You may be starting out on a new project, or perhaps this is a re-design of an existing site. In either case, this page contains a short test that you can use to measure the likely success of your design. The questions assess how closely you followed (or plan to follow) a customer centred design approach.
You can use the results of this test as a "before" and "after" measure for your site, or you can use it to identify particular areas for improvement. You can also use it as a checklist after you complete each phase of the design to check that the key issues have been addressed. This test comes from my book "E-commerce Usability".
This page lists the questions, but if you want to score your progress, download the Excel version of the test.
Analyse the opportunity
- Have all the project stakeholders been identified (not just the end users)?
- Have the motivations of each stakeholder been made explicit?
- Has the list of stakeholders been prioritised and is there an explicit management strategy for the most important stakeholders?
- Does the project have a site mandate or vision statement that clearly communicates the aims of the project to the development team?
- Is it clear how the site will make money?
- Are the objectives of the site clear and unambiguous and are they consistent with the organisation's overall business goals?
- Is the value that customers will get from using the site clear and obvious?
- Have competitor web sites been identified?
- Has customer research been carried out to identify the most appropriate market or beachhead segment that will be the prime focus of the first release?
- Are the target customers clearly identifiable (i.e. the site avoids trying to be "something for everybody")?
Build the context of use
- Have potential customers been consulted and have their goals been identified?
- Is there a specification of the range of intended customers for the site?
- Is there a specification of the environments (physical, socio-cultural and technical) within which customers will use the site?
- Is there a specification of the different tasks that customers will want to carry out at the site?
- Has this list of customer tasks been prioritised and have the critical and frequent tasks been identified?
- Has this prioritised list of tasks been used to deliver the web site in stages, with the most important functionality delivered first?
- Was information about customers, their tasks and their environments collected using a range of techniques (e.g. surveys, interviews, observation)?
- Has the context of use information been reviewed and verified?
- Has the context of use information been presented to the design team in an engaging and accessible way (e.g. as personas and scenarios)?
- Has the context of use information been used to drive the design process?
Create the user experience
- Have key performance indicators been set and has the site been evaluated against these metrics?
- Are these criteria based on clear customer input and do they cover the areas of customer performance (effectiveness and efficiency) as well as customer satisfaction?
- Has the conceptual model for the site been identified?
- Has a content inventory been produced, and has this been sorted, ordered and categorised to match customers' mental model of the information?
- Is the navigational framework of the site and the terminology used for navigation items based on this customer research?
- Have various prototypes been developed and evaluated and have the results of these evaluations been used to improve the designs?
- Has the design been tested for usability with representative customers?
- Has the design been changed to address the findings of these evaluations?
- Have usability defects been prioritised based on their impact on customers and have the defects been tracked to completion?
- Has the design been documented in a Style Guide?
Track real-world usage and continuously improve
- Is feedback from customers (e.g. help desks, post-release surveys and customer visits) collected regularly and frequently to ensure that the site continues to meet business and customer needs?
- Is this information used to identify changes in the customer base, their environments and their tasks?
- Is the specification of the context of use (customer, environment and task profiles) updated regularly to reflect any major changes?
- Is this information used to identify the key areas of the site to maintain and enhance?
- Are measures of conversion rate, fulfilment and customer retention tracked regularly and frequently?
- Has there been verification that the business requirements were met?
- Has there been verification that the stakeholder requirements were met?
- Has there been verification that the site objectives were met?
- Has there been verification that the key performance indicators were met?
- Did the design team hold a post-implementation meeting to discuss the effectiveness of usability processes and identify areas of improvement?
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