Surfability News: Press coverage

To appear in the August 2002 Free Radicals newsletter:

"Science and Surfability -
From particle physics to web analytics"

The benefits that come from improving a website's ease-of-use are well known, but usability studies are intrinsically slower and more labour intensive than the new method currently being developed by Surfability Limited. The Surfability solution is fast, painless and completely automated, and, unlike other approaches, the resulting improvements in usability are measurable.

Rival methods for measuring a website's effectiveness are mainly intended for commercial websites which are concerned with luring and capturing potential customers, whereas the Surfability technique is geared more towards information-rich websites like corporate intranets, which have dependent audiences. Surveys reveal that the key drivers for intranet users are that useful information is easy to find, up-to-date and relevant; the portal is well-organised; and the site is easy to navigate. Employers, however, simply want to retain staff and save money, and they are therefore willing to invest in corporate portals and knowledge management software.

Company background

As former particle physicists the Surfability team have many years of experience working within international collaborations, sharing knowledge, developing software, and analysing complex data. At the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California in 1999 they completely restructured the BaBar Physics collaboration's website which then comprised some 200,000 documents. In February 2001 Surfability Limited was incorporated and began trading, specialising in intranet redesigns. Then, in January of this year they won a Smart award from the Department of Trade and Industry to carry out a nine-month feasibility study.

Dr. Mark Williams, the company's Managing Director, said:

"The Smart award will enable us to develop and test a radical new approach to redesigning websites. We hope to demonstrate scientifically that our software can accurately measure a website's ease-of-use."

Future plans

If the results of their feasibility study are positive, they will require external investment to fund further product development and a marketing campaign. Their long-term aim is to become a major player in the fields of knowledge management and web analytics.

Released on June 22nd 2002

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