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Wichita U: Design Trumps Usability

A recent study found that a usable site gives you an upper hand, though a well designed site takes the jackpot. The researchers at Wichita State University’s Software Usability Research Lab (SURL) confirmed earlier findings that first impressions can determine whether someone likes a site—even in the first one-twentieth of a second.

sites in study: www.australia.com and www.renttoownrealestate.com

good and bad design sites utilized in the study

Their study went on to prove that good designs are perceived to be more usable. They used two sites, one well designed and the other not. Both sites were altered so there were high usability and low usability versions of each. Then 160 users reviewed the four versions. The users rated the well designed site with low usability as being better to navigate than the ill designed site with high usability. Thus, high usability cannot overcome a bad design.

Want to get a full house each time you deal? Then hire user experience professionals with design and usability skills; they’ll make you royally flush with pride at their results.

the research: SURL or a better designed version at Human Factors International


  1. Helena says:

    Good point Dennis. You should also add to the eqtuaion that resolutions change quickly in the mobile space. It took quite a few years before people on the PC started to move from 800×600 to resolutions like 1280 or more today. In the mobile space we moved fairly quickly from 128×128 to 320×240 or similar which is almost 3 times wide (or high depending if it’s landscape or portrait).Web designers need to try to cope with this and make a design that will look cool on an iPhone or S60, but also usable on the highly successful Series 40 from Nokia or medium-low range devices from Samsung or LG. While we all like to work on cool, powerful and smart devices, we need to remember that the majority of customers buy phones in the range of 100 Euro or whatever their operator provides for (nearly-)free.Some standardization would be great.

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