Kick-Start the New Year with Site Usability Testing

As the calendar flips to 2008, here in the U.S. we’re seeing the end to the holiday season. That means we are back to full speed ahead on all of our plans for the New Year as everyone gets back to the office, recharged and renewed after another festive time.

The first part of the New Year though is also a time to look back on the holiday season online, especially for e-retailers. Given all the estimates and reports, 2007 was a huge season for retailers online.

With the flurry of orders and all the holiday chaos settling down though, now is when sites are going to come under some intense scrutiny. Did the site generate the revenue that was expected? Were there sales lost to problems inherent in the site?

Was the site usability poor?

That’s the million dollar question, and a tough one to answer. Site usability isn’t a new topic to StraightUpSearch or to Oneupweb. It’s probably one of the most critical issues to address with any site, but it’s also one of the most neglected, or at least overlooked.

Site usability is a tough subject to tackle. Everyone knows how important it is, but there seems to be some fear to taking on a full site usability analysis. Hopefully though, the value and importance of executing a site usability test is obvious after such a high traffic, high interaction season.

Take a look at that bottom line and consider what could have happened if the conversion rate were just 1% better. Even just a half percent better. How many more thousands, or millions of dollars could that have meant?

Executing a usability analysis on a site doesn’t have to mean a redesign. A well planned and executed study will take into consideration the demands of maintaining the brand presence of an established site. That same usability study though, will point out the key areas that can be impacted, with relative ease, to help insure stronger conversion points.

And there’s probably no better time to implement these changes. By getting changes in place during a relative lull, clients won’t be impacted with the same severity they would have been in November and December, you’ll have a site that’s much more usable, leading to better sales through the year and ultimately an even stronger holiday season in 2008.

Too soon to think about holiday 2008? Not for your competitors.

Here’s to much success in the new year and to a more usable site for your customers!