By , Consultant
At our recent #UsabilityFail seminar Mark Russell and I spoke about why you should stop wasting your marketing budgets on bad usability, covering the functional and organisation barriers that inhibit organisations from providing good online customer experience.
According to a recent report by e-Marketer by 2015 an estimated $51b will be being spent on online marketing each year.
So much money is spent and so much hard work is involved in getting people to your site which is fundamentally wasted if the experiences customers have on your site are poor. You should also be concerned that bad user experiences hurt your brand.
It’s easy to look at sales figures (or whatever success means for you) to quantify how well you are doing. With pride these figures get marched (well, sent) off to the senior management team where everyone pats themselves on the back for a job well done and left with the impression everything is going to plan.
But while this tells a usability story of sorts does this really indicate anything about the usability of the site and how satisfied your customers are with their experience on it?
For many years I worked for a website that failed to address the usability flaws in one of the most popular areas of the site because it provided the “least profit”. Investment was instead piled into those areas that were on paper the “most profitable” even though they were less visited.
This lack of investment where a larger percentage of visitors were most engaged ultimately turned people away from the profitable areas of the site. Why? Does a bad experience resonate with users much more than a good one? You can be certain of it!
We as website users take good usability and experiences for granted and so we should if you want your business to succeed online. Poor usability resonates with us and makes us more likely therefore to leave, complain and never return.
By the time the usability issues were addressed ground had been lost to our competitors and it was a long struggle to rectify those issues which could have, and should have, been avoided in the first place. The business had marketed effectively and a spent great deal of money on SEO, ads, PPC etc, but poor usability had the most pernicious affect in the long term.
Good usability and user experience were not part of the company culture, whereas reporting healthy looking figures up the chain was. It was only when the figures started to take a dive that the panic button was hit; which was far too late for the customers that had been let down.
In the real world we see examples like this all the time. A good one being McDonald’s which over the past five years has undertaken a massive rethink of its products, franchises and advertising. It spent millions and millions of pounds addressing the issues that affected its business.
But it did this only because it failed to understand its customers and lost sight of what it wanted; ultimately, it hit McDonald’s in the pocket. Poor usability and user experience is just an online extension of this.
So how are you dealing with failures in usability, do you even know if they exist? How much do you really know about your users’ experiences?
According to Jakob Nielsen investing 10% of your website budget on user research you can improve your key performannce indicators – whatever they may be – by 83%.
Doesn’t that sound worth it to you?
Do some guerrilla testing. Monitor the buzz of people comments on the popular social networks. Identify the key areas of your site and do some usability tests. You are certain to find out something. It will be something you didn’t expect and it will help you improve usability and better the experiences your customers have on your websites.
If you would like to speak with me or Mark Russell about how you can improve your website usability please contact us on 020 7426 8900 or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.