CMMI Level 3 Company
Usability is what makes a web site work. More specifically, it’s the degree to which a web site or software program helps users do what they want to do. Whether they intend to make a specific purchase, find a specific piece of information or simply browse, usability is what helps users fulfill their objectives efficiently
There are many ways to measure the usability of a web site, including:
Though usability is critical to the success of any interactive design, it’s consistently the most frequently overlooked and undervalued aspect of design, possibly because usability problems are frequently invisible to the untrained eye.
A company’s brand is the sum of its customer interactions. This includes:
Many companies spend millions of dollars on marketing media, attempting to “communicate” their brand. Customers increasingly base their brand perceptions on their interactions with a company, and how those interactions live up to the marketing promises the company makes. In short, a multimillion-dollar ad campaign can be instantly sabotaged by a dinner-time telemarketing call or an dissatisfying web site visit.
Poor usability carries damaging consequences, regardless of the type of application being designed.
Designing a usable web site begins with learning about the user. Some user needs and characteristics can be inferred and uncovered by experts. However, to maximize usability requires observing real users using the application in the intended usage environment. There is much ground between these two approaches. And somewhere within that continuum is the best solution for every application.
The design must be grounded in a solid understanding of the intended users and their objectives in using the site. This is called “design for use,” or “user-centered design.” Every design decision, from functionality to visual design, should be evaluated in terms of what solution best serves the users’ ability to fulfill their objectives.
Many companies choose not to conduct user testing, or truly user-centered design based on a number of well-worn objections:
"Believe me, we know our users better than anyone, maybe even better than they know themselves. Our sales people are in constant contact with our customers. They're totally in tune with their needs. In fact, some of our current staff came directly from client organizations."
Unfortunately, none of these beliefs change the fact that we all hold assumptions about our customers and users. In fact, customers and users are constantly evolving and we never really have a full understanding of what they need and how they'll respond to a new product or touch-point until we bring them in and do the research.
Today’s usability practitioner has a wealth of tools and techniques to draw from, all appropriate under certain circumstances.
Ray Business Technologies believes in user-centered design. For many interactive design agencies, usability is an afterthought. At Ray Business Technologies, it permeates our approach, from information architecture, to design, to engineering.
Ray Business Technologies designs and builds applications for real use by real users. This creates web sites that work -- that strengthen our clients’ brands by creating positive interactions -- information and products found easily, experiences that satisfy users by recognizing and paving the way to their objectives.
More than any other design factor, usability determines the success or failure of any serious web initiative. By making usability the focal point of our design approach, we ensure that our clients receive maximum return on their investment. Ray Business Technologies provides Online Presence solutions to its clients that strengthen brands, set the stage for transactions and increase efficiency. Usable design creates a perception of value and an expectation of future positive interactions.
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