Thursday, September 11, 2008

Usability has a commercial impact

According to an earlier article in Internet Retailing, some three-quarters of consumers say that bad usability on a company website has put them off dealing with that orgainisation.

The principles of good website usability have been around for some while, led by people such as Jacob Neilson from his excellent site (http://www.useit.com/) and Jesse James Garrett . The simple rules are there to be followed, some of them include:
  • Try to keep you navigation options to around 7
    (There's a very good reason for this and its to do with human short-term memory capacity and other sensible stuff!)
  • Tell users what's about to happen and then make sure it happens in the way they expect
  • Build your site for the lowest common browser/device, not the latest or greatest (therefore JavaScript is there to enhance functionality, not to break the site when its not used)
I'm therefore amazed that poor website layout and design is such a problem in today's modern eCommerce world. But then I'm also suprised we still have: global poverty, no cure of the common cold and Nylon used to make shirts. As I've previously stated, you can significantly influence your users by providing a positive user experience on your website, but this is the first research I've seen in a while that says a bad User Experience negatively effects the impression that people have of that company.
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