impact Analysis
7.1 Navigation Time
7.2 Session Failures
7.3 Expected Visits
8 Summary of Findings
9 Portal Design Recommendations
9.1 Selective Positioning
9.2 Dynamic Personalization
Summary of the analysis of the 19 portals studied
A Background to Portal Usability
Studies indicate that the average user will tolerate an average navigation time of about 30 seconds to reach the content services such as email or games that are used on a regular and extended basis. However our findings show that mobile portals today are suffering from a number of structural problems that lead to portals that are either too wide or too deep, and that ultimately results in the end-user having to spend significantly more than 30 seconds to reach a large amount of the portals content.
In this report, a new metric, click-distance, has been devised to enable efficient analysis of portal usability from a consumer perspective. The click-distance of a content service refers to the number of menu selects and scrolls that the user must make in order to locate it from the portal home page. We have established that 30 seconds corresponds to a click-distance of 12. A second measure we have established is the maximum acceptable click-distance for content services designed to attract high-volume usage. These services, which include traffic updates and news, tend to be accessed regularly and frequently and is the type of information users require to be at their finger-tips.
Our analysis suggests that the maximum acceptable clickdistance for these services is approximately half of the critical click-distance, that is, a click-distance of 6.
A Comprehensive Portal Usability Analysis
This report, for the first time, focuses on a comprehensive analysis of portal usability from a navigation perspective. It introduces a number of key portal usability and navigation metrics as a means of evaluating the usability of a given mobile portal. In particular, the report introduces the click-distance model of navigation effort, which makes it possible to evaluate the degree of effort that a user is required to invest in any given mobile portal in order to locate and access a given content service.
The report includes a comprehensive usability analysis of 19 European mobile portals (including mobile operator and independent portals) from regions including, Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Denmark, Italy, and the Czech Republic.
This analysis highlights key usability problems that exist with the current generation of mobile portals, and their implications in terms of expected usage and user satisfaction. In addition the report describes a number of strategies for overcoming these problems in order to provide mobile users with a greatly enhanced online experience.
The report includes provides vital information on key usability factors across all portal analyzed, including:
A detailed portal structure analysis focusing on the match/mismatch between portal structure and mobile handset capability.
A detailed click-distance analysis documenting how many ‘clicks’ a user is typically faced with in order to locate relevant content.
A detailed navigation-time analysis documenting how long users take navigating to content the portals analyzed.
A detailed analysis, portal by portal, of how many content sites are sufficiently easy for users to access to promote regular and high-volume usage.
The average portal has a click-distance 40% above the maximum recommended level of 12.
Approximately 65% of content is placed too far away from the portal homepage to encourage usage.
Based on click-distance analysis over 20% of user sessions end in failed session.
Portal usability directly affects ARPU and if managed correctly can be used to improve ARPU by up to 20%.
A detailed analysis, portal by portal, of how usability and navigation problems can lead to failed sessions, sessions where users fail to locate any relevant content.
Portal Design Strategies
In addition the report describes how portal operators can better design and structure their mobile portals so as to offer users a greatly improved online experience, focusing in particular on:
Optimal strategies for the design of high-value, highvolume mobile portals.
Strategies for adapting existing portals for greater usability without the need for additional IT investment.
Strategies for releasing the true value of existing content services by positioning services within a portal structure for high-volume and regular-usage access.
Two design philosophies are found to account for 70% of portals, deep and narrow versus shallow and wide. The alternative is for a portal to be deep and wide - which is shown to be a very difficult design to manage from a usability perspective and thus usage.
Since most Operator portals are deep and wide they have increased difficulty in managing the usability of their portals. This reduces the success rate for portal usage for operators – an issue that portal usability management can address.
Who Should Read This Report?
This report contains mission critical information related to the design, implementation and on-going management of mobile portals. It is especially targeted at the following reader-groups:
Mobile operators and portal operators needing to better understand and assess the usability characteristics of their own portals.
Mobile operators and portal operators currently developing (re-developing) or planning to develop portals for the mobile market.
Experts and consultants in the Mobile Internet space with a requirement to better understand the usability problem and its solutions.
Application and content providers needing to better understand the impact of their services and menu structure can have on service and portal usability.
Special offer available to mobile operators and portals who can have a free usability analysis on their portal. The results of which can be compared to those contained in the report and other relevant benchmarks.