About Our Testing

Usability Ratings

What are Usability Ratings?

Web Site Usability is Rated with four components:
- the homepage
- content/product pages
- customer service
- order processing

The goal of Usability Rating is to determine the level of web site functionality from the perspective of a using consumer.

How is the Homepage Rated?
It is essential to make a good first impression. It is that first impression that makes a customer feel welcome and at home. The homepage is graded on its understandability, whether or not it has good eye appeal (good colors and visuals), whether or not it is well balanced and laid out nicely, and if it has a good selection of listings and categories. If any website page has excessive pop-ups or ads, Usability ratings are immediately lowered. Ads are extremely annoying, irritating and bothersome.

How are Content/Product Pages Rated?
These pages are scored on easy understandability and navigational ease. Is it easy to get from one page/visual to another and back again? Does it make sense? Or do you have to be a Rhodes scholar to figure it out? Content pages are rated on good selections, good visuals, descriptions and product information. Information and visuals are essential.

How is Customer Service Rated?
Outstanding customer service is critical. High credit is given for toll free phone numbers and easy-to-find contact links especially from the homepage. It is annoying to waste precious time searching for hard to find email contacts. Online help, live chats and Question & Answer pages are a real plus. Potential customers need to be able to contact websites!

How is Order Processing Rated?
The order processing consists of easy, understandable directions, navigation and speed. Is it easy to order? Does the shopping cart make sense? Can you go back, delete and move forward quickly? These factors are extremely important.

How do I know what �Good� and �Bad� Usability Scores are?
When you look at the SafeShoppingNetwork Web Site Usability Score, you are seeing the total score that results from the addition of the individual Home Page, Content/Delivery, Customer Service and Order Processing scores.� The maximum Total Usability Score possible is 100 points.

If you look at the chart below, you can see how web sites generally score when tested for Usability Ratings. The SafeShoppingNetwork excludes those sites that score below 70 points from our listings.

You can see from the chart that out of about 1000 sites tested for safety, none were automatically disqualified.� All tested web sites were found to score higher than our 70-point minimum.You can also see that most sites earn Usability Scores between 70 and 95 points.� The highest scoring Usability sites, from our test data, are those that score 95 or above.

Why are these findings so important?
The Usability of the Home Page, Content/Product Pages, Customer Service and Order Processing are of extreme importance to consumers. Usability ratings indicate how well the web site caters to consumer needs and how concerned the web site designer or owner are with consumer needs.

You can easily see for yourself how Usable a site is by looking at the meter bar. Nowhere else on the Internet will you find such objective and technical findings. There are many well-known sites out there that have a good appearance but with very poor Usability Ratings. Some sites have absolutely no regard for the consumer's needs. Our directory lists only the top rated sites.

Don't be fooled by "Awards" and "Citations"
As you travel the web, you'll inadvertently hit any number of websites that display different kinds of awards and citations for "good Usability". Those issuing such awards do not use software to objectively evaluate the website nor do they issue awards based on shopper evaluations. Safe Shopping Network does!

An Important Consumer Note
The SafeShoppingNetwork provides both general and detailed test scores to all listed web site managers. We also provide them with the tools to compare their scores to other web sites in their listing categories and, when requested, we provide them with consulting assistance so that they may improve their scores and their web site presentations.

The SafeShoppingNetwork commitment is to continuous Internet quality improvement. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our test technologies, our score reporting, and web site quality.