Tablet Owners’ Content and Experience Preferences When Browsing the Web

January 30, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Mobile Phone | Retail & E-Commerce | Tablet | Word of Mouth

Usablenet-Tablet-Browsing-Experience-Preferences-Jan2014A new study [download page] from Usablenet finds that the majority of tablet users surveyed in the US and UK generally want the websites they visit on tablets to have the same content they see on desktops, but with the experience adapted for the tablet screen. Respondents to the survey also seem clear cut on one issue: fewer than 1 in 10 want an experience similar to the smartphone but on a bigger screen.

Interestingly, while on the whole, respondents want websites adapted for the tablet screen, more respondents wanted the content and experience to match the desktop site (~30%) than the experience to be designed for the touch screen (~15%).

The results don’t necessarily mean that tablet users want exactly the same experience as they get when browsing on a desktop; after all only about 3 in 10 chose that option, and that was matched by the proportion that want a similar experience to the desktop but adapted for the tablet screen. But a decent share appear to just want an experience that is fast and easy (18% in the US; 12% in the UK), suggesting that for some, user experience takes a backseat to utility.

While respondents may differ on what experience they prefer, they do appear to want the same content as they get on a desktop site. Most top retailers seem to understand that: a recent study from Radware of the top 100 US retail sites found that 94% of the sites serve the full site to the iPad, with the remainder offering full-site access. Those numbers were different for Android tablets, although the option to see the full content was mostly available: 69% of the sites serve the full site to these tablets, while 28% offer full-site access and the remaining 3% confine the experience to a mobile site.

For their part, the 86 retailers also interviewed by Usablenet for its study tend to believe that customers want a browsing experience consistent with the desktop yet optimized for tablet (61%), rather than an experience similar to the smartphone (28%) or one that is simply fast and convenient (10%).

Getting it right is important: 77% of respondents said that a poor or unsatisfying experience when trying to use a website on a tablet would affect their willingness to buy from the site. Two-thirds said that an unsatisfying experience would affect their willingness to recommend the brand to friends and family. These types of reactions by mobile owners are fairly well established at this point.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 671 tablet users, split almost equally between the US and the UK.

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