Tablet browsing experience: 5 aspects with room for improvement

By: Lien Brusselmans

November 8, 2012

social media analytics
social media monitoring
tablet browsing

April 2010. Apple launches the iPad, a tablet computer that turns out to be a great compromise between smartphones and laptops. In September the same year, Samsung launches a similar device: the Galaxy Tab. Soon tablet computers are popping up everywhere: HP, Lenovo, Sony, Dell, … Even Microsoft is entering the tablet world, and has recently launched their own series of tablets: Microsoft Surface.

Tablet users’ touch browsing experience

Over the past two years, tablets have gained more and more success. Some people are even replacing their desktop or laptop with a tablet. Indeed, when you only use your computer for emails, social media, reading newspapers and browsing the web, a tablet is just the thing for you. Maybe the idea that you won’t have a regular keyboard and mouse sounds weird, but most people are actually very enthusiastic about the tablet browsing experience.

However, nothing’s perfect and that’s why we wanted to find out which things still need improvement. With Engagor (our online tool for social media monitoring, analytics and engagement) we started monitoring people’s experience with tablet browsing. We set up a smart keyword search to track everything people say online (on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, etc.) about browsing the web on their tablet computer. We set Engagor to work and after a few weeks we dove into the data to extract some interesting findings.

Top complaints about tablet browsing experience on social media

Our keyword search triggered a huge amount of mentions (tweets, news articles, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc.) about what people think of tablet browsing. As we already indicated, overall users are pleased with touch browsing the web. To find out which negative experiences people shared, we applied a filter to our dataset based on negative words people typically use when frustrated with some technical issue. Eventually, five categories of complaints surfaced: layout & rendering, typing, speed, instability and frustration in general. Examples can be found in the infographic but here’s already a short description of each type of complaint.

  1. Layout & rendering
    Not all websites are compatible with mobile devices. Sometimes a site looks broken or the layout is completely messed up.
  2. Typing
    Typing is another aspect of tablet browsing that’s sometimes rather annoying. Typing on a touchscreen is just not that easy as typing on a real keyboard.
  3. Speed
    Typing is not the only action that’s often slower on mobile devices. A study by Keynote Systems indicates that 60% of the polled tablet users expect websites to load within 3 seconds. And that’s definitely not always the case.
  4. Instability
    We also found many tweets by people annoyed with websites being unstable on tablets. Most heard symptoms here: websites crashing or suddenly freezing.
  5. General frustration
    Finally, we’ve grouped all other complaints under ‘General frustration’. We know this is a vague term but narrowing it down was difficult because many complaints were fairly general.

People loyal to mobile: most complaints sent from tablets and smartphones

Despite these complaints, people are still loyal to their mobile devices. Ironically 76% of all complaints on tablet browsing are sent from mobile devices. Yet if you think this through, it’s actually quite logical. People are browsing on their tablet or smartphone, they come across something that annoys them (slow loading, website crashes, etc.) and instantly share this online from their smartphone or tablet.

iPad still rules tablet world

One final thing we found out, is that iPad still rules the tablet world. We compared how often people talked about Android tablets versus iPads when sharing their tablet browsing experience. Turned out iPad ruled 65% of the conversations we found.

To conclude, I believe we can say there are still some issues to tackle in the development of future tablets. Speed is something that tablet builders are continually improving. Website builders on their end also have a key task here. Typing problems can be fixed by adding external keyboards, but of course this additional hardware makes the lightweight, portable device already much less attractive. Overall, the tablet browsing experience is very good but with some small improvements, it could even be better!