The Best And Worst Of Website Design

We just published Best And Worst Of B2C Site Design, 2008 which evaluated the consumer-facing Websites of the following 16 large companies (this was part of our cross-channel evaluations):

  • Airlines: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Air Lines
  • Banks: Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wachovia, Wells Fargo
  • Department stores: JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears
  • Mp3 manufacturers: Apple, Creative, iRiver, Sony

The research used Forrester’s Web Site Review methodology (which is a form of an expert review) to grade the experiences across 25 criteria. Here are some of the findings from the research:

  • None of the sites received a passing score [25 or higher]; the overall average was -5.2
  • Airlines [0.8] got the highest average score; MP3 manufacturers [-17] got the lowest
  • Delta Airlines [14] got the highest score; Sony [-21] got the lowest
  • The criteria break down into four categories: Value, Navigation, Presentation, and Trust. Banks struggled the most with the Value criteria, while the other industries struggled most with Navigation criteria.
  • For each of the 25 criteria, sites received a grade between -2 (severe failure) to +2 (best practice); a pass is +1 or more. Here are the criteria with the lowest average scores across the sites:
    • Is text legible? [-2.0]
    • Is the task flow efficient? [-1.5]
    • Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors? [-1.2]
    • Does the site present privacy and security policies in context? [-1.0]
    • Does the landing page(s) provide evidence that the user goals can be completed? [-0.9]
    • Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise? [-0.9]
    • Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories? [-0.5]
    • Do interactive elements behave as expected? [-0.4]

Interestingly, these results are consistent with the findings that I discussed in my first post Lessons Learned From 1,001 Web Site Reviews

I need to give a shout out to the Vidya Drego, Adele Sage, and Andrew McInnes who did most of the hard work on the research.

The bottom line: There’s no good reason for a bad Web experience.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

One thought on “The Best And Worst Of Website Design”

  1. Hi there

    I work for an Internet Specialist in essex so I understand the importance of ahving a great site, big corporate companies such as the ones listed really should invest in getting not only a good looking site but a highly functional site too otherwise a smaller company with a more corporate look will get the edge over them and it would be there own fault!
    Good article alltogether, good insight.


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