Like their Systems cousins, Consumer websites are complicated beasts. Each must market a wide variety of products to a group of audiences with varying degrees of technical knowledge; employ strong calls to action that engage visitors and encourage them to become customers; maintain a comprehensive catalog of resources that support customers once they’ve acquired products — and they must do all of this while also providing powerful eCommerce systems that allow for immediate purchase.
On the other hand, these sites are exempt from certain tasks like providing corporate blogs, channel & alliance/partner marketing, services marketing, or industry marketing because they do not apply to the Consumer business model.
However, some Consumer websites pull double duty on the siteIQ Usability Index and are categorized into more than one industry group because they provide products and services that are suitable for multiple audiences.
To assess how well prominent Consumer sites market, sell, and support their visitors, the siteIQ team conducts siteIQ Usability Index evaluations, which measure website usability and effectiveness from the visitor’s point of view. These evaluations are conducted using the Consumer version of the siteIQ Best Practices Usability Benchmark, which includes 342 questions across five major categories and 13 distinct sub-categories.
These questions measure the overall practicality, versatility, and convenience of any given website. A second review recategorizes the 342 questions into 16 unique Usability Dimensions that illustrate how sufficiently each website allows users to achieve common tasks, objectives, and goals.
The results of these evaluations allow the team to rank and rate each site based on category — and sub-category scores — and to determine the winner overall. This case study announces key findings for the Consumer industry segment based on Website Usability and Website Usability by Dimension scores.
The websites evaluated in this segment include: Apple.com, Dell.com, HP.com, Lenovo.com, LG.com, and Samsung.com.
Samsung.com wins the Consumer segment by a notable margin — and is the only Consumer website we track that earns an Average Competitive Rating. Every other site in this segment earns an Overall Website Usability score that rates as Below Average or Poor. This is alarming because it suggests that Consumer websites aren’t nearly as easy to use as they should be given that their audiences range from novice to expert level visitors.
But Overall Usability isn’t the only area of concern. Several of these sites display challenges across key and critical sub-categories that should be the foundation of any website that’s worth its salt.
Most concerning are Product Marketing scores below 50% across five of the six tracked sites, Call to Action scores that are below 60% across every site, and Online Support scores that hover around 60% for four of the six sites. These less-than-stellar scores are especially disheartening and signal that Consumer sites struggle to achieve some of their most important objectives.
It’s also discouraging to note that these sites perform poorly when it comes to tasks that are tangential to purchasing processes. In particular, Corporate Information scores are low across each of the six sites as are scores for Press Coverage/Information, and three of the six completely fail to provide any information or resources related to corporate events.
A view of scores based on Usability by Dimension doesn’t paint a very pretty picture either. In fact, every site scores below 55% for the Ease of Locating Content & Features Dimension and at least three of the six scores below 60% for Ease of Locating Links, Ease of Understanding Content & Features, Thoroughness of Content, Ease of Using Resources & Features, and Logic of Features & Site Zones. More troublesome still is that every site tanks when it comes to Visitor Interaction and Online Selling & Sales Links — which should be two things that Consumer sites do extremely well.
Thus, there’s plenty of room for improvement on Consumer sites when it comes to website usability and effectiveness. Unfortunately, it’s not likely that improvements will be made anytime soon as subpar scoring has been the status quo for quite some time. This means that Consumer users are continually left to their own devices when it comes to researching, selecting, and purchasing products.
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About the siteIQ Usability Index
siteIQ evaluated the twenty-five Tech Websites listed on the 2020 siteIQ Usability Index. These Websites are categorized into five industry-specific segments including:
- Software (Adobe.com, Citrix.com, IBM.com, Microsoft.com, Oracle.com, SAP.com, Symantec.com)
- Systems (CDW.com, Dell.com, HPE.com, Huawei Enterprise, IBM.com, Intel.com, Lenovo.com)
- Networking (Cisco.com, Juniper.net, PaloAltoNetworks.com, Riverbed.com)
- Cloud (AWS.com, Google Cloud, Salesforce.com, VMWare.com)
- Consumer (Apple.com, Dell.com, HP.com, Lenovo.com, LG.com, Samsung.com)
These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2020 edition of the siteIQ Usability Index Best Practices Benchmark, which tracks results in 18 sub-categories and 16 Usability Dimensions.
The 2020 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2020.
Category: Index Rankings
Class: Website Reviews and Rankings
Websites Profiled: siteIQ Usability Index Websites – Tech Industry