7-11 milk experiment

A 7-11 Milk Experiment is a usability study, sort of:

The idea is that if we gave you a person with a poured bowl of cereal and no milk and you went to that personӒs house, picked them up, drove them to a 7-Eleven, gave them enough money to buy milk, and sent them into the 7-Eleven, 100 percent of the time, that person would successfully buy milk, explained Jared M. Spool, UIEԒs founding principal. We tried something similar with Web sites.Ӕ

They gave users some money and some web sites to go to and a task to buy a specific item sold on those sites and found the success rate to be just 30%. What it means is even if your site loads fast and looks great, if the navigation sucks, it doesn't matter because you won't sell much because users won't be able to find it (or won't be able to figure out how to check out - or just won't bother). The article is Usability and organization are key to site-visitor satisfaction on Tech Republic. You may have to log in - it doesn't cost anything to register and the article is well worth reading.

Jared Spool's site is User Interface Engineering. You can buy the whole study there for about $25.
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