September 24, 2003

12 Click Rule for Mobile Sites?

Just read this bit about a usability study of mobile web portals and as one who does not believe in the "three click rule" for web sites, I question the validity of the "12 click rule" for mobile. I DO however buy into the fact that more clicks is bad all other things being equal:
"The situation is rather acute with the average portal click-distance (number of clicks/menus to arrive at the desired content) is in excess of 16 and often greater than 20. Moreover the number of mobile services that are within the critical click-distance of 12 (believed to be the point at which users loose interest) is, on average, less than 36%!’

"The Plight of the Mobile Navigator makes it clear that the success of the mobile Internet is at a critical juncture. Smyth argues ‘Unless usability is treated as a priority it is very hard to see how mobile service usage will increase –an issue the industry at large requires to happen"

Mobile Metrix is a company focusing on the Mobile Internet. In their coverage of the "Plight of the Mobile Navigator" report they say:

"Two years ago, a report from Norman Nielsen Group examined WAP Usability. That analysis documented the results of a WAP user survey based on a series of timed information tasks such as locating a news article, a weather report or TV listings. The survey results highlighted the usability problems that existed then with current 2G WAP services, with users taking an average of 120-150 seconds to locate target content across the various studies.

"The survey participants of Nielsen Norman report indicated that, to be genuinely useful, mobile portals must be able to bring content to users within approximately 30 seconds. In other words, mobile content services that are more than 30 seconds from the portal homepage are unlikely to attract regular users.

"That analysis was conducted in December 2000. Two years later based on the results of an analysis undertake by ChangingWorlds the situation does not seem to have improved."

According to ChangingWorlds' CTO in an article called "The Missing Link - User-Experience and Incremental Revenue Generation on the Mobile Internet":
"Every second saved on navigation time creates an additional three seconds of content-viewing time," Smyth suggests, meaning that mobile operators would be well advised to start channeling bigger percentages of their portal-development budgets to usability and away from snazzy content that might never be viewed. Achieving the balance between the offer of stimulating content and easy access is the challenge."