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Usability demands emotional buy-in

Nichola Wilkinson, eCommerce manager, Incisive Media told delegates at an AOP forum on 19 September that usability is about the people, first and foremost.

In order to ensure usability is on the company agenda, Wilkinson explained: “You have to get an emotional buy-in, focus on the objectives of the organisation and the desired outcome of your stakeholders.” But she urged that publishers not to forget that the website is for the user: “Perception is the most important thing - don’t be afraid to ask the user what they want.”

The AOP event, titled 'Perfecting Usability’, explored the tools and technologies that can be adopted to track behavioural patterns in target audiences and the way they interact and navigate through the online experience to improve the efficiency and usability of a digital product.

Delegates were taken through the history of usability by Catriona Campbell, chairman of Foviance, who stressed the importance of employing a combination of behavioural research, web analytics and survey methods in order to truly understand the users and their needs.

Max Gadney, head of design and audience insight for BBC News Interactive, explored the role of usability in the product development lifecycle. He advocated an iterative approach to product development, saying that "Innovation is a side effect of good product development". Gadney also argued that there is no point in having audience data if you don't know how to apply it operationally.

Dan Sivak, managing director of design and production company CDSM, reminded delegates of the legal obligations surrounding accessibility and highlighted that anyone should be able to use, navigate and understand a website.

Linked resource: AOP member guidance on web accessibility - download nowDownload Type: pdf
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