News Apps Come Out On Top in Groundbreaking App Usability Study

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News and Media Apps have topped the first ever App benchmark study from eDigitalResearch, assessing the usability and customer journey across almost 50 of the most popular mobile Apps across a variety of categories.

The Sky Sports News App rated highest overall with a top score of 89.9%. Feedback shows that users found the App simple and easy to use with clearly presented menus and navigational links. They particularly liked the range of additional features, including direct links to live television and radio streams.

Derek Eccelston, Research Director at eDigitalResearch, explains, “As the Apps market continues to grow at an alarming pace, it is essential that companies and brands understand what users expect from such applications before investing time and money. Our results show that Apps must offer an element of added usability to consumers, or enhance the user experience as a whole. Apps which rated lowest with shoppers were those that simply used the App as a portal to mobile sites, social networking pages or standard websites, missing a huge opportunity to connect with users and build long-lasting relationships”.

The study, which looked exclusively at the functionality of Apps available on the Apple platform, found that Apps must have a purpose and clear function, and not simply used as a ‘must have accessory’ by brands. Results indicate that users are more satisfied with Apps that had an apparent advantage of accessing information through a smart device by integrating mobile features, such as location based services.

Home service Apps, such as British Gas and O2 also performed particularly well in the study, providing useful features such as meter readings, account information and search facilities, as well as a clearly thought-out design and layout. Retailers Amazon and Debenhams also made it into the top tier of the table, offering users the ability to buy from a full range of products, as well as extra benefits, such as Amazon’s integrated barcode scanner.

In comparison, ‘directories and guides’ was the lowest performing category as users became increasingly frustrated with slow to load pages and very limited capabilities. Flight Apps did not perform well, often being criticised for not providing pricing information or booking functions, and generally offering less features than standard web pages.

Derek continues, “The continued development of smart devices is facilitating a major change in consumer habits and expectations. Our previous benchmarking results have shown that consumers nowadays expect the same brand experience, regardless of the channel they are using; whether that is online, in-store, or on their mobile. Our first ever App benchmark shows that users also expect the same consistent brand messages to be mirrored in Apps, allowing companies to enhance customer relationships and connect with shoppers wherever they are.

Understandably, knowledge of customer’s expectations of Apps is still reasonably limited. The App benchmark report highlights some key areas for improvement to help bring the overall App industry in-line with other eDigitalResearch benchmark industry standards”.

Download the App benchmark report, which includes the full league tables, by completing this short survey: Alternatively, for full access to all of eDigitalResearch’s benchmark studies, sign up or log in to the benchmark area of the website;

For further information, contact Lisa Bonczyk on 01489 772920, or email:

An eMysteryShopper survey was conducted to compare the customer journey of 46 UK Apps available on the Apple App platform via an Apple smart device. The fieldwork was carried out using the eMysteryShopper Panel of internet users during March and April 2011. Depending on the nature of the App, the benchmark measures included:

  •     Introduction
  •     Rating features
  •     Product information
  •     Range
  •     Shopping basket
  •     Overall experience

About eMysteryShopper:

  •     eDigitalResearch has been undertaking ‘end to end’ eMysteryShopper surveys on the top UK Internet retail sites since Christmas 2000.
  •     With its in-depth research it can benchmark and plot the development of retail websites over the last ten years.
  •     As a result it has an unprecedented level of knowledge, expertise and research data covering the development of some of the top UK internet retail sites.
  •     eMysteryShopper (eMS) provides in-depth and structured study of website usability, functionality, supporting logistics and customer service through our unique panel of profiled UK Internet users. Working under strict Non Disclosure Agreements these profiled individuals are paid to complete ‘end to end’ surveys on selected websites.
  •     eDigitalResearch currently works with over 10,000 profiled UK eMysteryShoppers (surveyors) carrying out end to end usability studies on over 55 sites at any one time. Surveyors all complete strict assessment criteria and operate under stringent quality control and ongoing survey moderation.
  •     eDigitalResearch has the largest ‘norms’ database across the retail sector and is able to offer clients and the market a unique view of what ecommerce shoppers are looking for from an eRetail site.

About eDigitalResearch:
eDigitalResearch is a leading provider of digital market research, enabling customers to make critical business decisions with the benefit of comprehensive consumer insight and informed direction. eDigitalResearch possesses a unique combination of research expertise, marketing background, web technology and knowledge of the cross-channel consumer. As well as providing invaluable research data, the modules of our fully integrated research system - ratings, surveys, panels, communities and forums - can combine to provide holistic analytics and essential market-leading insight. This gives our clients the power, confidence and backup to make crucial decisions on key aspects of their business including product range, marketing, customer service, supply chain, even basic positioning.


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Lisa Bonczyk
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