E-commerce is all over the place and people are enjoying this new shopping experience where unlike traditional shopping, people can purchase anything anywhere at their convenience, without strolling or physically struggling to select things they need to purchase. Also, one doesn’t have to seek assistance to enquire about the price or size or stand in long queues. However, there are definitely some disadvantages of online shopping eg. one cannot physically feel & touch the material of the product or bargain on prices, as some price-savvy Indian customers who cannot accept the price at the face value squeeze in an economical deal for themselves with appropriate price negotiation with the vendor. With above disadvantages, experts still believe that India has a huge market for web based companies and is in a budding process. Where today US has completely embraced this new culture, India too saw a remarkable response in 2011-2012. This response is the result of the leverages that online shopping sites offered to Indian customers keeping in mind their shopping behavior. Eg. Free home delivery; return policy & Cash on delivery option. They have gone to an extent of offering coupons & reward points to match up their expectations when it comes to affordable purchasing. Experts also believe that if the Mall culture can gain such huge popularity given the fact that they too do not practice bargaining, it will not affect Indian customers at a latter stage.
Enter the Usability
But where does the term usability come here? What role does it play on web portals? Why today online portals are investing on usability testing for their business? When one hears about user experience why do they only think in the terms of time delivery & product quality? As a UX based company we talk about user experience with respect to the shopping experience of the visitors from login to logout.
Usability comes into picture when your customer;
- Visits your web store & leave without purchasing anything.
- Don’t find the required information.
- Want to purchase but heavy data waste their time in loading.
- Want to explore but some of the tabs are not working properly eg. Shopping cart & Search Tab.
- Gets confused by your website design or content.
- Finds the content unreadable due to color combinations.
All of the above results in high bounce rates, less traffic, bad word of mouth & eventually failure of an e-commerce business.
What does Usability offers you?
- Usability testing with the actual users to measure how ‘usable’ or ‘intuitive’ a website is.
- Provide qualitative feedback & help improve customer’s interactive experience.
- Help the company to focus on the features that really matters to their target customers & that will have the most impact on their business.
- Help companies design a user centric website which will increase website traffic, enhance customer experience & brand awareness.
- Prove to decrease support costs, increase user satisfaction & improve back end development results.
- Give a comparison of a website against their peer or competitor sites; understand post launch impact of a new website by evaluation of their pages.
- Helps the company to optimize the booking process, or conversion paths & test the effectiveness of their calls to actions.
- Make company understand that if one makes a plan to organize his office or home properly, then how can you build your website without a clear idea about how it will work & how efficiently it will help the customer reach its goal?
Usability Formula = User’s + ability where User = Bread & Butter of the Company
Significance of Usability on Web store:
Usability in web design is an important factor which can decide the success or a failure of a web store. If the website is not high on usability, people will leave as soon as they arrive. It plays a vital role in engaging your customers and no software application can prevent them from leaving your website. Your website is not user friendly – they leave, which will put adverse effects on a very important website metric: traffic. If the companies think that after the launch of the website, they will evaluate the user’s feedback and save money on that part, then they are mistaken. Users once having poor experience with your website are never going to return back. Getting back their attention through heavy marketing will in turn cost companies more. Hence, now it is the time to be proactive & practice usability to make this technology based world more approachable.
Neha Modgil is Director of Techved Consulting India Pvt. Ltd. She began her venture in 2007 with a small group of design professionals and named it “Techved Design”. She is a renowned name in the usability & user research domain in India and has been a speaker at many international conferences. She is among the few woman entrepreneurs, who understood the upcoming demand of usability in India and took her career towards user centered projects. Meet Neha Modgil at Internet Retail Expo 2013