To finish up our Design for Mobile Commerce series, I asked four of my colleagues to participate in a brief survey of mobile retail sites. Our goal with this survey was to investigate actual user experience and functionality on mobile devices. Not what the top 10 or 20 retailers are doing, but what happens when someone has a need and tries to meet that need on their mobile device.
To that end, I gave each of us a task to accomplish on a specific site and a short list of questions about the process. We’ll publish one survey every day this week.
When I started this series, I thought responsive design was the way to go, hands down. After conducting multiple interviews and reading through the results of this survey, I’m less enthusiastic. Read on to see why.
What is your task today?
Choose and buy a backpack.
Did you accomplish it? How easy was it?
Yes, but it was frustrating. The site was very slow to load, and every time I went back to the main search page it started from the top so I had to scroll down to find my spot. The three filters offered were of very limited value. And, site navigation was sort of lengthy. Maybe I just don’t like Burton‘s branding, but I’d rather see straightforward categories and better filtering features.
The checkout process was pretty simple. The site let me check out without registering first and showed me where I was in the process.
Did you do anything else on the website?
I looked for (and found) shipping information. The shipping information is a bit confusing and inconsistent. I also read through Burton’s customer service section (which they irritatingly call “rider services”).
Do you think this site is responsive, mobile-specific, or something else? Why?
Responsive. It has identical content to the desktop version.
If you had reason to, would you use this website again, or go to a competitor?
I’d probably comparison shop on other websites and maybe use Burton’s desktop site if I knew I wanted one of their backpacks. But I would not browse their site from a mobile device again.
What device did you use?
Conclusion: Responsive design is slow and sometimes unwieldy.