A website is the most crucial element of any online business like I8IT. When the owners of I8IT approached Jean and his team to develop their website, their primary goal must have been to create the website as an access point for their customers. However, the website Jean and his team developed was a total flop since no orders hence no customers came about. This is in spite of that the website matched I8IT’s unusual personality. Jean and his team failed I8IT by developing a website that was less user-friendly for three reasons.
Firstly, the developers deprived the website of clarity. Clarity is achieved through familiarity and other inputs like consistency and simplicity. By using unusual spellings and abbreviations for text on the website, they degraded its familiarity. A good principle to achieving familiarity is to stick on what web users are accustomed to (Idler, 2021). Lack of clarity must have dissatisfied the site visitors by making them spend more time than necessary in finding what they were looking for. And for this, the visitors must have left with no intention of revisiting the website.
Secondly, extensive use of a combination of graphical icons and visual images and minimal text descriptions created sub-optimal user learnability (Idler, 2021). For instance, users may have gone through a long process of differentiating links from buttons and learning what the undescribed visual elements meant. Since the website was majorly unusual, Jean and his team ought to have supplemented the graphics & visual elements with descriptive texts.
Thirdly, Jean and his team developed a less-accessible website. For instance, by using graphical icons and visual images without descriptions, they assumed users already knew what those icons meant (Huang et al, 2019). The price for this assumption must have been trial and errors on user end when trying to navigate the website. In general, the website gave users unfriendly experience thereby failing to convert website visitors from potential customers into clients.
Jean and his team must have completely disregarded use cases of people with disabilities and special accessibility software. For example, by using unusual abbreviations and spellings on text content, Jean and his team locked out technologies like Siri and Google Assistant that are increasingly getting used in searching the web (Moon et al., 2019). To compound the matter, such technologies are heavily relied upon by people with disabilities such as the blind in navigating the web (Berdasco et al., 2019). At the apex of it, Jean and his team relied heavily on graphic icons & visual images with minimal texts thereby rendering such special software blind to the website.
Had Jean and his team been vigilant during the testing process, they might have discovered their mistakes before letting the website go live. The dire mistake they made was only testing the website amongst themselves & the I8IT owners. These people had in-depth knowledge of the product and therefore were easily blinded from identifying usability issues with the website (Hass, 2019). Jean and his team ought to have brought in real-life users for the testing and observed that these users;
a. Were able to understand how the site worked without getting confused or ‘lost’ in the process
b. Were able to find what they looking for and complete important actions
c. Did not encounter usability challenges
d. Were satisfied with the user experience
By incorporating real-life users in the testing process, especially for a new or unique product like I8IT’s website would have been crucial in bridging the gap between what the product owners & developers understood & what the target audience did not understand (Williams, 2020).
Berdasco, López, Diaz, Quesada and Guerrero, 2019. User Experience Comparison of Intelligent Personal Assistants: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri and Cortana. Proceedings, 31(1), p.51.
Idler, S., 2021. Principles of Website Usability | 5 Key Principles Of Good Website Usability. [online] The Daily Egg. Available at: <https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/principles-website-usability/> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
Huang, H., Yang, M., Yang, C., & Lv, T. (2019). User performance effects with graphical icons and training for elderly novice users: A case study on automatic teller machines. Applied ergonomics, 78, 62-69.
Moon, N. W., Baker, P. M., & Goughnour, K. (2019). Designing wearable technologies for users with disabilities: Accessibility, usability, and connectivity factors. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering, 6, 2055668319862137.
Hass, C. (2019). A practical guide to usability testing. In Consumer Informatics and Digital Health (pp. 107-124). Springer, Cham.
Williams, P. (2020). Methods to test website usability. In Learning Disabilities and e-Information. Emerald Publishing Limited.