With the purchasing power of disabled audiences online in the UK estimated at £ 45 billion, digital specialist Cimex www.cimex.com has deployed an in-house usability facility to provide clients with upfront analysis of user requirements.

A state-of-the-art laboratory has been installed to provide testing and evaluation of a broad spectrum of users, eg. people who are blind, colour blind, partially sighted, deaf, deaf blind, cognitively impaired and mobility impaired.

“An early focus on user needs ensures that a product is user-centred from the outset, saving time and money. The usability lab is positioned for this purpose,” explains Aspasia Dellaporta: Head of User Experience at Cimex.

“We assess user needs, create a guideline for construction and then develop a website according to that directive – all in-house,” she continues.

Not all users access the web in the same way and some do so under constraining circumstances. A mouse may not be available or the colours on the website may not be fully supported or properly displayed. It’s important that a website can be accessed by people who use different technologies.

Usability and accessibility both have a direct impact on the bottom line of any e-business. Understanding and addressing user requirements is, therefore, core to developing a fully accessible website which will win user trust, increase traffic, user satisfaction, customer retention and task efficiency, meet business objectives and ultimately improve profit margin.

Usability problems impact all users equally, regardless of ability. The focus is on efficiency and satisfaction. Accessibility issues on the other hand have a primary impact on people with disabilities and a secondary impact on people with a range of technologies. The focus is on access.

The impact can be so great that on average, companies are dedicating in excess of 10 per cent of a project's budget on usability and accessibility.

With clients including BBC, NHSDirect, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), Department for Education and Skills (DfES), Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), e-skills UK, The British Library, Save the Children and Pearsons, Cimex offers a total usability and accessibility service.

If you’d like to learn more about Cimex’ user experience offer or hire the studio please contact: Vanessa O’Carroll (t) 020 7324 7780 vanessa.ocarroll@cimex.com.

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Issued by: Solange Nolan
Marketing Manager
53-55 Scrutton Street

Tel: 020 7324 7780
Fax: 0207 324 7781
eMail: solange.nolan@cimex.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 4th September 2006