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John Lewis‘s website has overtaken those of competitors Marks & Spencer and WHSmith to take top spot in Webcredible’s latest ranking of the top 20 high street retailers according to usability.

The 2010 Online Usability Report from user experience consultancy Webcredible gave John Lewis 91% for usability, up from 81% in 2009.

Webcredible evaluates the websites according to their complete ecommerce experience, including browsing and navigation, the checkout process, searching and product display pages.

Trenton Moss, director of Webcredible, said: “This has been another year of continuous improvement in website scores, which is good news for consumers trying to find good deals. The 2010 report indicates ecommerce is one of the most advanced sectors in ensuring usability is at the forefront of the proposition.”
The 20 guidelines for the usabaility measurement are:

1. Search function is in the same place on every page and is highly visible
2. A link to both the basket and checkout is clearly visible on every page
3. Price is always clearly displayed next to any product
4. Users are given help in choosing products
5. Store locator is easy to find and use [New guideline]
6. Online business proposition is clear on the website [New guideline]
Search results
7. Number of results and search term are clearly displayed at the top
8. Option to change the number of products displayed is provided
9. Sort and filter options are available
10. Orientation cues are provided and clearly visible on the homepage
11. Navigation within a category is possible
12. Website tracks previously viewed items [New guideline]
Product page
13. Highly visible ‘Add to basket’ button provided
14. Product description & enlargeable image offered
15. Similar & complementary products available
16. Highly visible ‘Proceed to checkout’ button at the top and bottom
17. The same form is used for both logging in and registering
18. Highly visible progress bar provided during checkout
19. Delivery costs are highlighted at the very beginning of the process
20. Users are provided with sufficient help when an error is made

The full report can be downloaded here.

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