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Why you should care about usability?

"Our site is fine. We paid a huge amount to one top design house to make our site and it looks great. We never get any emails complaining about it, so why spend any more money now?"

Just because no-one has complained about your site doesn't mean that it's working to its maximum effectiveness - few people can be bothered to compose an email to the webmaster unless you have outraged them in some way.
Unless you have a unique and unmissable product or service, visitors who find problems with your site will silently disappear, and may well go on to look for a competitor's site instead. If they do it better than you, you have lost a sale.
If you annoy visitors because you don't provide information or a service that they need, you may lose their trust, and custom, for ever. Just think about your real life experiences of surfing to confirm this!

More than window dressing

You may be very happy with the appearance and functionality of your site. But have you tested it using people who have the same characteristics as your customers? Did you even sit down to analyze who would be using the site and what information they might need? Have you tried accessing it over a slow modem connection in the afternoon when America gets to work? These and many other considerations must be taken into account for a usable site.
Many site designers are just that - they have a wonderful eye for design, a love of the latest technology, and a natural desire to impress clients. But all too many have no real understanding of information architecture or usability. Your site may hide a confusing structure and poor navigability under a glossy surface, or be so stuffed with gizmos and flashing graphics that visitors give up in despair.
Because you may have been closely involved with the design process, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Using an outsider can help to bring a fresh and impartial view to the site.
The web is no place for complacency, although if you read these case studies, you will see that even big companies in the web business can get it wrong - and how!

You have probably spent a lot of money and effort getting your web site to where it is now. Unless you are convinced it is the best it could be, you should consider spending a small sum on our services to ensure you are making the most of this valuable asset.

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Last modified on 27 june 2004

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