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Usability Testing

 Collaborative design What is Usability? Read what the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) describes as usability.

Here are some interesting statistics regarding the rapid growth of the internet for sales and marketing:
  • For 2010, E-commerce order volumes rose on CyberMonday according to a major payment processing company. However, average order sales were significantly down. There are some indications that higher traffic volume may not be a sign of higher spending, but rather an indication that people are investing more time in hunting for coupons, discounts, and other deals. Site usability becomes even more critical to capture higher sales volume.
  • Thirty-three percent (33%) of users think that if a company has a top ranking on a search engine, then it is a leader in its field.
  • Online sales for the week ending Dec. 26, 2004 were up 58% over the previous years period. Online transactions were up 43%. A total increase of 88% was observed over the total 2004 holiday period.
  • US internet purchases rose 23.1% in Q2 from the same 3 month period last year to $15.7 billion. The increase compares with a 28.1% rise in sales transaction in the 1st quarter. Source: Commerce Department.
  • Ad buyers continue to use the internet to promote their goods and services. Third quarter '03 web expense was 20% above 2002's 3rd quarter and 5% higher than Q2, 2003. This demonstrates that the basic foundations of interactive advertising are built on a solid business model, says Tom Hyland, PWC New Media Group chair. Having a solid web site will drive your web revenue higher.
Based on these statistics, think of the benefit (ROI) from having a more effective site with the minor expense of a usability review.

Usability is the "state" where a visitor can come to your site, easily accomplish what they came to do, learn something new and want to return. Ideally, they will also tell a friend about the experience.

Usability Testing consists of a number of different methodologies used to identify aspects of a web site that will yield frustration and a negative impression to the visitor. Once identified, the site can then be modified to eliminate the problem areas. Some of these tests are quick and easy, while others are lengthy and complicated. Each approach is effective in determining areas of a site causing visitor confusion.

Benefits for testing? Improved usability ultimately will yield a higher rate of return (ROI) for the site. Visitors will complete the key processes (registration, shopping cart, etc.). The visitor will accomplish what they came to the site originally for, and will return as the experience they had was positive.

  • What is the benefit of increasing sales a few percentage points?
  • What's the value of knowing who your customers are and what they are thinking as they leave your site?
  • How about increasing the number of visitors who complete a data collection form?
Is this knowledge worth the cost of a usability study? This becomes an easy question to answer - you can't afford NOT to!

Well designed web sites build brand loyalty by providing a more satisfying experience. Many people use the web for research. For those who do their research and buy, they are most likey to return for future research and purchase.

Methods for Usability Testing include:

  • Inspections - quick, simple reviews of a site performed by one or more usability analysts.
  • Reviews - scenario tests performed by a varying number of participants facilitated by a usability analyst.
  • Surveys - automated pop up surveys completed by site visitors on an opt-in basis. Captures information about the visitor's demographics, purpose for visiting the site, and site exit perceptions.

Read Jakob Nielsen's latest document regarding the ROI for Site Usability . Jakob is the leading Usability industry expert. Visit useit.com - the web site of Jakob Nielsen.

Contact eFFECTIVE Web Sites for more information about how we can make your site more effective.

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