Web Usability to Increase Goodwill Essay
Usability of a web site is the process to ensure that a web site is easy for customers, members or web surfers to use. Some usability research may include using Google analytics to understand where people leave your web site or using your own statistics to understand conversion rates or even simply where in the quote or sales process do people leave your site.
Some companies conduct usability studies where customers and potential customers use the site and give feedback – just another form of market research. Another way is to use desk top research – see what is happening in best practise and mimic it.
This blog reveals usability that creates both bad and good will…what will you choose?
Poor Usability That Diminishes Goodwill
In Steve Krug’s book ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ (2nd Edition) he wrote about the things that diminish goodwill on a web site:
***Hiding the information that customers want such as postage rates, customer support, phone numbers and the like. Some companies do this so that they drive down costs in their business or customer self serve. Other do this due to internal politics, departmental policies or simply trying to increase the stickiness of getting a sale! Best practice is to be open, up front and transparent to the customer. Make it easy to find all information.
***Asking the customer to format data such as putting a dash or a space in credit card fields. Best practice is to allow the customer to enter the data as they want & then write a program to convert it into your system requirement.
***Asking for information that is not relevant. Don’t ask for marketing information if it isn’t relevant. Who has got fed up trying to set up an Amazon account. Keep it quick & punchy, then as you develop the relationship ask for more information & incentivise for it.
***Too much sizzle. Get rid of the long to load flash intros, no-one wants to see it.
However, there is another golden rule…if your customers actually like flash, like long sign up processes, want to key the data in the right format or like to search for information, then DON”T CHANGE IT. If it works for you and your customers and gets the results you need, then don’t change, but if you can get a better result through a test and learn phase then make the change towards better usability.
Ways to Increase Usability & Goodwill
***Know the main things that people want to do on your site and make them obvious and easy
***Tell people what they want to know. Don’t hide shipping costs etc. A good example is www.dstore.com.au that advertises a flat $6.95 anywhere in Australia as a banner ad. A poor example is www.dymocks.com.au where you don’t know the postage until the end of the transaction.
***Save me steps whenever you can. Examples are a tracking number for the shipment order
***Make it easy to recover from errors. Assist customers so that they don’t make errors, but if they do then make it easy to fix them rather than having to restart.
***When in doubt apologise. You may have a clunky system and you can’t change it, let customers know that your system is far from perfect and apologise for it.