I've just received a fantastic piece of marketing from EpiServer titled "What Consumers Want From Digital News Publishers". The white paper benchmarks 12 of the UKs leading news publishers, according to the ABCs: National dailies, March 2013, against a set of criteria, including web site mobile performance, for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
According to the white paper "Speed is the most vital aspect, with 41% of mobile users expecting a fast load time on a news site. Unfortunately however, 49% cited slow loading times as the most common problem they encounter when browsing on mobile". Here at 51Degrees.mobi we couldn't agree more. Performance was therefore important to the benchmark criteria.
I want to find out if there are common techniques used by the top ranked news publishers to deliver optimum mobile experiences. I used Google to search for the publication and load the top page Google returned. I measured the results for both iOS and a standard Chrome desktop browser. The following table shows the total initial page size in kb and the number of separate HTTP requests made by the browser. Most mobile devices aren't good at fetching many more than 4 HTTP items simultaneously. I've also included the EpiServer overall ranking and finally a column indicating the technique used to improve performance on mobile if any.
|News Publisher||Page Size (kb)||Requests||Page Size (kb)||Requests||EpiServer Overall (%)||Mobile Technique|
|The Guardian||2,867||224||849||51||87||Device Detection|
|The Independent||4,710||404||641||93||82||Device Detection|
|Daily Record||1,843||284||396||39||80||Device Detection|
|Daily Telegraph||2,355||174||424||40||79||Device Detection|
|Daily Mirror||2,253||220||491||49||78||Device Detection|
|The Sun||1,847||374||473||38||64||Device Detection|
Note: I'm not sure why I can't find a mobile optimised site for The Independent which stands out as scoring highly but doesn't offer an optimised mobile experience. Anyone? Looks like this was an error on my part relating to cache clearing and I've updated the table to reflect the device detection method used.
All the news publishers that offered an optimum experience to mobile users used server side device detection techniques. They averaged a massive 2.3 1.9mb reduction in initial page weight compared to their big screen counter parts.
The great news for EpiServer customers, and 18 other Content Management Systems (CMS), is that 51Degrees.mobi can deliver this server side device detection capability to your web site today. Forward thinking CMS like SiteCore, DotNetNuke, Ingenuix and Kentico have all built this support into their products.