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Is anyone listening to the Usability drum?

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because we're still beating it and singing usability advice songs!

 

http://www.microenterprisejournal.com/arti...e/20030804.html

 

Sites Still Have The Same Usability Problems

 

Forrester has been doing web site reviews for the past few years, testing for usability and grading test sites on specific site characteristics. Grades for each characteristic range from +2 (strong pass) to -2 (strong failure), with maximum and minimum possible scores of +50 and -50. 

 

In their latest review of some 375 web sites, Forrester found that site managers still had quite a lot of work to do. The average score was a dismal -1.5. Retail sites scored best among industry sectors, but their average score was only 3.6. B2B sites did pretty poorly at -4.5, and telecomm services brought up the rear with an average score of -5.6. 

 

That's pretty bad. In fact, the tone of this particular brief might be summed up with the question: Why do we still have to tell you people this stuff? 

 

The top three problems for the sites tested were poor search function, lack of customer service content written into the site content, and poor home page navigational links.

 

Read more, or better yet, email it to your boss and clients :wink:

 

Kim

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Read more, or better yet, email it to your boss and clients

I've found usability testing to be a hard thing to sell primarily because it's tough to quantify the potential gains from improved usability in advance. There are also turf battles between graphic designers, marketing departments, and usability consultants.

 

I think one hinderance to improved usability is the lack of case studies published regarding increased revenues through improved site usability. That's not something businesses are going to scream from the roof tops.

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Welcome to the cre8asite forums haystack,

 

I'm a little curious as to what you might think about Bruce Tognazzini's latest article, which he called "the most important column I have ever written."

 

On the surface, it's a call for a name change, but could it amount ot more than that?

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one hinderance to improved usability is the lack of case studies published regarding increased revenues through improved site usability

 

Spot on.

 

While it might be nice to have a usable site, is it profitable? If so, show it.

 

Tracking completed desirable actions before/after might be both a good case study and marketing strategy for usability. Assign a monetary value to a completed action and use split run testing. Pull site "testers" from AdWords ads.

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OK,

 

I forgot to add the URL for the Tog article. Here it is:

 

http://www.asktog.com/columns/057ItsTimeWe...GotRespect.html

 

 

Case studies?

 

You Think Tomaytoes, I Think Tomahtoes

 

A case study involving usability and Bay Network's intranet estimated to be saving them $10 million per year.

 

 

IBM's redesign took ten weeks, and involved millions in cost, and:

 

As the redesign neared completion in February, IBM consciously held off on promoting the Web site, so it could gauge the effectiveness of the new design. The result: In the first week after the redesign, use of the "help" button decreased 84 percent, while sales increased 400 percent.

 

Some good examples, rather than full case studies, but worth reading about, in this article:

 

Usability Is Next to Profitability

 

That's the tip of the iceberg. Usability practitioners are aware of how to write case studies. There's a world wide web filled with them.

 

 

 

As I wrote above, the sites that integrate usability test intelligently do so early on in development, when the cost of making changes is considerably cheaper. ROI can be difficult to measure in that instance.

 

See this thread, from about a week or so ago:

 

What is the Return on Investment (ROI) for usability?

http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/forums/inde...?showtopic=3068

 

As Kim wrote there:

 

When people notice a downturn in sales, they start thinking in terms of the user experience. That's too late. (But great for me!) The time to be thinking about the end-user is during the design phase and all those meeting with stakeholders and developers.

 

As for the Forrester study, it would be great to see the whole thing.

 

My suspicion is that when they measured how effective or ineffective a site's seach function was, they gave a site a negative score for not having a search function. I'm not convinced that all sites need search.

 

Will it be confirmed?

 

Here's the report:

 

Web Sites Continue To Fail The Usability Test

http://www.forrester.com/ER/Research/Brief...7,17226,00.html

 

Note that there's a registration process that I decided wasn't something I wanted to do. It's a more detailed process than what I went through last year to pay my taxes. I couldn't take it and abandoned the site before I registered as a guest.

 

If you're willing to go through the process of registration, the report is free.

<edit -- fixed a couple of typos>

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In the same way some web designers design without search engines in mind, some designers design without usability in mind. By the time the client reslises it's important they've spent their money - and are reluctant to spend more.

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