May 21 2012
It has been proven that usability on the web can actually increase traffic to your site, improve your presence as a company, and even drive sales. There are countless studies involving behavioral psychology and eye-tracking studies that show this.
But surprisingly, despite the mounting evidence supporting the benefits of usability, businesses have been very hesitant to focus on the user-experience.
For many people, usability and user experience are viewed as nothing more than buzzwords that should be considered when designing a company website. It is very difficult to immediately see the ROI of creating a usable site, and this is perhaps why so many businesses are reluctant to engage in the process.
The reality is that usability stems far beyond the realm of digital and interactive. It’s a means of running your company. Whether it is clear, concise language that remains consistent throughout every platform of your business, a streamlined and organized store that is filled with knowledgeable employees, or a strong emphasis on excellent customer service, usability will help you create a truly memorable customer experience.
Consider companies like Apple, Google, or P&G: they have placed usability, design, and user experience at the innermost core of their company manifestos. The result? They are some of the most powerful and user-friendly businesses around, with incredibly dedicated and loyal customers. And while Microsoft, Yahoo, and Unilever are successful, they are far outstripped by their competition in terms of annual sales. These companies were late in adopting a usable corporate structure, which meant playing a lot of catchup in the early 2000’s.
Usability has been shown to increase customer satisfaction and productivity, leads to customer trust and loyalty and inevitably results in tangible cost savings and profitability. Usability also plays a role in the public’s perception of a company or organization, affecting brand value and market share. Studies have shown that the average metrics improvement after a usability redesign is 83%*.
Alright, so we have established that usability is good for businesses, but many companies have yet to adopt it! How do we explain this usability gap? One of the most logical explanations is a lack of company money and resources. But with more and more UX and UI jobs popping up around the country, creating a usable infrastructure is more and more affordable and accessible. Many of these companies may be surprised to find that an overhaul of their site may actually not even end up costing that much — a few small yet important tweaks could send your company on its way to an easier, more user friendly way of doing things.
*Jacob Nielsen http://www.useit.com/alertbox/roi.html
Studio K&M is a full-service design and concept firm based in New York, skilled in graphic and web design, art direction, identity development, usability and social media. You can can follow Studio K&M on Twitter @StudioKandM.