As on-line business and iTV forges new markets the message has become clear, if people can’t use a site, they won’t use it.
Usability, a science born out of military research to improve pilot reaction time has been applied to the Internet and now iTV. Guiding real users through the process, usability specialists pinpoint the faults that could lead to a business faltering or even failing.
In one case, a large on-line retailer presented users with a box to input their credit card, British credit cards feature 4 simple sets of 4 numbers… but when users pressed the space bar to simulate the spacing; the computer rejected their number, with no explanation. The increase in revenue after having this mistake pointed out to them and remedied was over 50%. Other mistakes are often even more damaging.
The return on investment for usability can be as much as 800%
The scientific process we use to garner these results recognises most of the sites major flaws within a very short space of time.
With clients such as MTV, BSkyB, Debenhams William Hill and a host of the largest financial institutions (which are still under NDA) our system strips bare the usual bargain basement form of usability practiced in-house at web agencies.
At less than a year old, the company has already established itself as one of the leading lights in a revolution to master the foggy seas of internet usage.
In the coming weeks The Usability Company will be undertaking tests of online banking services, comparing them with traditional offline banks on the net, buying travel insurance online and Christmas shopping in a Website world.
These tests throw up some enlightening results, in past cases 6 out of 8 companies featured acted on the results… even if some test subjects offer only the slightest bit of advice:
“Oh, I like the Marks and Spencer site! Because my mum shops there!”
Paul – An IT consultant
Grant McQuattie Campbell is co-founder and Head of Research for The Usability Company, he publishes a monthly newsletter available through the company website: www.theusabilitycompany.com he and members of the company are available for comment on any subjects relating to Human Computer Interaction. in the following fields: Internet, Intranet, iTV, Wireless and software.
The Usability Company
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