3 case studies on UD

Case Study 1: The Legal & General website

Legal & General, a UK supplier of financial services, were aware that their website was not designed to be as accessible and usable as it could be and in 2005 they undertook to improve the entire user-experience of their website.

Taking a user-centred approach, the site design involved identifying the needs of customers and existing challenges they faced when using the old site. They evaluated how customers use the site, using web analytics and relevant software. Finally, they carried out more general research on the needs of their customers, taking into consideration, for example that 3.2 million people in Britain have difficulty using inaccessible websites; 6 million have dyslexia; 1 person in 3 is over the age of 50; 3 million people speak English as a second language; 1.5 million lack basic language skills; and 5.2 million adults have sub-GCSE level English.

One immediate result of applying a more accessible, usable, and user-friendly design was a reduction in the time it takes for pages to load, with the pages on the new site taking one quarter of the time. Following the launch of the new website, Legal & General saw an increase of 13,000 visitors to their site each month. Online sales of insurance products increased by 90%. They saved £200,000 each year on website maintenance. And the entire project delivered 100% return-on-investment within just 12 months.

References

  • Socitm (2007). "A World Denied: Web Accessibility — The Movie." Produced by Socitm Insight and AbilityNet.
  • Wilton, D, and Howell, J. (2007). Accessibility helping business: the case of Legal & General in United Kingdom. Proceedings of the First European e-Accessibility Forum: Accessible on-line services, a benefit for all, 29th January, 2007. Paris, France.

Case Study 2: OXO Good Grips range

The OXO Good Grips range of kitchen utensils began with a goal: to produce a vegetable peeler that was easy to hold and use, regardless of strength or manual dexterity (the ability to use the hands without difficulty).

After researching existing designs of a variety of handled products, the OXO creators tested their design solutions at various stages with members of the public. They made an effort to incorporate every type of hand and hand problem into this user-testing design phase. So people from different age groups, with different hand sizes, different manual strength and dexterity abilities all took part.

Consideration was also given to the appearance of the peeler. OXO did not want to create an unattractive product, or people would not want to buy it. So they also searched for a "beautiful and inviting" design.

As OXO state "when all users' needs are taken into consideration in the initial design process, the result is a product that can be used by the broadest spectrum of users." This good business argument has resulted in OXO applying a Universal Design approach when designing any of their kitchen products. The outcome of this approach has been the creation of an internationally recognised brand, and they have won over 100 design awards. As for profits, in 1991, two years after product development began, the company made $3 million in sales. Since then sales have increased by 50 percent each year.

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Case Study 3: Tesco

At a meeting with the UK charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in 2000, supermarket giants Tesco were made aware that their website was not accessible to a considerable portion of the population. With the realisation that their current practice was excluding potential customers, they undertook to improve the accessibility and usability of their site.

In 2001, a new easy-access version of Tesco.com was launched, making the online shopping service available to a higher number of customers. In 2002-3, the web-based business made a profit of £12.2 million - more than 30 times that made in the previous year.

Following the success of their separate Access site, Tesco then explored ways of integrating the two sites. In 2005, a new service was launched with one set of features through two portals. This has enabled their Access customers to access the full set of features and functionality available on the standard grocery site.

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