In the beginning… the World Wide Web was born and everyone wanted a website for their business. We weren't sure what to do with it but it was cool to have one nonetheless. It wasn't long before it became obvious to a few forward thinking individuals that this new medium had great untapped potential for being a revenue source. Lo and behold… the e-business website 'land rush' was on.
Within a few years there were millions of websites designed and implemented for millions of reasons. The internet became a blur of information that made it very difficult to find any particular website or any particular product or service. Enter the search engines.
Now that you had a website you needed to get it found. This gave rise to the emerging web marketing discipline of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which in turn led to a whole new era of technical sophistication online. We started to hear terms like Page Rank, keyword density, Pay-Per-Click and the 'good guy / bad guy' pair of white hat and black hat SEO.
OK great!! Now your website is getting found but how many of the people that find you, buy something or sign up for your newsletter? If you divide your Unique User Sessions by your # of sales or your # of registrations monthly, you will get your Conversion Rate. This is the Holy Grail among the more savvy purveyors of e-business.
Usability is the pinnacle of the evolution of e-business. It is the process by which your website allows your visitors to achieve their goals. Specifically, a Usability audit will point out all of the stumbling blocks your design team has inadvertently placed in the path of your visitors. Typically, you will receive a detailed report (~ 100 pages) showing what is wrong and how to fix it. This document is generated according to an array of very reliable principles of Applied Psychology that have been successfully adapted for the internet from other more traditional business practices like direct mail campaigns, in-store merchandising and offline catalog sales, to name a few.
Properly implemented, the design changes resulting from a Usability audit, will improve your present Conversion Rate to ensure you are getting maximum ROI from the money and time you spend attracting traffic. In the evolution of e-business efficacy, a Usability audit will put your website on a solid footing from which to race ahead of your competition.