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An investment in usability - optimising the user experience on your website - is a smart move to make, as outlined in our new Usability Business Case report.

Whether you hire a usability agency to look at your website's usability, or choose to undertake usability studies in-house, enhancing your site can deliver a massive return on investment.

  1. You seriously can’t afford not to
    Repeat: you cannot afford to ignore the user experience. Especially if you sell online. Or if you can afford to then you aren’t optimising your business performance. It’s that simple.
  2. User experience can be more important then brand and price
    It can be argued that the user experience is more important than both brand and price. What use is a brand like Gap when there is no on-site search tool on Gap.com?

    What use is discounting prices when your checkout process is poor and haemorrhages prospective buyers? Conversely, a startup with no known brand and average prices can get on the map by being more user-friendly than established competition.

  3. Gain the competitive advantage
    There is a bigger picture here: a higher than average conversion rate will ultimately help you to outbid competitors on Google Adwords.

    Usability studies can help you convert as many prospective customers as possible. Again, with Google Adwords in mind, if you are paying to attract these prospects then it becomes even more important to realize a return on your (paid search) investment.

    Likewise, if your site converts well, then affiliates will like sending traffic to your site as the earnings per click (EPC) they get from you (how much money they make on average per referral they send you) will be better than your competition.

  4. Focus on web standards
    Usability studies will test your website for errors, as well as problem zones. Error-free code is important for various reasons, not least your Google rankings.
  5. You are already spending on design
    Websites should be constantly tweaked for optimum business results, but even if you only update your site every couple of years you will still spend a lot of money, so make sure you spend it wisely.

    Invest 5%-20% of your design budget on usability to be sure that your new design is in line with what your users want. Usability first, changes second.

For more, see our Usability & User Experience Business Case , which provides you with a framework for an internal presentation and / or argument for a usability budget. Note that there are  five other internet business cases to check out.

Graham Charlton

Published 25 April, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Mike C

Totally agree, but you should also embrace Mac Testing. If you think this isn't a large enough market then you aren’t optimising your business performance! This page has a massive hole in the middle on safari.

about 9 years ago

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Rob C

The hole appears in Firefox to, which is an even bigger section of the market!

about 9 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

Yes, fair comments about this site. They are things we are aware of and fixing. For the record our top 10 browsers used for this site, based on users so far this year are:

Browser No. Users % of visitors
1. MSIE 6.0 269,227 48.78
2. MSIE 7.0 131,836 23.79
3. Firefox 130,153 23.49
4. Safari 4,382 0.79
5. Opera 9.x 4,348 0.78
6. MSIE 6.0 (AOL) 3,066 0.55
7. MSIE 7.0 (AOL) 2,644 0.47
8. Opera 8.x 1,450 0.26
9. MSIE 5.0 1,257 0.22
10. Mozilla 1.8 958 0.17

So Firefox is significant but there is a big drop off after that.

Interestingly look at the browser trends over the last 6 months, Firefox is actually *falling* in its % penetration. In November last year it was at 25%. Not much of a change but still I'm afraid IE6 is dominant with IE7 by far the biggest climber in the charts.

Ashley Friedlein
CEO
E-consultancy.com

about 9 years ago

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