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Study: Mobile Web sites need improvement

A recent study suggests that mobile Web sites need to make improvement to satisfy mobile surfers.

Apple's iPhone has revolutionized Web browsing on a mobile device, but some users of the breakthrough phone are still frustrated with their experience when surfing certain sites, like Yahoo.

Keynote Systems, which provides testing tools to help companies improve their mobile experience, found in a study released Thursday that satisfaction rates of iPhone users using certain sites were low and only a small percentage of users clicked through on advertising. The results suggest that the usability of many mobile Web sites still needs improvement. It also suggests that advertisers might have to adjust their practices on the mobile Web.

Keynote used the iPhone for its study primarily because the phone is designed for Web surfing. And on average iPhone users spend more time surfing the mobile Internet than users of other smartphones.

"The iPhone is a breakthrough mobile smartphone," Dan Richards, senior product manager at Keynote, said in a statement."But our Keynote WebEffective study shows that the user experience of surfing Web sites is not."

As part of the study, more than 75 participants were asked to find an entertainment news story, read it, and search for a story on another specific top and then send that story to a friend. Keynote found that even big Internet brands, which have invested a lot in mobile development did not score exceedingly well in terms of satisfaction. In fact rates were low for both Yahoo, which only scored 51 percent satisfaction, and Fox News, which scored 64 percent satisfaction for their mobile Web sites.

That said, Fox News users were more likely to find the mobile experience to be better than a computer experience. Meanwhile, Yahoo users were more likely to find the mobile experience to be much worse than a computer experience, according to Keynote.

About 60 percent of Yahoo users reported frustration, while only 33 percent of Fox News users were frustrated. Users said they were most frustrated by site errors, cluttered pages, slow Web site speed and excessive scrolling.

The study also found that only four percent of users clicked on advertisements while surfing. And only a quarter of respondents noticed the advertising, but did not click on it. Another major hurdle for mobile Web surfers had to with search. Many users found search on these Web sites to be difficult.