Forrester Brief - Web Sites Continue To Fail The Usability Test(free registration required)
Forrester analyzed over 450 sites using the same criteria and concluded most of them suck. Retail was best and telecom sites were the worst.
The article basically re-states many of the same themes that you hear from the usability experts out there. It surprises me that companies continue to pour money into these sites and ignore some of the basics.
The basics can be summed up a simply as this:
- Understand your target audience
- Figure out what they do most on your site
- Make the most common tasks apparent and easy-to-use.
- Improve search capability
The article also provides some interesting graphs and the writing is clear and free from using technical terms. I love this quote:
Word of advice: Customers never come to your site with the objective of being exposed to your brand messages or to be cross-sold new products.
If you're interested in a good book on usability, read "Don't Make Me Think- A Common Sense Guide To Web Usability" by Steven Krug and Roger Black.