Wherefore art thou O Usability?

The missing link between usability and profitability

I’ll share some research that shows a direct link between usability and site purchases across the e-commerce venues of travel, music and books.

For those of us developing our professional vocabulary, this research area covers the concept of “cognitive lock-in.” Cognitive lock-in represents consumers whose shopping habits bring them back to a site enough to return again and again – they have “locked-in” to the ease of use of that site and make repeated purchases over time. (For example, are you an Amazon shopper, yet?)

That is, customers are motivated by usability (albeit unconsciously). These customers want to avoid the cognitive effort of learning how to shop at an alternative site. They have “cognitive lock-in” with your site. Perhaps you have the experience of cognitive lock-in yourself.

We can adopt an evolution metaphor to chart the steps of increasing management support for usability. That is, some managers miss seeing the link between your usability efforts and increased profitability for their web site. However, the following discussion on cognitive lock-in can support your claims that usability indeed contributes directly to greater profitability.

You now have “the missing link” to show your team.

Article by Human Factors in their UI Design newsletter:

‘Cognitive lock-in’ occurs when users return to a site because they have learnt how to use it and don’t want to invest time and effort learning to do so on an alternative site. ‘Cognitive lock-in’ increases the likelihood of repeat sales and this article suggest that the key to ‘cognitive lock-in’ is usability…

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About Objective Experience

Objective Experience is your partner for customer experience strategy, research, design and usability testing. Our team of passionate Customer Experience Consultants uncover insights from your customers to optimize customer journeys across all digital and physical channels – mobile apps, websites, systems, shopper and retail. We research on how customers interact with products, services and environments through interviews, surveys, focus groups, desk research, eye tracking and usability testing. Actionable recommendations are developed from our in-depth observations and testing. Our partners and clients come from a wide range of businesses and industries - from large financial institutions and government organisations to technical consultancies, Universities and not-for-profit businesses. Objective Digital Holdings Pty Ltd has offices in Sydney (Objective Experience Sydney) and Singapore (Objective Experience Singapore). Eye Tracking, CX, UX, Usability Testing, Shopper Research & Design Thinking across Australasia and South East Asia.

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