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Introducing the Mobile Experience Scorecard

Posted on Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, Mobile


In the last year, there has been a dramatic increase in smartphone adoption.  According to research from MarketingCharts.com, smartphone traffic increased 125% between the first half of 2012 and the first half of 2013, greatly exceeding a 12% increase on desktops during the same time period. It is now more important than ever for businesses to make their websites mobile friendly.  While Google provides a variety of information to help marketers and web developers improve their mobile-readiness, it can still prove difficult to evaluate the quality of a site’s mobile experience.

Recently, The Search Agency created the Mobile Experience Scorecard to allow marketers to benchmark their mobile sites against industry standards and Google guidelines. The scorecard assigns a mobile readiness score to each site based on five factors including: load speed, site format, calculated download speed, social media, and apps.  Weightings for each category are based on industry best practices along with Google’s recommendations, which include using Responsive Web Design (RWD) to render mobile sites and minimizing load speeds to 1 second.  The final score, based on objective and subjective expert criteria, reflects the overall quality of the website’s mobile experience.

Through a defined methodology, The Search Agency’s Mobile Experience Scorecard can be applied to any mobile site.

  • Perform a Google search for each company (e.g. “Citigroup”) on a mobile device to find the mobile URL.
  • Enter the mobile URL from the previous step into Google’s mobile site testing tool to record the mobile site’s load speed.  For each site, enter the URL into the tool twice and take the average of the two speeds provided.
  • Use mobiReady’s mobile readiness tool to determine the size (in kilobytes) of each mobile homepage. Divide the size (kb) by the speed (seconds) determined in the previous step to get the calculated download speed.
  • Manually visit each site’s homepage on a mobile device to determine:
  • The format of the site: did it a) use responsive web design, b) use a dedicated mobile site, or c) simply display the desktop site?
    • Responsive Web Design: load each website in a desktop browser and grab the bottom right corner of the browser to manipulate the dimensions – the site uses RWD if the content changes its configuration as the dimensions change.
    • Dedicated mobile site: load each website on both a desktop and smartphone – the site uses a dedicated mobile site if the homepage differs on the mobile device AND the site does not use responsive web design (as outlined in the previous step).  Dedicated mobile sites may or may not use the same URL as the desktop site.
    • Desktop site: load each website on both a desktop and smartphone – the homepage is the same on both devices.
  • The site’s social media presence: did the homepage include any links to the company’s social media profiles?
  • The site app presence: did the homepage offer any apps?
  • Assign points out of 5 for each of the 5 criteria:  load speed, site format, calculated download speed, social media presence, and app presence. (see table below)


Load Speed

Weighted 41%

Site Format

Weighted 26%

Calculated Download Speed

Weighted 18%

Social Media Presence

Weighted 10%

App Presence

Weighted 5%


Under 1 second


Over 200 kb/s

At least 3 social media buttons (large) Apple store app download prompted; navigates to app store


1-2 seconds

Dedicated Mobile Site

100-200 kb/s

At least 1 social media button (large) Prominent button to download app


2-3 seconds

50-100 kb/s

At least 3 social media buttons (zoom to see) Link to app download


3-4 seconds

10-50 kb/s

At least 1 social media button (zoom to see)


4-5 seconds

Under 10kb/s

Link to social media, without button Link for tablet app


Over 5 seconds

Desktop Version

Did not have social media links or buttons No evidence of app on site

The Search Agency’s Mobile Experience Scorecard can help marketers and web developers assess their mobile readiness and determine where improvements are needed. A more detailed report will be available shortly.

Until then, check out our white papers on Responsive Web Design and Mobile Paid Search.

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One Response to “Introducing the Mobile Experience Scorecard”

  1. Barbara says:

    I think the scorecard is great to evaluate the technical aspects of the site (load, usability, etc.) but as marketers, the evaluation process can’t end there. It is critical that marketers remember to think about their consumer: where and when they will consume the mobile experience. For example, a reduced form (for lead gen) may still be too much if the typical mobile user is looking for a quick way to provide info. Is an email address enough during that experience to capture that user and reconnect later? Must a full form be completed? The saturation of mobile requires a higher level of thought as to what the user experience is as they move through your mobile site. The challenge is on…


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