A usability analysis of company websites

James J. Cappel, Huang Zhenyu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

Web usability advocates stress the importance of clarity, simplicity, and consistency in web design so that users can perform desired operations efficiently and effectively. If a website lacks these characteristics, users may become confused or frustrated and "take their business" to competing sites. Usability advocates have made anecdotal observations about the extent to which websites follow "good" design practices. However, there have been few attempts to address this issue from a research perspective. This study presents an analysis of INC. 500 company websites using eleven measures, grouped into three categories: avoidance of web design errors, adherence to web design conventions, and inclusion of features to promote usability. These measures were derived from usability guidelines proposed in the literature. The results revealed that while a few design guidelines are commonly followed, most showed a high degree of variation. The mean number of guidelines followed per website was 5.5 out of a possible 11. In particular, the results suggest that many websites can be improved with regard to link appearance, navigation, and the inclusion of more positive features such as breadcrumb trails and search boxes to improve usability. Thus, many organizations should consider reexamining their websites from a usability perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Computer Information Systems
Volume48
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2007

Keywords

  • Content analysis
  • Internet
  • Web usability
  • Website design

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