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Study Reveals How Advertising and Voice Improve Mobile Search Experience
Posted: 21-Aug-2007 [Source: Usable Products Company]

[Study shows mobile search users favored ad-supported mobile search and rated voice search higher than text search.]

New York -- Usable Products Company recently completed an independent user experience benchmark on Mobile Search. Eighty participants evaluated three text-based and one voice-enabled mobile search solution resulting in several unexpected insights about the preferences of today's mobile search users. Researchers were surprised that 79% of participants favored advertising-supported mobile search, and 37% felt that banner ads actually enhanced the mobile search user experience. Paid and sponsored text based ads proved most detrimental to user experience.

Also unexpected was that participants initially predicted voice search would be the most difficult to use but after an hour of usage gave it higher ratings than text search. According to Scott Weiss, president of Usable Products, "Users predicted voice search would be the worst of the four search products, but in final usability, it performed better than expected. We were surprised that participants enjoyed voice search, and how much more they liked it than searching via phone keypad."

"Mobile search is in its early stages, with many opportunities for improvement. While participants averaged an impressive 88 percent success rate in submitting mobile search queries, only 53 percent found relevant results. Participants who found what they were looking for averaged 143 seconds to submit queries and find answers," said Weiss. "None of the four search solutions was a clear winner. Our researchers have developed 25 Best Practices, which if followed, are likely to dramatically increase user satisfaction in mobile phone searches."

The four mobile search solutions benchmarked were: InfoSpace WAP, JumpTap Java (Alltel Axcess Search), Nuance Voice Control, and Yahoo! Go. Participants each used a single mobile search product to check a horoscope, weather, a stock quote, find a restaurant, check a sports score, and find a ring tone. Success, time to complete, and user perceptions were tracked. 20 one-hour usability interviews were conducted for each search product.

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