6. Findings - By Category


The Academic category is one of the largest and by itself represents 20% from the total audited sites. Only half of these sites are serving content through HTTPS protocol, however nearly all (95%) of the domains sized content for mobile devices. These predominately University sites are amongst the fastest in the data-set, with almost two thirds (64%) having a sub 10 second time to first interactivity (TTFI) including The Open University and The British Museum.

academic-audit-results-tableNone of the sites in this category has any Progressive Web App-specific features, namely Add to Home Screen or Service Worker installation.



Though one of the smallest categories in the data-set the Automotive category sites were largely (89%) optimised to serve content on mobile viewports. Less than half of this category are using the HTTPS protocol and also performed extremely poorly in terms of site speed. Only 22% of this category managed a sub 10 seconds TTFI, or put the other way, 78% of the UKs top Automotive websites take longer than 10 seconds to get to any interactivity on a mobile 3G experience. The sites that passed the speed audit are Auto Trader and Toyota.

automotive-audit-results-graph automotive-audit-results-tabl

None of the sites in this category has any Progressive Web App-specific features, namely Add to Home Screen or Service Worker installation.


Banking & Financial Services

Another fairly small category this data-set includes significant high street banks and financial services such as RBS and Experian.  It was unexpected to find that this sector performed in the lower half of the categories in terms of HTTPS use, with only 39% using this protocol, or resolving correctly via redirection chains. Examples include the aforementioned RBS and Experian.

Speed is another poor performance area for this sector with just over half (52%) – including HSBC and Bupa – managing to get some interactivity in less than 10 seconds. Most (87%) are serving content sized appropriately for mobile devices.

banking-financial-services-audit-results-graph banking-financial-services-audit-results-tableNone of the sites in this category has any Progressive Web App-specific features, namely the Add to Home Screen or Service Worker. We can see significant applications for push notifications, such as statements, application approvals, finance offers and such; and of course most consumers would add their banking website to their home screen. Perhaps it’s time to consolidate the app/web ecosystem for these banks with a move to Progressive Web App features.


“Digital experience is at the heart of Vodafone’s strategy, especially across mobile where usage increases dramatically each year. We can see that PWAs are the future and have been following their progress, in feature development and cross-platform compatibility. The successful deployment of AMP will support the case for a PWA-AMP development path in our 2018 roadmap.”

Nick Wilsdon, Lead SEO – Group Optimisation Team – Vodafone Group


General Services

The General Services category accounts for 7% of the dataset and whilst a somewhat arbitrary grouping this category contains services such as property, internet and mobile phone services.  Only 50% of the category passed the speed audit criteria with a sub 10 second TTFI though HTTPS adoption rate was more encouraging with 65% preferring the secure protocol. Notable exceptions here are EE, 3 and Vodafone. Whilst some of these sites e.g. Vodafone, do have a secure URL which is the preferred by use of a rel=canonical link element, we have focused the audit around mobile user experience and therefore used the URL specified in the Majestic Million unless it redirects to an HTTPS version. This also reflects the customer experience if typing in the domain without prefix intro a browser address bar.

We recommend wholesale redirection to HTTPS protocol to ensure all users experience this, rather than rely on a canonical link reference which is search engine specific; particularly in light of the Google Mobile First Index (1) expected in 2018.

80% of this category can deliver their content optimised to a mobile viewport.

general-services-audit-results-graph general-services-audit-results-tableNone of the sites in this category has any Progressive Web App-specific features, namely the Add to Home Screen or Service Worker, this included O2, Yahoo! and EE. Again there is significant application for sites in this category to serve push notifications. For property services this could notify site members could be notified when new property matching saved criteria, is available on the site. Push notifications could be really useful for mobile phone services to notify customers of a new bill or special offer.

Source: (1) Mobile First Indexing Announcement


Government & Non-Profit

The Government & Non-Profit category is the largest in the data-set, accounting for just under a quarter of the data. Across this category 87% are serving content optimised for mobile viewports, and more than half (63%) managed to get some interactivity in less than 10 seconds. Additionally this category came second in term of HTTPS use by default, with 78% of sites using the secure protocol.

In terms of the truly progressive features audited, specifically Add to Home Screen, only 1 site in this category was already using this feature; namely the Office of National Statistics at https://www.ons.gov.uk.

government-non-profit-audit-results-graph government-non-profit-audit-results-table

None of the sites installed a Service Worker to enable the advantages of push notifications and other progressive features. This included GOV.UK, The NHS and The National Trust.


News & Media

The second largest category, News & Media represents 20% of the dataset. This category was definitely the most advanced in terms of adoption of best practise for mobile, particularly the national and global media organisations (as opposed to trade and regional media which constitute the bulk of the category) and is the only category that contains sites that can be described as Progressive Web Apps.

news-media-audit-results-graph news-media-audit-results-table

7 of the sites in this group (5%) installed a Service Worker, which are CNet, The Guardian, The Observer The Evening Standard and TES. Just under 1% (1 site) had an Add to Home Screen prompt and is the best example of a Progressive Web App in the UK that we have seen to date and is The Evening Standard.

This category was also the highest scoring when it came to being optimised for mobile viewports, with (96%) serving content for mobile devices.

Only 41% of this category uses HTTPS and only 20% managed a sub 10 second TTFI, so despite performing well in some areas of the audit there’s still significant room to improve the mobile user experience in the News & Media web category.



Here, we find web giants, large high street stores and global brands such as Amazon, Sainsbury and Nike. Despite being a largely ecommerce driven sector we note that this category performed comparatively poorly in terms of UX on mobile devices. Whilst 84% may sound like a high number, this category came third from bottom in terms of mobile content optimisation. 16% including, Adidas, Next and Ticketmaster, are therefore missing significant commercial opportunity.

retail-audit-results-graph retail-audit-results-tableIn addition these sites performed poorly in terms of speed to interactivity, which is critical for a purchase. Only 33% managed to get any interactivity in less than 10 seconds on a 3G connection. This means missed opportunity.


Travel & Leisure

Whilst the Travel & Leisure category is one of the smaller categories in the data-set at 3% of the data; here we find some of the largest most familiar consumer travel brands; including Airbnb, Expedia and Cheapflights. Long since established and transacting online this category performed well in terms of content-to-screen suitability with 94% being optimised for mobile viewports; though a disappointing result in terms of speed for companies like Marriott and Network Rail as less than half (48%) managed a sub 10 second TTFI.

At time of writing this category does contain a site that installs a service worker, namely Airbnb.

travel-leisure-audit-results-graph travel-leisure-audit-results-table

Download the PDF Tweet