London, 10 July 2007:

Website user experience is becoming a key area of focus for online marketers in an increasingly competitive digital environment, according to research published today.

A survey conducted by E-consultancy and behavioural research consultancy Bunnyfoot found that 72% of UK organisations are planning to increase their usability budget over the next 12 months, a greater percentage than for any other area of digital marketing*.

The Usability and User Experience Report 2007 found that organisations, on average, are spending 13% of their website design budgets on usability and 9% of their on-going website maintenance budget.

More than 700 internet marketers took part in the research, rating Amazon, the BBC and Google as the best websites for user experience.

According to the report, the biggest benefits of usability investment are improved perceptions of brand, increased conversion rates and greater customer loyalty and retention.

Jon Dodd, director and co-founder of Bunnyfoot, said: “It’s great that usability is increasingly being recognised for the value it brings to organisations and that it is finally becoming an integrated part of the web development process.”

Rob Stevens, director and co-founder of Bunnyfoot, added: “Usability has really moved on from the early days. We are now seeing a new wave of usability engineering which is delivering even more measurable value.”

Linus Gregoriadis, E-consultancy’s Head of Research, said: “The research shows that companies are increasingly aware of the need to make sure they are offering the best possible user experience in an age where people can easily go elsewhere if necessary.

"The benefits of usability investment are becoming much more apparent, whether in terms of brand perception or more directly measurable factors such as improved conversion rates.”

The research also found that time pressure to get things done was the biggest barrier in the way of providing the best possible user experience. Some 56% of online marketers said this was one of the three biggest problems. The next biggest problems were lack of internal resource (45%), lack of budget (37%) and company culture / politics (35%).

Other key findings included:

Only a quarter of company respondents say their organisations are “extremely committed” to providing the best possible online user experience. A further 56% say they are “quite committed”.

Ownership of user experience within organisations is quite varied (in terms of where responsibility for this lies). For just over a third of organisations, responsibility for the online user experience lies within an in-house website team.
Another third of companies have an individual or team dedicated to the online user experience while a fifth deem this to be the responsibility of an in-house marketing department.

More than a fifth of companies (22%) say that the online experience “isn’t integrated at all” into the overall customer experience.

The top six benefits of usability, based on the number of company respondents who said they had been a “major benefit”, were:

1) Improved perceptions of brand (54%)
2) Increased conversion rates (53%)
3) Greater customer loyalty and retention (46%)
4) Increased customer advocacy (38%)
5) Increased traffic (36%)
6) Improved search rankings (33%)

The full E-consultancy / Bunnyfoot Usability and User Experience Report 2007 is available for download at:

www.e-consultancy.com/publications/usability-and-user-experience-report-2007

* According to E-consultancy research, these are the percentages of UK organisations planning to raise their budgets in other areas of digital marketing: SEO (62%); Paid Search (60%); Email (52%); Affiliate Marketing (40%); Online Display Advertising (34%); Mobile (20%) [Source: E-consultancy / Neutralize UK Search Engine Marketing Report 2007]

Please email or call Linus Gregoriadis for further information.

Email: linus@e-consultancy.com

Tel: + 44 (0) 207 681 4051 or + 44 (0) 7956 5645713.

About E-consultancy

E-consultancy is an online publisher of best practice internet marketing reports, research and how-to guides. E-consultancy, named Publisher of the Year at the 2006 AOP Awards, also publishes buyer’s guides and has a directory of 100,000+ third party internet marketing white papers.

Subscribers pay from £149 per year to access the exclusive and highly practical content. E-consultancy has more than 100 events lined up for 2007, including roundtables and monthly Supplier Showcases. The company also provides a range of public and in-house training programmes, such as seminars and workshops.

http://www.e-consultancy.com/about/

About Bunnyfoot

Bunnyfoot was founded in 1999 by Dr Jon Dodd and Robert Stevens – a behavioural scientist and a management accountant – both with extensive experience of working in the IT and Internet sectors.

Bunnyfoot was the first UK consultancy to offer professional accessibility consulting services in addition to usability services and has consolidated this leading position ever since. It was also the first consultancy to offer eyetracking as standard and during the past four years of using eyetracking has developed new and improved techniques for user testing and behavioural analysis.

They are now pioneering the use of advanced behavioural segmentation techniques leading to the development of measurable and optimisable persuasive websites, using biometrics to measure engagement and emotion, and playing with lots of other things that they can’t talk about … yet.

Bunnyfoot works to produce practical, pragmatic, implementable results. They produce usable and accessible insights to spur action, and they also believe that user experience (and usability) should be an integrated part of design and development, and not a bottleneck in the whole process.

Bunnyfoot currently employs 22 full time members of staff, with offices and specialist testing facilities in Oxford, Edinburgh and London.

http://www.bunnyfoot.com/

Published on: 12:00AM on 10th July 2007