A recent study of 121 most popular websites in the country by online research firm JuxtConsult has revealed that only 26 of them qualify to be called user-friendly.
Of the 26 user-friendly websites, 12 websites -- Shopping, Shaadi, Yatra, HSBC, Jobstreet, Ebay, Spicejet, Travelguru, SimplyMarry, Citibank, Reliance and Samsung -- are in the 'best practice group,' scoring more than 95 per cent points.
Websites in the 85 to 95 per cent range qualified in the 'user-friendly group' included Naukri, Amazon, Bharatmatrimony, ICICI Bank, HDFC, NSE, Timesjobs, Rediff shopping, SBI, Indiabulls and BSE.
Of the remaining 95 websites tested, 45 websites' (37 per cent) performance was average, qualifying in the 'just about satisfactory group.' This group also has some of the most popular sites, including Hotmail, Yahoo email, Gmail, Air Deccan, Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Monster, Jobsahead, Makemytrip, Cleartrip and social networking sites like Orkut and Hi5.
Nearly 42-50 per cent websites performed below-average and were classified in the 'need definite improvement group.' They included recently acquired website by Google, Youtube, besides online majors like Yahoo portal, Wikipedia, Indian railway booking site IRCTC, banking site ICICI Direct and content sites, Money Control and Times of India.
Interestingly, majority of the 26 highly user-friendly websites come from the world of e-commerce.
"The websites, which depend more on generating revenues directly from their user, tend to care more for the users' convenience and work towards making their websites easier to use compared with the free content usage websites like portals, email websites, social networking sites, news sites and public information websites," observed Sanjay Tiwari, director, JuxtConsult.
The evaluation and classification of the top 121 highly popular websites in India was done by JuxtConsult by measuring these websites on 32 individual criteria grouped under six different usability aspects, branding, navigation structure and value added features, website design, company and contact info, contact responsiveness and technical parameters.
To make the study fairly comprehensive and representative, top 5-6 websites from 23 popular online categories were included. The top 5-6 websites from each of these categories were selected using a combination of the Alexa traffic ranking data and the user preference of these websites measured through a large online internet survey conducted by JuxtConsult in May 2006 under its 'India Online 2006' study.