J.D. Power & Associates did a study for automotive manufacturer websites. They found that users were more likely to buy a car IF the manufacturer’s website put the data — especially pricing — about models in the forefront and kept the fancy flash interface elements (virtual test drives, 360 degree rotations) to a minimum. Also of note, speed of the website contributed greatly to user satisfaction. Hmmmm, does this really surprise anybody? At least this is great validation for the usability mantra we’ve been chanting for the last 3 or 4 years. Link to study here.
Incidentally, they came up with a median rating for the industry. I’m proud to say we worked on part of Kia‘s online dealer training and they are above the median score. The Big 3 were below the median … yikes, and they wonder why they need bailout money. I bet they spend millions on their websites with litte regard for usability. “Chairman, we need more rotating Ram Pickups!” Resounding yesses from around the big cherrywood conference table. Stocks plummet.