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.

Download the Excel datalogger tool (xls format)

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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