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[October 6, 2004]

Sterling Audits Releases Two 2004 Usability Almanacs

 

BY DAVID R. BUTCHER


Sterling Audits, a customer service automation and contact centers improvement firm, has announced the availability of two new research reports: �Web Site Usability Almanac 2004� and �Voice Response Usability Almanac 2004�. Both almanacs cover nine industry segments, in order: communications, financial services, government, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, retail, transportation and utilities.

The research is based on a joint research initiative�s output, the initiative sponsored by Sterling Audits� research staff and its research affiliates, which include BenchmarkPortal, Elrod Interactive, OPUS Research, Intelemedia and WesBro associates.




Geared toward Web site self-service and customer service automation stakeholders, the �Web Site Usability Almanac 2004� looks at the usability of commercial and non-profit Web sites, with an eye on customer service and automation. The research base includes thousands of Web sites from all nine of the aforementioned industry segments. The almanac concentrates on survey results of each Web site in five critical areas: navigation, content, usability, interactivity and credibility.

The benchmarking data, according to Sterling Audits, will reveal what "best in class" is for each covered industry, enabling readers to peg the top performance averages in each segment and each critical survey area.

The Web usability almanac, like most books, is arranged by chapter. There is an introductory chapter and an approach and methodology chapter, while the remaining chapters are dedicated to the survey results in the five critical areas. There are over 200 graphs and charts in this almanac.

The second almanac released by Sterling Audits, for voice response usability and geared toward stakeholders in telephone-based self-service or customer service automation, concentrates on automated telephone systems for customer service. Like the Web site usability book, �Voice Response Usability Almanac 2004� includes surveys from the same nine industry segments and concentrates on the same five critical areas. This study, however, relays the temporal nature of interactive response.

The survey used to attain the almanac�s results applied data from over 70 questions, some conditional questions, to characterize each voice response system. After introductory chapters on Sterling Audits� methodology and approach to the survey instrument, each chapter is based on the critical areas mentioned above. There are over 100 graphs and charts in this almanac.

Edited by Sterling Audits & Consulting co-founder and 25-year industry veteran Edwin Margulies, these publications come after six months of study on self-service usability based on the Sterling Audits Usability Index, a research index for service automation systems and a tool for customer service executives to implement their own research instrument for scoring and weighting the effectiveness of self-service systems.

David R. Butcher is the assistant editor for Customer Inter@ction Solutions Magazine.

Purchase reprints of this article by calling (800) 290-5460 or buy them directly online at www.reprintbuyer.com.

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