I'm currently working on a project to dig into the accessibility issues that web designers need to consider when building new sites. Among the companies I am talking to is Keynote Systems who label themselves as a provider of Internet test and measurement services. A lot of what we're talking about here is the experience users are having on a site dependent on the level and type of accessibility challenges that they personally have to work with.
Simple things like colour contrast may not seem too important to you - but if you are colour blind then use of reds and greens suddenly become a whole lot more important. Keynote says its monitoring technologies provide a useful insight in the way sites are used so that they can be refined and, well, made a bit better.
The interesting thing here is that if a site is improved from an accessibility perspective, the upshot is that usage is generally improved for all users not just blind or hearing impaired people, or those with motor or cognitive challenges that they need to overcome.
Let's go one step further then and talk not just about user experience measurement in this quite basic sense - can we also determine the digital mood people experience when online?
Free image use: Wikimedia Commons
Behavioural analytics player SeeWhy Software reckons they have a customer experience system that can track an individual’s digital mood resulting from their ecommerce experience. The idea of course is to track what happened to customers who have been affected by poor online sessions and serve those folks better next time around.
SeeWhy says that, “With dozens of potential causes of poor performance, the online experiences of different customers can vary significantly, so only by measuring actual experiences can an organisation reliably assess quality. Measuring individual customers’ online experiences in real time is the only way to optimise customer service and head off web application performance issues before they affect the business.”
This type of measurement is carried out a range of best practice key performance indicators (KPIs) such as page errors, page load times and abandonment of critical processes.
OK, so they’re definitely trying to be cute with their whole “online mood” idea, but they may have something up their sleeve here. Any period spent shopping online surely leaves you feeling good, bad or indifferent. But that’s usually a result of whether the site has been designed well enough to process your transaction without an endless stream of silly menus.
Again, it comes back to the experience of the individual while online and we’re all different aren’t we?