Site design as a business decision

An article in PC Magazine talks about how usability affects user interaction and business patronage. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, that person and all the people around her are desperate for information. They want the facts quickly—especially details about the specific cancer, the prognosis, the courses of treatment, the clinical research, and so on. The trauma they've just been handed is mind-boggling. It shouldn't be compounded by the frustration of a Web site that's supposed to help but is instead difficult to use. ... "Building sites around the way users work, whether that is looking for information on cancer research or buying a CD, as opposed to around a company or organization's view, is unfortunately not the norm," says Eric Schaffer, president of Human Factors International. Designing a site according to how people will use it may sound like a common-sense strategy, but it turns out to be extremely unusual—not only for a government agency but for all Web sites.