Download (1,3 MB): The usability brochure by //SEIBERT/MEDIA (PDF file)
What before was true for the video recorder is unfortunately again true for many current websites: users have difficulties in completing tasks and reaching their goals. How to use those formerly expensive video recorders was just something the user had to learn, for better or for worse; after all, the piece of equipment was paid for. But the next website – and therefore the next provider of comparable services – is only a click away.
Nevertheless, numerous companies continue to underestimate the role that usability has to play in achieving success, even though the main arguments for good usability can already be explained in simple (yet impressive) numbers that cannot be repeated often enough:
27 percent of all attempted purchases on the Internet are terminated because the buyers cannot find what they are looking for, even though the provider has the product in stock (Study by Cymfony).
40 percent of all purchase processes on the Internet are stopped before completion because the ordering process is too complicated or due to technical problems (Study by Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft, BVDW)
What is usability?
The term usability is meant to denote the state of a functioning communication between application and user. Users of an application wish to achieve their goals effectively and efficiently, which results in the users being satisfied. This guarantees a high level of usability.
Usability means that the application and the user are speaking the same language.
What can usability do for you?
Users are pleased when they visit a website with a high level of usability. This is good in and of itself but is not the actual goal of usability. Usability cannot be pursued simply for its own sake; this would be an unaffordable luxury. Usability must offer a business-minded company some kind of use, and a balance must be achieved between investments in usability and business-management use.
In practice, this means that usability experts help companies to understand their customers and, using the company’s website, to better approach the needs and expectations of the customers. This leads to a balanced relationship between customer and company use. In this case, both sides are winners:
The user can satisfy his needs using the website, and the company acquires customers.
How is usability measured?
1. Expert-based analyses
During an expert-based analysis, the usability of an online application is examined by an experienced expert. Expert-based analyses have two advantages: they are affordable and can be quickly implemented. //SEIBERT/MEDIA offers two different kinds of expert-based analyses. Both of them belong to the established protocols for usability research:
Guided Usability Inspection: the Guided Usability Inspection is the standard method at //SEIBERT/MEDIA used to put the usability of online applications to the test. It combines two recognized, checklist-based methods – the guidelines test and the heuristic evaluation.
Cognitive Walkthrough: the Cognitive Walkthrough is not used for entire online applications but rather for the analysis of special processes within an application (buying process, ordering process, etc.). The processes are executed in a specific way in order to pinpoint weaknesses and problem areas. This also leads to the finding of problems that cannot be found using a strict series of checklist-based questions.
Expert-based analyses discover 90% of all usability weaknesses.
2. User-based tests
Numerous additional errors can only be found by observing real users as they use the website. With a user-based test, the existing problems can be found; in addition to this, unspecific characteristics such as “Ease of Use” can be located. //SEIBERT/MEDIA/ handles the entire user-test procedure, from the recruitment of the subjects to the execution of the tests to the analysis of the results. The test itself is implemented using Morae 2.0, which offers both mouse- and click-tracking as well as video- and sound-analysis of the test subjects.
Users find what experts fail to discover.
Good usability ensures that an online application can be correctly used. Intuitive usability can tip the scales in your favor. Better usability means:
- more visitors
- more demand
- more turnover
- a higher level of customer satisfaction
- stronger relationships between company and customer
- less opportunity costs.
//SEIBERT/MEDIA/ ensures that your application is optimized for usability to such a degree that it creates an ideal relationship between “investment” and “return on investment”. We would be happy to consult with you. You can also receive further information through our usability brochure:
Read this post in German.