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  Net Worth

Posted 08/13/2004
By Colby Horton

Shop Site of the Month

Jeffery's Auto Body - North Syracuse, N.Y.
www.jeffreysautobody.com

shop site

This site's clean design, navigation and color scheme give it a professional look and feel. The site offers a "Quote Request" page, allowing a visitor to receive an estimate for repair. Customers can also track the repair of their vehicle from the shop's Web site. A comprehensive "About Us" section, warranty information and "Consumer Rights" page make this site informative.


Web Wise

Redesigning Your Shop's Web Site - Part 6

It's been a long and arduous process, but this is the final installment in Net Worth's series on redesigning your shop's Web site. We completed organizational steps, navigation schemes, content and communication tools. It's now time to conduct usability tests for your site. Above all, this is the most important step in the redesign process and cannot be left out.

Remember that you have created your Web site for your customers. Therefore, your customers are the ones who must be able to find everything within your site. Here is where you test the usability of your navigation, the comprehension of your content and the accessibility of your communication tools. Bottom line: all redesigned Web sites contain unseen problems. You want to fix these problems before launching your new site.

Here's the best way to conduct your first few usability tests: Ask a friend or customer to visit your new site. Ideally, it would be best for you to be in the same room as your "tester." Explain that you won't be able to answer any questions during the test, but that you would like to hear what the tester thinks is perplexing about the site. Observe how he or she navigates the site; notice what might be confusing. Take detailed notes that will ultimately help you fix the problems before launching the site to a broader audience. After 10 or 15 minutes, get verbal feedback from your tester. Find out his or her overall impression and take down suggestions on how to make the site even better. This is a humbling experience, but one that is important.

To conduct an accurate usability test, it's a good idea to find five people to look at your new site. Having separate people look at your site from five different perspectives will fix most of the initial problems of the redesigned site.

If you've missed any of the previous articles in this series, you can visit AutoInc. Online at www.autoinc.org and click on "Previous Issues." The full text of Net Worth, and all other editorial content, can be found on the AutoInc. Web site.

Net Numbers

The average number of e-mails that U.S. online consumers receive per year will increase to more than 1,600 in 2005.

Source: Jupiter Research

ASA Web Ways

Shop Management Software Guide

Last month's Shop Management Software Guide was expanded from years past, including almost 100 features incorporated into various software products. Due to space constraints, not all features were published in the print version of the magazine. But the online version of AutoInc. assimilates all of the software features from participating companies. ASA members can also participate in an online discussion forum created exclusively for the 2004 software issue. Go to www.autoinc.org and click on "Software Guide" from the left menu.

Hot Sites

Conducting Usability Tests
Human Factors International: www.humanfactors.com
Keynote: www.keynote.com
The Site Doctor: www.thesitedoctor.com
UseIt: www.useit.com
Web Reference: www.webreference.com

Colby Horton Net Worth is written by Colby Horton, ASA's electronic communications manager. He can be reached at (800) 272-7467, ext. 234, or by e-mail at colbyh@asashop.org.


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