Bad design owing to a lack of testing and prototyping is putting users off using companies' e-commerce websites, according to a leading ergonomics expert.
"Websites and other human/machine interfaces are designed so badly that people just give up," said Tom Stewart, Ergonomic Society award-winner and managing director of ergonomics consultancy System Concepts. "[Websites] are not designed for real people," he added.
"The problem with Web sites is that they are hardly ever subject to prototyping and usability testing like other products," Stewart said. "They should match the way people work and be tested on the kind of equipment that will be used to access them.
"Too many sites are heavy on graphics which take a long time for the user to download. Web screens are not just sugar coating they are more fundamental - especially in e-business," he said.
Stewart won the society's Otto Edholm Award this year for his contribution to applied research in ergonomics.
Although his work over the past 30 years covers many industries and applications, Stewart is internationally recognised as an expert in VDU health and safety and has been consulted on this subject by the World Health Organisation and the UK Government's Health and Safety Executive.