Why do we need website usability?

Any business needs usability because:

  1. Websites are under delivering.
  2. Your competitors are using ease of use as a unique value proposition.
  3. Usability reaps benefits for you as well as your site visitors.

In this article, we will take a look at what some of the business benefits that can be derived from better usability practices.

The First Benefit of Usability: More Potential for ROI
Now that you have gotten the users onto your site, you must convert them from faceless visitors to a lead, or better yet, a sale.  But, before your users convert, they must be able to find what they are looking for on your website. This is a critical concept.  Most businesses will invest primarily in the graphical design elements of a website or new functionality, which isn't necessarily a bad investment (you still want users to have a pleasurable visual experience).  However, the truth is that it does not matter how good your content is, nor how pretty your website looks, or even how cool the new Flash functionality works.  If users cannot find it, it does not exist. If they cannot find it, they cannot convert.

When $25 billion in potential profit is lost every year due to website usability issues (Zona Research, 2001), it seems practical to recommend that usability be a central component in every process of building or redesigning a website.

The Second Benefit of Usability: Reduced Training and Support Costs, Increased Productivity
If employed correctly, the usability process can reduce telephone and email support as well as user training.  One case that comes to mind is that of a login feature that resides on an arbitrary page on your website. The user then has to dig through many links, often with no success in finding what he or she is searching for.  Frustrated, the user calls up a sales representative.  After waiting 10 minutes on the telephone while listening to drab elevator music, the user’s frustration only increases.  After jumping through what seems like a million hoops, the user is finally greeted by the account representative, who then has to guide the user through the sinuous forest of links until finally reaching the destination where the user can log in successfully.  Yes, this exchange can be completed within 1 or 2 minutes of the representative's time, but that time can be better utilized closing deals than supporting customers.  In addition, these few minutes do not include the time it took to train the representative on the operating functions of the company's site.  If a website (or any other product) is easy to use, it will require less training.

The Third Benefit of Usability: Stronger Brand
Another reason to invest in usability is the increased positive brand image. Your brand extends the marketing materials disseminated to your end users; it is also the experience the user has with the people, products, and services of your company.  Your website is a facet of the engaged user experience.  If the user has a negative experience with your website, 58% will not return to the website (Forrester Research).  Moreover, any marketing materials (e.g., email campaigns, newsletters, brochures) later disseminated to the user will also be associated with the negative experience and will ultimately be rejected as spam.  Not to mention the negative ‘word of mouth’ viral marketing that will be generated from just one negative experience.


Source : http://www.businessol.com/

Back to article list