Website ROI: An idea whose time has come A photo of a pile of money in EurosWhoever isn’t measuring ROI on their Web site is crazy, because it is measurable,” says David Schoonover, online and CRM marketing manager, Kia Motors to Computerworld. Right on!! The lack of attention to web ROI is one of the main reasons for the persistence of poor online management. When nobody cares about the return generated by a website (intranet or extranet), nobody respects it. And when nobody respects it, neglect and abuse soon follow. Websites like this are either left to stagnate or become corporate 'playthings' with no sense of purpose. What a waste of effort! What a waste of money! How much better it would be to have 1 or 2 key targets against which web value could be evaluated. And, by this I don't mean "hits". Although high levels of traffic are generally welcome, they must translate into something more concrete for success to be proven. For example, some of the ways in which ROI can be measured include:
  • Leads: How many extra sales leads have been obtained via the web?
  • Revenue: By how many has the number of abandoned carts been reduced as the result of a site redesign?
  • Costs: By how much have admin costs decreased as a result of putting customer self-service on an extranet?
These figures can then be gauged against the effort involved, e.g. money, time, people, meetings, etc. Only when this effort is exceeded by the resulting return, can you demonstrate that the investment was worth it.
Een goed webteam is precies groot genoeg ...which according to Babelfish means "A good webteam is exactly large enough". This is an authorised translation of my June 2006 article "How to plan manpower on a web team" for the Dutch design website
Big changes in website navigation
For a long time, the design of website navigation has been fairly standard. Most development teams have chosen one (or more) of the most common navigation systems in use and built their sites around that. Among the most popular of these are:
  • Horizontal lists: For global navigation, e.g.
  • Vertical lists: For global (e.g. or sublevel navigation (e.g.
  • Breadcrumb trails: To allow visitors to see their location within the site structure, e.g.
  • Index: Listing all content by category, e.g. Citizens Information
  • A-Z: Listing all content in alphabetical order, e.g. BBC
  • Sitemap: Providing a snapshot of the overall site structure, e. g.
  • Guided Tour: For new visitors, e.g.
  • Bookmarks: For returning visitors, e.g.
In many ways, this commonality is welcome. It means that visitors don't have learn another system of navigation everytime they visit a new website.
AJAXify yourself However, recent times has seen something of a resurgence in the creativity given to navigation design. For most part, this is being driven by AJAX and its ability to provide highly responsive interaction. A screengrab of the new navigation interface on Microsoft.comFor example, go to and click on a link in the top right-hand corner of the page, e.g. Downloads & Trials. Instead of the usual screen response (i.e. bringing you to another page), the next level of navigation appears within a layer over the homepage. Within this layer, visitors can scan their options and even select a preference for how the navigation will appear, e.g. as page thumbnails, or as plain text. Other sites that make similar use of AJAX for navigation include, Marks & Spencer and many others. All for the good? Whether all this creativity will work for the benefit of user is yet to be seen. However, some time ago I attended a workshop with Jesse James Garrett (author of the excellent "Elements of User Experience"). In that session he lamented the loss of the creativity of the early internet. He suggested that many great interface and navigation models were thrown by the wayside, simply because things were moving too fast. Perhaps now is the time to rediscover those lost ideas.