Having done an amount of cell phone research lately, I’ve had the not-so-pleasant experience of seeing the level of quality of certain cell phone vendor web sites. Therefore, I’d like to compare Nokia vs. Sony Ericsson.
When I see a web site used as a base for all the different national web sites for a company, spread out through the world and where getting information about and selling the product is key, there are some criteria I think must be met:
- It must be accessible to as many people as possible.
- You should always be able to navigate around in the web site.
- By making information more accessible, it will also result in a better search engine ranking.
Web sites tested
I decided to test the UK version of Nokia and the UK version of Sony Ericsson against the above mentioned measurements. Naturally, a test could be a lot more detailed than what I am about to show you, but I think it gives you a hint of the technical level and how the rest of the web sites probably are implemented.
Analyzing the results
After having tested the two pages for both respective companies, let’s run it by my three points of quality I mentioned in the beginning.
1. It must be accessible to as many people as possible.
Why it really matters
Nokia: pass. Sony Ericsson: failed.
2. You should always be able to navigate around in the web site.
Nokia: pass. Sony Ericsson: failed.
3. By making information more accessible, it will also result in a better search engine ranking.
Why this is interesting from a search engine ranking perspective, making it even more important from a business standpoint, is that when there’s almost no proper internal linking going on in a web site, and fewer elements to find text in and virtually no proper and semantically marked-up code, it will affect the search results.
I took the liberty by searching on Google for one each of the companies’ products, together with the word “specifications” (on Google.com; local variations may apply). The results, literally, are as follows:
As you can see, a Nokia web page is result number one, just as expected.
To prove above established point, Sony Ericsson fails to gain the first position, and isn’t actually found until the fourth place, surpassed by CNET and GSMArena.
So, again: Nokia: pass. Sony Ericsson: failed.
Another thing which I thought I’d mention, but is a little bit our of the scope for this article, is that, for both companies, by using Flash for their products pages, it raises some usability concerns:
- The Flash with the available cell phones has a fixed height, which makes it far less than optimal in the web browser window; the height should naturally be adapted to its environment.
- A native scrolling method is introduced in the Flash, where the result is both a small local scroll instead of just the page scroll, and also that the scroll wheel doesn’t work for any of them.
- If I for instance want to open three product detail pages in different tabs, it’s impossible. In their choice of Flash as a technology, they have crippled my normal web surfing behavior, with a “we think we know what work flow is best for you”-attitude.
There are lots of other things which could, and probably deserve to, be dissected when it comes to these web sites and factors such as truly accessible and semantically correct code, HTML validation errors, performance etc, but let’s leave that for now.
I think what this shows is that the overconfidence in Flash is very much still out there. And please, let me point out that I have no problem with using Flash, but given the usability and accessibility challenges offered, why go down that road if it doesn’t really offer any heightened end user experience? Just use the right tool for the job, really.
The Flash in the Sony Ericsson web site states, for every page load:
There’s a lot to load, but it’s worth the wait
In your case, it’d say it’s not worth it, neither for you as a business nor your end users.
Therefore, I strongly urge any Web Developer out there to seriously take accessibility into concern, and to anyone ordering a web site from a company, demand that this crucial factor is seen to.