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Usability also benefits nature - 25/11/2008

A few months ago, Computerworld published a survey stating that many banking Web sites just aren't very user-friendly and presented a number of usability problems. The study done by Web usability experts from Change Sciences Group Inc, with 16 online banking sites, found:

Recent studies from Nielsen Norman Group show that 30% to 40% attempts to buy online fail because the websites are too complicated to use.

But what in the world does this has to do with nature and environment?

When a consumer performs an operation online, uses internet banking or shops in a virtual store, he does not use his car or public transport.

When a company substitutes successfully a paper form for an online form, it not only saves money from buying paper, but also contributes to reduce the ecological footprint of production (forest conservation, energy and water consumption, transport etc.).

If websites were easy to use, much more people would do operations online in their homes or offices saving many trips. If a Web site or a system is difficult to use, less people will use it. If they are obliged to use it, they will use it at minimum, reducing the benefits for the company and for the planet.

For technology to effectively help people and nature, companies must create websites, intranets and products that are usable and easy to use. Here usability research and advice can help.

Usability is a new discipline that focuses on human-computer interaction, communication and engineering. It improves websites, mobile phones and other new media by testing interfaces, observing and measuring user behavior. Interviews are conducted to map the social and cultural context or the ethnographic factors that influence the usability of technology. Usability research leads to advice on technological or communication improvements of products and services.

In the end investing in usability is also contributing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and global warming.

Mercedes Sanchez
Usability expert

See also

The way to provide effective international user experience is doing local user research studies, with local users.

Global studies

What users say

"Here, on this site, you know right away that you're not going to waste time looking for basic things just like what happened with the other site. I prefer this one, for sure."

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