ITV has been adding more video content to its mobile service recently, as well as promoting it between TV programmes.

With this in mind, I decided to take a look at the site and compare it with the BBC’s offering, which was upgraded earlier this year…

ITV Mobile

ITV’s mobile site offers news and weather, details on ITV’s programming, as well as features on the broadcaster’s TV shows. It also offers a range of chargeable downloads, including ringtones, wallpapers, games and videos.

A mobile site needs to be relatively basic as many people are accessing on small screens when they are out and about, have to pay more according to how much they download, and don’t want to have to waste time on navigation and page loading.

The homepage on ITV Mobile doesn’t really help these users much:

ITV Mobile homepage

I’m viewing the site on an iPhone with a decent size screen. With other handsets though, more than half of the screen would be taken up by the banner and ads, which means more time spent scrolling.

ITV mobile menu

Also, many articles are split over one or more pages, which means more time spent loading new pages.

I  was hoping to review some of the video content on the ITV Mobile site, but found that every piece of video content on the site could not be viewed on my phone, with no explanation for the problem, despite searching through the help and FAQs sections for an answer.

Which means I can’t get my recap of Coronation Street…

Overall, the site is very basic in appearance, and doesn’t seem to have a lot of content on offer. In fact, the Mirror’s mobile site, advertised on ITV Mobile, does a much better job:

Mirror mobile site

The site’s usability is poor, especially when it comes to navigation. There is no link back to the homepage from some sections, and news and sport articles are not categorised to make it easy to move around.

For instance, news stories appear in a long list, not separated by UK, World, local news, and so on.

More irritating is the fact the ITV diverts me to the mobile version of its website, even when I try to access it through the iPhone’s Safari browser. 

BBC Mobile 

The BBC homepage also fills much of the screen with an image, rather than showing the menu and news headlines. As with ITV Mobile, this picture would take up a large portion of the screen on some mobiles.

BBC Mobile homepage

Below the pictures though, the top stories are displayed and the BBC has done a far better job of categorising content, making it easier to scan the page and find the section you want:

BBC Mobile menu

One other thing it has over the ITV mobile site is that the links stand out more, making them easier to find and click on.  

Articles aren’t split into multiple pages as on ITV, meaning less page load time, something which can be crucial on mobiles. The breadcrumb trail at the top of the page also makes it easier to navigate back to other sections of the site.

BBC Mobile article

Conclusion

As well as being a better visual experience, the BBC Mobile site is more user friendly and easy to navigate than ITV’s effort. Better still, I’m not forced to use the mobile site on the iPhone, though, for finding headlines or football scores, it is quicker than the Safari version.

Thanks to the superior user experience, as well as the fact that ITV’s video content didn’t work on my phone, this is a fight the BBC wins easily…

My Twitter page can be found

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Related articles:

Fight Club: BBC iPlayer vs ITV’s Video Player 
Mobile app review: eBay for iPhone

Related research:

Mobile Internet Roundtable Briefing – June 2008 (free)