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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
10 Apr 2013

Here is the second part of our report on at-last-digested feedback from our recent brief survey of your wishes. See also Part 1. More to come.

We asked for feedback about the two versions of the site that are available on hand-held devices: mobile-friendly or the same as the desktop version.

Nearly 48% of our 1,582 respondents said they never looked at on mobile devices (even though according to Google Analytics about 15% of all visits to the site are via a mobile device).

Exactly 26% of respondents said they accessed the mobile-friendly version of the site on their mobiles while almost exactly the same number said they accessed the desktop version on their mobile devices, yet the comments that some of them added suggested that in fact they were talking about accessing the desktop version on their desktops (ie they did not in fact use a mobile device). Our fault for not wording the question more precisely.

Nevertheless, some of the comments were very useful as they were effectively constructive criticisms of the mobile-friendly version of our site. We append the most notable.

A full 471 of our 1,528 respondents (before we closed the survey - fearful we would never have time to analyse the results) took the trouble to write in an answer to the question 'Are there any specific ways we could improve the mobile version of' for which we thank you very much, even though by far the majority of respondents simply told us that they either didn't use it or were quite happy with it as it is.

A worrying number of people said they didn't know the mobile-friendly version of the site existed. One person even suggested we charge extra for it, while another suggested we make more mention of it on the desktop version. Thanks for alerting us to this shortfall in our communication. We are definitely guilty of thinking that once we publish an article about something, such as this alert to the mobile version last September, everyone automatically knows about it.

There were quite a few wistful references by respondents to their age and lack of expertise with mobile devices such as (we have not edited responses):
Ask more younger people! I am over 50 and find websites on mobiles beyond my limit of bother.....
Too old to comment
Sadly I am too white haired to use mobile devices for this purpose, not for that matter do I need to

There were others explicit in their dislike of this method of accessing the site:
Do not use mobile devices for such an important subject - I like to read in comfort!
At this moment in time I have no intention of getting hooked on mobile devices reading about wine!
I rarely access anything from my mobile device due to the punitive pricing plans of my local provider, so please do not make this the default option for everyone.
I've no interest in accessing the pages on a mobile device; I have a life.
I do not have a smart phone, not even a dim one.

Of specific suggestions, by far the most common - from 12 out of the 471, though only 0.7% of all respondents - was the suggestion that we create an app or specific iPad-friendly version:
Any thoughts about a JR app?
More detail for ipad
Introduce an App. for Android as well as iPad. Apple is losing ground!
Please make a iPhone and iPad app!!!!
perhaps an app for iphone for easier use?
Make it more user-friendly for mobile devices which vary enormously I know but perhaps have a concise version for these (eg phones) or an App as stated above for iPads/Android tablets.
Make it easier to use on my iPhone and iPad.
Create an app
An iPhone app would be great.
App for a charge could be useful.
Make an app for first glance.
Produce it as an app more tailored to a 4-inch screen (iPhone size) rather as the Wine Soc does.
Clearly there is an app-etite (NB pun of Hemming order) for this; we just have to work out a way to produce it for less than the rather frightening sums so far quoted to us. Apps work for big companies that can lose their set-up costs in big marketing budgets.

The next most common suggestion - 5 out of 471 comments - was for a better search function on the mobile version of, specifically the tasting notes search:
More content and more search options for tasting notes.
Better search function
Tasting notes search box on front page - apologies if it's there and I've missed it!
Make searching for wines easier
Be great to know if there was a way to actually do the tasting notes search on the mobile version of the website without having to revert to desktop version.
We will certainly look at ways of making tasting notes search easier on the mobile-friendly version of the site, although I'm surprised by how easy it is to use on the desktop version even on a Blackberry, I must say.

Then four respondents mentioned navigation, one of them having trouble with logging in, which we think is probably a problem specific to the person since we have not had this complaint from anyone else (do use the Contact button below to seek personal help with this problem):
Have more options in the page so that there aren't a lot of steps to find what you search.
Try to make it easy for people to see what they want, don't let the software decide and take over...
Better navigation
I hate having to login! I would prefer an App, perhaps something like the AppleInsider does. One doesn't have to login to apps, generally, and you can set preferences, (see above), and you can get push notifications! Then I would read/interact more with Purple Pages.

Another four respondents specifically requested access to the forum on the mobile version of the site - although since this is fed through off-the-peg software, this may unfortunately be beyond our capability:
Have more available on the mobile site - ie if I want to access the forum I have to click through to the main site.
I cant see how to read forum posts; is this not available, if so, you should try to add it!
Add access to the forum for mobile devices.
Adding the forum?

Two respondents had cunning suggestions for tailor-made SMSs though there were different…:
Alert members by SMS if you find a great bargain wine
I have an old-fashioned mobile, but you could consider sending SMS with breaking news!

Then two respondents (but only two) missed the Oxford Companion to Wine on their mobiles:
Access to the OCW
Build in Oxford Companion

Another two seemed to experience difficulties with compatibility with specific hardware:
Improve system stability and compatibility with difference devices on different operating systems
Compatability with the Nokia E55 seems to be an issue

And finally there were three assorted specific comments such as one might expect out of all these responses:
A special section from the bargain basement, similar to the wine of the week you used to list in the FT, which the mobile entered first, only thereafter presenting navigation to your huge site.
I find the screens for mobiles make navigation a challenge so tend to limit myself to desktop for most of the site. The only service I would like to use more "on the move" is the tasting notes
I looked for the instant expert section, briefly, but could not find it. User error?

Thank you all very much indeed for all this constructive feedback which we will fully digest. Next up, a similar detailed look at the even more numerous (786) comments in answer to the question 'How can we improve