In ADL-0033, Chris Anderson wrote:
We spend all this money trying to get people to visit our site but we don’t offer them anything when they get there. The best website I have seen so far on the web is http://www.boo.com these people put a lot of imagination and work into this site, I am now their client because they gave me more than one reason to return.
I fully agree that the key to online success is what you do with people once they get to your site. The statement SOUNDS obvious, but it seems that many people either don’t get what this means or they don’t truly believe it. It is quite common to see companies spending millions on advertising to get people to sites where search doesn’t work or the shopping cart function is intimidating. These same heavy advertisers baulk at the cost of doing usability analysis.
I would STRONGLY urge everyone on the list to take time to get a copy of an outstanding report on the customer experience recently published by Mark Hurst at Creative Good in New York. Some of you may remember Mark as a speaker at the AIMS/CMA Interactive Conference last spring. Mark is quite an impassioned spokesperson for making sites work from the customer’s perspective.
You can find the 78 page report, which gives analysis of usability problems at 10 major e-commerce sites, at: http://www.creativegood.com/holiday99/indexdd.html
The report is incredibly popular right now, so you may have to suffer through long download delays, but it is worth it. Normally they charge a bundle for these reports, but this one is a freebie for the holidays.
After you’ve downloaded the Creative Good report, click over to Jakob Nielsen’s site and sign-up for his bi-weekly mailing of usability insights at http://www.alertbox.com . For those of you not in the know, Nielsen is THE guru of usability and his comments are essential to understanding what works and doesn’t work on the web.
I want to emphasize that EVERYONE should be looking at this stuff, not just those with a technical mandate. Your site is your customer experience and your customer experience is your brand – don’t blow it once you get them to your site – your company’s reputation is riding on it.
BTW, I think that boo.com would fair rather poorly on the customer experience test. You like many of us on the list are most likely interested in technology and new web techniques, which makes boo.com’s gimmicks appealing, but consumers are turned off by ANYTHING that gets in the way of buying. It would be interesting to discuss boo.com in terms of the Creative Good report.