Survey suggests most Japanese smartphone users couldn’t care less about mobile sites

By Andrew Miller

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that smartphones and mobile technology in general have changed our lives in ways that we might never have imagined even 10 years ago. Communication between people on either side of the globe has become almost instant, with a wealth of information quite literally at our fingertips, and we now have more processing power in our back pockets than the PCs that took up most of our desks in the late '90s.

But is it possible that we are becoming a little too obsessed with making our data-loving life as streamlined as possible? What we’re talking about here are the mobile versions of websites that users are often redirected to when trying to visit a website on their smartphones. Often, these smartphone-friendly sites help us navigate more easily and avoid having to pinch to zoom or pan around the screen to read their contents. But due to their simplicity, many mobile versions lack many of the features of their PC-version brethren and we spend time trying to find what we really want.

A survey conducted by Kenrei Takuchi, CEO and Management Consultant for Iroha Ltd, suggests that a significant number of smartphone users in Japan have a fond dislike of the mobile versions of popular websites and wish they’d disappear back up into the sky where they came from.

The survey was conducted to celebrate the release of a revised version of Kenrei’s book “Things That Sell and Things That Don’t” and asked 100 smartphone users whether they thought the sites designed specifically for smartphones were really needed.

Users were asked, “Which type of site do you find easier to navigate: PC sites or mobile sites?” To which 39% responded that they preferred mobile sites. A whopping 45% of users said that they preferred the standard PC site, though, while 16% said that they were fine with either type of site design. That said, 60% of those surveyed felt that mobile sites offered few advantages.

Another question that was posed was, “Have you ever, as a result of not being able to read the screen properly, had to switch between site formats (from PC site to mobile site, or vice versa)?” Only 29% of users said that they have ever felt the need to switch to a mobile site while browsing. However, in line with the consensus that mobile sites don’t really yield any benefits, 63% replied that they had switched from smartphone to PC sites while browsing.

While I’m sure that many mobile sites have advantages in given circumstances, I can personally relate to the overwhelming majority of this survey’s view that it can sometimes be much easier to just view the original PC site rather than work with the limited information given to us through mobile sites.

Source: My Navi Woman

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I kind of wondered this myself (however, I use a tablet with a 7 inch screen and not a smartphone). But pretty much I go for the regular PC site over the mobile sites and unless there are some FLASH elements my tablet works just fine with it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Surprisingly market penetration of smart phones in tech-crazy Japan is only 25%, the lowest in the developed world. Not only do people skip mobile sites, they skip smart phones completely. I have a conventional cell phone (ゲラケイ), and it is fine. They have everything you really need.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They sometimes omit stuff on the mobile sites. I want to know I'm getting all the information. If I have a choice I use the pc site.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hate most of the mobile sites, and in fact find it infuriating on sites that you canNOT change. Amazon is a prime, infuriating example. A lot of the news and/or choices are limited on mobile sites.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JT is a good example. If the phone tries to force me to the mobile site, I'm outta there in a hurry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think this is universal. People don't want to sacrifice usability for navigability.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@gokai_wo_maneku Your data is old. As of November 2012 it was at 40%, and just going up, probably even higher now...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I like the mobile sites as it is much easier to read and navigate around. If i cannot find the info on the mobile site, I will go ahead and check the PC site, but for basic functions, I really like the mobile sites. This includes 3rd party email, banking applications, and restaurant guides, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In general though, most Japanese sites are terribly designed anyway. A scrolling mess of colors and text with very little thought given to layout or user experience. The mobile versions look even worse.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Magnet, are you sure? This magazine is a great working site and example. I see that the Japanese sites are somehow kinder. Just look at the "Back to top" function. I don't want to put down the forefathers and the very creators of the world wide web, but I just basically know just either American or Japanese things; and man, how tiring it is to navigate around American sites. You don't get "Back to top". This mag, if you check out some poster's suggested youtube info, and when you come back, it even scrolls down to where you were. Monkey likes that.

Monkey doesn't know much, anyway. Phones are for calling and photos. Where's that banana?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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