A recent ‘usability study’ amongst 121 most popular websites in the country, conducted by online research consultancy JuxtConsult, has found that only 19 (or about one in five) of them are really ‘customer-responsive’. That is, out of the 121 websites studied, only 19 of them replied appropriately to an email query sent to them either on their ‘contact us’ id and or their ‘feedback id.
The study has also found that among these 121 websites, 95 of them have a ‘contact us’ or a ‘feedback id’ or both the options available within two clicks. The rest 26 do not have any such online option at all.
Of all the 95 websites that have some form of online contact facility available, JuxtConsult’s testers sent a query to each one of them. Only 21 websites responded, with 19 of those responses being appropriate and two being only ‘interim’ automated replies.
Not surprisingly, the websites that responded to the queries are largely e-commerce sites or those depend on their users directly for revenue generations – while five of them are online shopping sites, a similar number of them are bank sites, and two each are ticketing, jobs, and matrimony sites. Also, 15 of these 19 customer responsive sites are the ones that have qualified to be defined either as ‘best practices sites’ or ‘user-friendly’ sites based on the ‘user-friendly index’ (UFI) developed by JuxtConsult.
Interestingly, in terms of the time it takes for these sites’ homepages to download, almost 46 percent of them take more than five seconds to open, which can be termed as ‘slow’ under the usability norms. Only 44 websites, or 36 percent of them, are really ‘quick’ to download, that is within three seconds.
JuxtConsult has undertaken this study as part of its efforts to measure and calculate the user-friendliness index of these the most popular websites in the country. In the study, all the 121 websites have been measured on the 32 individual usability criteria to arrive at the comprehensive usability index, or user-friendliness index of each of them. The study was conducted in May 2006 under JuxtConsult’s India Online 2006 study.
To make the study fairly comprehensive and representative, top five to six websites from 23 popular online categories have been included after using a combination of the Alexa traffic ranking data and the user popularity of these websites as measured through a large online survey.
TimesJobs.com, MagicBricks.com and SimplyMarry.com have scored above 85 percentage points in the survey based on their usability aspects such as navigation structure and clues, website design, company and contact information, contact responsiveness, and branding and technical parameters, compared across categories and all of them have been adjudged amongst the most user-friendly sites in the country.
Commenting on this achievement, Times Business Solutions President Sundar said, “The major victory with this recognition is that our enhanced products and services have not only been useful and unique as adjudged by this survey, but also shows the strength of Times Business Solutions in delivering results to users, who place their faith and trust in us.”