Un-Friendly Sites Are Losing Companies Customers

Enterprises are missing out on profits because of poor web site design Adobe has claimed.

While many consumer web sites are designed to attract people with clear designing and interactive tools, too many enterprise sites were more basic and less user-friendly. This was turning potential customers off and losing possible business.

"Good design helps business not just at the top line by increasing interactions, but also in making more business and becoming more profitable," said Ben Watson, the principal product marketing manager of Enterprise User Experience for Adobe's Digital Enterprise Solutions Business Unit.

Companies had to clearly identify their customers and the needs they were looking to fill before embarking on this route however he explained. This needs collaboration between business managers, designers and site builders to get the best possible result.

Adobe has been working the South African Revenue Service (SARS) on just such a system, with very positive results.

Despite having some back end IT systems SARS, which collects tax and customs revenue for the government, had been sending out 30 page tax forms and taking 90 days to supply refunds. However the decision was made to move to electronic filing since the main SARS building could no longer house the sheer volume of paper.

"We wanted to change the perception of the taxman being a nasty person," said Christopher Belford, systems integrator with SARS.

The organization designed a new web site that was more customer friendly and cut the tax forms from 30 pages to two. To incentivize users it also offered a four month extension if users filed online.

As a result the number of people filing taxes online jumped from 25,000 to 1.6 million within a few weeks and now 95 per cent of South African businesses now filed their taxes online.

In addition by 2007 SARS processed 65 per cent of all tax returns and dispensed refunds in 24 hours and that has now risen to 85-90 per cent.

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