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Top Statistics for Cost-Justifying web Usability

1. "It's quite normal for e-commerce sites to increase sales by 100% or more as a result of usability, but configurator-driven sites can probably increase sales by at least 500% by emphasizing usability. More important, they can probably avoid 9 of 10 returns by eliminating most mis-designed items ( a 1000% improvement of the error rate metric)

2. In Jared Spool's study of 15 large commercial sites users could only find information 42 per cent of the time even though they were taken to the correct home page before they were given the test tasks.
A study from Zona Research found that 62 per cent of web shoppers have given up looking for the item they wanted to buy online (and 20 per cent had given up more than three times during a two-month period)
Forrester Research audited 20 major sites, finding 51 per cent compliance with simple web usability principles such as "is the site organized by user goals?" and "does a search list retrievals in order of relevance?" (in other words, the average site violated half of these simple design principles).

3. 42 per cent of sites either didn't have an e-mail response system, or took longer than 5 days to respond .

4. Estimates of cost of bad web design:
Loss of approximately 50 per cent of the potential sales from the site as people can't find stuff.
Losing repeat visits form 40 per cent of the users who do not return to a site when their first visit resulted in a negative experience.

5. A recent study by internet research firm Zona Research Inc. found that even the most loyal internet users are having a hard time shopping online, with 28 per cent of the 239 internet savvy users reporting difficulties in finding products and services. Zona also found that 20 per cent said they had given up at least three different times while shopping on the web, with 39 per cent reporting they have decided either not to buy online or to do their shopping elsewhere - with catalogs and brick and mortar stores the big winners.

6. On IBM's website, the most popular feature was the search function, because the site was difficult to navigate. The second most popular feature was the "help" button, because the search technology was so ineffective. IBM's solution was a 10-week effort to redesign the site, which involved more than 100 employees at a cost estimated "in the millions." The result: In the first week after the redesign, use of the "help" button decreased 84 per cent, while sales increased 400 per cent.

7. "Internet start-ups typically spend 300 times as much money on advertising as they spend on usability. As a result, many of these new sites will fail to keep their users and will not grow into long-term successes. VCs should question the budget allocation of their portfolio companies and refuse to waste money on sites that don't have a thorough usability process in place."

8. On a corporate intranet, poor usability means poor employee productivity; usability guru Jakob Nielsen estimates that any investment in making an intranet easier to use can pay off by a factor of 10 or more, especially at large companies.

9. Web users generally prefer writing that is concise, easy to scan, and objective (rather than promotional) in style, research has shown. We incorporated these and other attributes into a redesign of web content. Doing so required trade-offs and some hard decisions, but the results were positive. The rewritten website scored 159 per cent higher than the original in measured usability. Compared with original-site users, users of the rewritten site reported higher subjective satisfaction and performed better in terms of task time, task errors, and memory.

10. Poor customer experiences will have a devastating effect on holiday revenues, even with the most conservative estimates. Given an estimated $9.5 billion in holiday spending despite a 39 per cent failure rate, the industry stands to lose over $6 billion.

11. New York, December 18 - Although the absolute number of online bankers grew 100,000 to a total of 6.3 million in the past 12 months, 3.1 million U.S. adults have discontinued their use of online banking according to Cybercitizen Finance from Cyber Dialogue. The study also found that only 35 per cent of online bankers that discontinued their service were inclined to try it again.

12. Although Cybercitizens begin banking online to save time, more than 50 per cent have discontinued use because they find the service too complicated or were dissatisfied with the level of customer service," said Michael Weiksner, Manager of Finance Strategies at Cyber Dialogue.

13. Over the last year online banking has attracted 6.3 million users, but a massive 3.1 million of those have closed their accounts already due to poor website design and inefficient service.
14. Without a doubt , as web markets become increasingly competitive, website ease of use will become a way to stand out from the crowd.
From Forrester study of 25 sites:
15. Half the time we couldn't find enough information to make a purchase decision. For example, a service company claimed to be affordable but did not provide prices. We didn't know whether to believe the company and couldn't compare it with others. The result? Frustrated customers move on.

16. Usability metric from real life: across six corporate websites, the measured success rate was only 26 per cent when prospective job applicants were asked to find a job opening that was suitable for them and apply for it on the site.

17. While internet sales continue to soar, recent surveys from companies that advise e-commerce merchants put the number of "abandoned shopping carts" at between 27 per cent and 66 per cent.

18. Most sites will waste between $1.5M and $2.1M on redesigns next year . Why? Designers are engaged in an endless cycle of overhauls that don't fix their problems. Their goals of achieving fast performance and consistent look and feel are directionally correct but miss out on at least 20 other more specific usability objectives. And since ease of use is not measured, flaws go undetected.

19. A report by Creative Good showed that 39 per cent of test shoppers failed in their buying attempts because sites were too difficult to navigate. Additionally, 56 per cent of search attempts failed.
To hammer home its point, Creative Good offered the striking revelation that a dollar spent on advertising during the last holiday season produced $5 in total revenue, while a dollar spent on customer experience improvements yielded more than $60.

20. By 2004, application development organisations that do not include specialists in graphic design, ergonomics and public communications on their web development teams will produce web applications whose poor quality will damage their enterprise web strategies.

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Last modified on 27 june 2004

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