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John Lewis ranked top for usability

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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.

In second place was the Early Learning Centre (90%), followed by last year’s joint leaders, Marks & Spencer (86%), now in third place and WHSmith (85%), now fourth.

In fifth place came Bootswith a score of 80, level with last year.

Jonathon Brown, head of online selling at John Lewis, said: “Our ongoing mission is to run a website that offers the same level of service our customers have come to expect when coming into our stores. Winning accolades such as this, combined with the current sales performance of the site, shows that we are on the right path."

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.”

But although most of the top five improved their scores on their results last year, Webcredible says there is room for improvement in ecommerce websites. The report shows that while most websites scored well with transparent check-out and delivery charges, with an average score of 4.9 out of five, most lost marks for failing to show a highly visible ‘proceed to checkout’ button. Many also failed to track items that had been previously viewed in order to improve the shopping experience.

Moss said: “It is clear that the many sites scoring between 70% and 50% can do much more to improve the usability of their online offering.”

The full rankings, scores and report can be found here: www.webcredible.co.uk/ecommerce2010.
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