The cost of developing a website can be considerable and there is ample literature describing how to build effective websites. However, despite this many small businesses embark on the development of a website without any real understanding of what they are trying to achieve, who their audience is and the impact poor design will have on usability and user satisfaction. This paper discusses the results of a study that examined user reactions to a number of small business web sites. In particular it explored the interaction of different design factors on users. The study found that in many cases the websites are not meeting the needs of their audience. Specifically users become frustrated when attention is not paid to the design and quality of the information, the quality of the interface impacts on task completion and sites users find uninteresting are usually those they also had difficulty navigating and interacting with. Whilst none of this should be surprising, what is surprising is the continuing lack of attention paid to website usability.
Fisher, Julie; Craig, Annemieke; and Bentley, John, "Evaluating Small Business Web Sites - Understanding Users" (2002). ECIS 2002 Proceedings. 58.