Tablet Proliferation Requires That Automotive Manufacturers Design Sites for Audiences with Multiple Devices

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WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 1 August 2012 — Tablet proliferation requires that automotive manufacturers consider how they will meet the needs of both desktop and tablet users. Many manufacturers integrate tablet-friendly layouts on their desktop sites to meet the needs of both groups of new-vehicle shoppers, contributing to the increase in overall satisfaction with manufacturer websites, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Manufacturer Website Evaluation StudySM (MWES)--Wave 2 released today.

The semiannual study, now in its 13th year, measures the usefulness of automotive manufacturer websites during the new-vehicle shopping process by examining four key measures (in order of importance): information/content, navigation, appearance, and speed.

Wave 2 of the study finds that a higher percentage of new-vehicle shoppers now own tablets than in January, when the first wave of the 2012 study was released (35% vs. 20%, respectively), indicating a shift in the way shoppers consume information found on the Internet. However, OEMs are trying to meet the needs of both desktop and tablet shoppers, often utilizing a single site. As more new-vehicle shoppers use tablets, their expectations continue to change, making it increasingly important that OEMs incorporate navigational elements to help these shoppers use their websites, regardless of the type of device used.  

"Many websites have introduced content in a layout that places information below the illusory fold, so when loading the webpage, visitors must scroll more to get to that content. While this is acceptable to tablet users, it can be frustrating for desktop users," said Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power and Associates. "Many of the highest-ranking websites execute this tablet-friendly design with floating menus, providing shoppers on either a desktop or a tablet with quick and easy access to any content throughout the website."

Overall satisfaction with the usefulness of automotive brand websites has increased 46 points to an average of 818 (on a 1,000-point scale) in Wave 2 of the 2012 study from Wave 1. The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation StudySM released in May 2012 showed a similar increase of 37 index points in overall satisfaction from 2011, a further indication of the marketplace changes that are driving higher satisfaction. Other marketplace changes contributing to increased satisfaction scores include shoppers using newer browser versions and automotive manufacturers that have made technical adjustments to their site, which improves shoppers' perception of website speed.

The study finds that whether manufacturer websites have undergone a full redesign or made incremental changes, many of the most improved websites utilize the following best practices for both desktop and tablet users:

  • Higher contrast in navigational elements, including clearer buttons
  • Larger text and less clutter, which increases readability
  • Easier access to tools important to the shopper

The Dodge brand website ranks highest in overall satisfaction with a score of 847. The website also significantly improves in satisfaction in all factors from Wave 1.  Rounding out the top five highest-ranked automotive websites are: Mercedes-Benz (846); Porsche (843); Jeep (838); and Lexus and smart in a tie (836).

The 2012 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study--Wave 2 is based on evaluations from more than 10,000 new-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months. The study was fielded from May to June 2012.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at

Media Relations Contacts:

John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218;
Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103;

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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates.

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