Why Should I Bother with Usability?

(Part 2 of 2)

As we discussed last time, in the eyes of your user (i.e. customer) usability is a very important aspect of any website. Despite this fact, so many websites out there fail to address usability in their design. Why is this? There is pretty much one reason, heard far and wide from companies large and small:

Usability takes so much time!!

Without a doubt, creating a usable website is a slower process than creating an unusable one. When creating a usable site, a lot of planning goes into the early stages of the project to ensure that the final result meets the goals of not only you, as the client, but also of your users. This can make the first few weeks seem unproductive because you don’t get to look at any pretty pictures (or, what the design department prefers we call them, “comps”), or click through any websites. All you see are long documents with information about goals and requirements and process flows. Yawn.

Of course, when we talk time, we also talk dollars; the added time usability research adds to the bottom line. Because you don’t get to see any of that fun stuff that comes later in the process, usability seems like the best place to cut costs.

However, by skipping ahead to the fun stuff, you miss important work that ensures that the fun stuff actually meets your goals! If you rush into putting a poorly researched site on the web, you will find yourself getting complaints from all sides. Internally, you will find that you don’t have the pages to add the content you need to have on the site, or that you didn’t build in the backend functionality that will make site maintenance easy. You will hear from your customers that they are unable to find the information or complete the process that brought them to your site. Before you realize it, you will have to completely redo your website from the ground up because it wasn’t done right in the first place. When you think about the time and cost associated with a whole new website, it becomes pretty clear that usability is worth it in the long run!

You can always find people out there who will give you a website quick and cheep. However, here at Cornerstone Media Group, we would much rather take a little more time and money to give you a site that you and your customers will be happy with for a long, long time. Your customers will increase your revenues when they find that visiting your site is a pleasure and accomplishes their goals with a minimum of effort.

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