Might look good, but does it work?

first_img Comments are closed. Might look good, but does it work?On 22 Jan 2002 in Military, Personnel Today You’ve paid a top-flight designer to create the flashiest corporate site onthe Net, but it isn’t delivering the volume of traffic expected. This couldsimply be down to the fact that it’s too difficult to use. GrantMcQuattie-Campbell, head of research at The Usability Company, explains how toput your site to the testUsability is a term new to many, but it is a science rooted in the Cold Warera of military research. From the earliest days of the jet fighter, scientistsemployed usability techniques to optimise the ability of a machine’s user.Today, these techniques are practised across the spectrum of digital platforms– from PCs and interactive TVs to portable digital assistants and mobilephones. With an increasing number of personnel functions becoming Internet orintranet-based, HR professionals need an appreciation of what works and whatdoesn’t when it comes to screen-based design, especially in view of the rise inself-service HR systems. By making an intranet easier to use, for example,businesses are finding that productivity is boosted, support costs are reducedand staff morale is bolstered. Testing, testing…Usability testing is a simple process to understand, but difficult toimplement. A usability specialist must first audit the platform and thendevelop a series of tasks to do on the site, select a user group (composed ofthe average demographic) and evaluate the individual’s ability to use theservice. This can throw up all kinds of inconsistencies and pitfalls. In the case ofan intranet, it could translate to hours of lost time as employees become immersedin an unusable system while simply trying to find a phone number. A recent review of online banking sites uncovered a typical case ofuser-unfriendliness. Browsers looking for a telephone number to guide themthrough the NatWest site were directed to The Royal Bank of Scotland page,where the number they were presented with was based in Edinburgh. When thisnumber was called people were given a London number – which then directed themto the correct website helpline. In terms of wasted time, no users were willing to pursue the helpline huntfurther than Edinburgh. But had they done so, they would have had the pleasureof two national-rate calls, an increased Internet bill and a great deal of hairpulling. Inviting talent The case for implementing usability guidelines on a recruitment area of awebsite is glaring. Research by The Usability Company found a number ofmultinationals with highly unfriendly sites. Such sites will often deter someof the best-qualified job applicants, as only the most persistent (ordesperate) will devote a lot of time to the application process. If Amazon isthe benchmark of usability and scores a theoretical nine out of 10, then UKjobsites average four or five. Sion Mooney, a recruitment consultant well versed in usability issues, says”The main barrier between an ideal candidate and your company can veryoften be a cumbersome process in the online application. A thorough test of thesite irons out these problems and can increase enquiries.” Grant McQuattie-Campbell is co-founder and head of research of theUsability Company, a leading usability specialist. In the past year it has maderecommendations for change to the interactive applications of companiesincluding Barclays, MTV, BSkyB, William Hill and Debenhams. www.theusabilitycompany.comTowards usability: three design basicsText This should be between 11 and 12 point size. One of the bestfonts to use in screen displays is generally agreed to be Ariel or othersan-serif fonts. The text colour should also be taken into account as coloursshould be high contrast. Black on white is always a good starting point.Navigation It is generally accepted that an online shopper has thepatience of a seven-year-old. Generally speaking, once the home page hasloaded, if they can’t find what they’re looking for in three clicks of themouse, they’ll leave.Plug-ins If the user has to download the latest version of Flash toview your site just because of a spinning logo, there’s something wrong withyour priorities. Always give users an option to view the site in plain text –this will allow much greater access to your site. Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a…center_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:last_img read more