The Best And Worst Of Website Design

We just published Best And Worst Of B2C Site Design, 2008 which evaluated the consumer-facing Websites of the following 16 large companies (this was part of our cross-channel evaluations):

  • Airlines: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Air Lines
  • Banks: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia, Wells Fargo
  • Department stores: JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears
  • Mp3 manufacturers: Apple, Creative, iRiver, Sony

The research used Forrester’s Web Site Review methodology (which is a form of an expert review) to grade the experiences across 25 criteria. Here are some of the findings from the research:

  • None of the sites received a passing score [25 or higher]; the overall average was -5.2
  • Airlines [0.8] got the highest average score; MP3 manufacturers [-17] got the lowest
  • Delta Airlines [14] got the highest score; Sony [-21] got the lowest
  • The criteria break down into four categories: Value, Navigation, Presentation, and Trust. Banks struggled the most with the Value criteria, while the other industries struggled most with Navigation criteria.
  • For each of the 25 criteria, sites received a grade between -2 (severe failure) to +2 (best practice); a pass is +1 or more. Here are the criteria with the lowest average scores across the sites:
    • Is text legible? [-2.0]
    • Is the task flow efficient? [-1.5]
    • Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors? [-1.2]
    • Does the site present privacy and security policies in context? [-1.0]
    • Does the landing page(s) provide evidence that the user goals can be completed? [-0.9]
    • Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise? [-0.9]
    • Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories? [-0.5]
    • Do interactive elements behave as expected? [-0.4]

Interestingly, these results are consistent with the findings that I discussed in my first post Lessons Learned From 1,001 Web Site Reviews

I need to give a shout out to the Vidya Drego, Adele Sage, and Andrew McInnes who did most of the hard work on the research.

The bottom line: There’s no good reason for a bad Web experience.

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

One Response to The Best And Worst Of Website Design

  1. Hi there

    I work for an Internet Specialist in essex so I understand the importance of ahving a great site, big corporate companies such as the ones listed really should invest in getting not only a good looking site but a highly functional site too otherwise a smaller company with a more corporate look will get the edge over them and it would be there own fault!
    Good article alltogether, good insight.


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