Well, according to a benchmark study from QuBit, O2 offers the best all-round experience of the mobile network operators.
Meanwhile, newly-formed EE has some catching up to do, according to the study, which analyses the sites for five different criteria (find, choose, buy, personalise, and mobile).
I’ve been looking at the study, and here I’ve picked out some examples of good and bad practice…
Summary of results
Here’s the summary, showing a clear lead by O2, and an impressive 100% for its mobile site. It’s also important to note that the T-Mobile and Orange brands are being phased out as they combine to become EE.
This section looks at visual appeal and ease of navigation, with Three the star of the show on 95% and Orange the dunce of the class on 58%.
This is thanks to a very cluttered homepage which seemingly tries to squeeze everything in, yet makes it harder to find for users to find what they want.
The EE homepage is also a big improvement on Orange, so lessons have perhaps been learned there.
Compare this to Three, which is a model of simplicity. A nice big search box, and clear navigation options.
Along with O2, Three also uses breadcrumb trails to aid navigation for users.
While Orange and Vodafone don’t use predictive site search, the rest do. Here’s a good example from Three. Note that it displays results from the support section too.
O2 loses marks on this section. For one thing, its site search box is way too subtle. Almost like it wants to hide it…
Here, things like presentation of search results and filtering options help users to narrow down their choices to those products which suit their needs and budget.
O2’s search refinement options are quite poor, and don’t do much to help the customer:
Compare this to Three’s results page. It is visually appealing, separates product and support results, and much more useful. It still lacks filters though, as do most of the sites.
This section looks at basket summary pages and checkout processes.
Here, O2 provides a useful summary of content, charges, delivery times and payment options on its basket page:
It also encloses the checkout process to remove distractions from users and concentrate minds on entering address and payment details:
All of the sites studied insist that users register before they checkout, which is a proven barrier to purchase.
There’s something quite ironic about mobile network sites which sell internet enabled phones not having a responsive or mobile site. Orange and T-mobile don’t, but the others do.
O2 was the best performer here with a mobile site that is fast, well laid out any easy to use.
O2 rated the highest overall, though it does have room for improvement, especially for site search and its checkout registration.
In general, though they are improving, I think the mobile network’s sites could learn from the ecommerce sites of retailers.
With multiple choices around phones, storage capacity, different tariffs etc, there is perhaps a greater challenge in presenting options to customers, but there is certainly room for improvement.