September 10, 2012 | JJ Cramer

A Difference of Experience: Tablets vs. PCs, Part 2


Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter

A few weeks ago in part one of this two-part series, I talked about why tablets should be considered and measured as a mobile device even though some people are adamant about not doing so.

Since tablet users are sent to a company’s full (PC) version of its website, people in the organization think it should be considered a non-mobile touch. As I discussed in very general terms in the first post in this series, this is wrong. Here are some very specific reasons tablet should be considered a mobile and not a PC experience.

First of all, tablets share more mobile than PC characteristics.  Qualities such as touch-based medium (single touch and multi-touch usage), portability, integrated cameras, video recording, voice-activated commands (I can’t tell my PC to fetch the TPS reports from last week), location awareness, motion sensory, orientation control by the user, different form factor environments and technology differences.  The list goes on.

Such qualities inherently make tablets a unique mobile experience that must be measured separately of a PC web measurement.  The following highlights why these mobile device capabilities necessitate separate measures for mobile users even if the site being served is a desktop site:

  • New Use Cases of Mobile Access – tablet/mobile portability gives rise to new use cases that require different custom questions (CQs) and potential alterations to model questions. There’s in-store browsing and “show rooming” with a mobile device; there’s armchair (couch) commerce from the comfort of your living room, and co-content consumption where visitors are watching a show on television while surfing the show’s website at the same time. And then there’s’ Shazam. Oh, Shazam. Like that song that Chrysler uses in the latest commercial, or the tune used to promo Modern Family, but don’t know who it is? Whip out your Shazam – app that is – and find out. Can’t do that with your PC, can you?
  • Tablet screen sizes vary the site’s usability experience – the Kindle Fire and iPad create two totally different usability experiences; the smaller screen environment requires your small screen tablet users to pinch in and out to use any navigational components (see screen shot comparisons: can you even read the links on the Kindle Fire screen?).



  • Survey Length and presentation – Web surveys are longer and often times not suitable for a mobile experience. The presentation is also different – one is designed for mouse clicks and the mobile is specifically designed to be touch-friendly.
  • Orientation Preferences – tablet users have control of orientation and this adds a new dimension to their usability experience.  I prefer landscape web view for iPad, but portrait view for my Kindle Fire. To better measure the user experience, specific CQs can be designed to probe how orientation impacts satisfaction and helps highlights what is working and pinpoints what isn’t so you can better focus your resources to improve the experience for better ROI.
  • Technology Differences – The mobile environment requires separate implementation and involves a different user interface UI for the site visitor. Technology differences can also alter other aspects of the mobile or tablet experience depending on your site.
  • Expectation Differences – Customer expectations of how your site (mobile or otherwise) will service them are rapidly increasing.  I now expect location awareness to minimize my search tasks or store location access; site navigation WITHOUT pinching; and to actually tap a link and have it work. And, sites with excessive content below the fold in landscape view are especially frustrating from a customer’s perspective.

These types of expectations require a customizable measurement technology that will help you understand your mobile audience accurately and effectively and will drive more actionable results to help you adjust your digital strategy for the impact mobile is having on your customer experience.

You cannot manage what you do not measure. We say that a lot, right? Well it’s for good reason. If you fail to measure the mobile experience – and, yes, tablet IS mobile – the right way with the right technology, you’ll end up managing backward, not forward to success.

Categories: ForeSee Products

About the Author

As ForeSee’s Director of Sales, Mobile, JJ Cramer contributes to the development of institutional knowledge about the mobile customer experience, influences product innovation for ForeSee’s mobile solutions, and collaborates with ForeSee’s sales team to support clients. JJ has over 10 years of experience in digital research and is an expert in online custom research and customer analysis. JJ holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree from Springfield College. He is a former professional tennis player and has been with ForeSee since 2010.

More by this author


Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter