June 23, 2008, 12:00 AM

If more mobile phone users get smart, use of the mobile web will increase

Mobile web experiences should be designed not just for devices but for users’ desires; and more users desiring smartphones will help boost the mobile web, a mobile technology expert says.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Mobile phones are everywhere: 73% of U.S. adults carry one, according to Forrester Research Inc. And a growing number of these consumers, around 15%, use their devices to access the mobile web.

To be successful, mobile web sites must conform not just to the devices but to the desires of the devices’ owners, says Vidya L. Drego, an analyst who specializes in mobile technology at Forrester Research. She spoke at a session titled “The Shopping Device in Your Hand: The Consumer Interface” during the M-commerce Workshop at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition this month in Chicago.

“Mobile offerings should be designed for the mobile context, and mobile inherently refers to the user,” Drego said. “The user is the center of the experience, the user is the one who is mobile.”

43% of mobile phone users with access to the mobile web say it is useful and 30% say it is a valuable addition to their lives, Forrester Research says. Those numbers will increase as more mobile phone users invest in devices best suited to access the mobile web, Drego said.

“Use of smartphones to access the mobile web is at 26% and growing, but it’s not quite there yet. Smartphones are devices capable of really delivering the richest experience of the mobile web,” she said. “Complaints about the mobile web are coming from people using conventional mobile phones.”

Common complaints about the mobile web can be addressed by smartphones. Of mobile phone users with access to the mobile web, according to Forrester Research, 45% said they would use the mobile web more if their phones had a larger screen, and 39% said they would use it more if their phones had a keyboard.

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