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Web Support Assessment Techniques
Publication date: 12/06

Executive summary

Web support sites are often so complex that it's hard for developers to spot critical problems with navigation and functionality. Anecdotal comments by users can help identify many individual glitches, but comments rarely provide a big-picture view of problems with usability, performance, or design. Drawing on ten years of experience with the ASP's annual "Ten Best Web Support Sites" awards and other custom assessment projects, Jeffrey Tarter describes five separate techniques for systematically analyzing Web support sites:
  • Task-Oriented Scenario Analysis
  • Traffic Analysis
  • Design and Copy Review
  • Knowledgebase Analysis
  • Competitive Benchmarking
"Each of these techniques can provide useful, systematic information about a site's strengths and weaknesses," Tarter says. "But there are important synergies when you combine several of these views of the site. Real customers bring several different perspectives to a site—such as overall navigational logic, expectations set by other sites, basic search functionality, fits and finishes, and more—and the best way to analyze a site is to capture these multiple views."

An integrated view also helps site developers define priorities for upgrades and enhancements, the report notes. "Anecdotal analysis inevitably leads to 'squeeky wheel' fixes, not a balanced plan," says Tarter.

Copies of the Web assessment techniques report are free to ASP members
in the members-only area.

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