Article written by former Bunnyfoot Director Stewart Pleace
– appeared in New Media Age November 2006.
There are a whole host of agencies out there who now seem to offer an all-encompassing package of services, from graphic design through to customer research, usability and accessibility. It’s quite a challenge to sift through them all and get a proper understanding of what they offer, and whether or not the fact that they offer an all-in-one package is of benefit to the business.
Personally speaking, having been in both camps, I’ve been exposed to a variety of agencies – mostly online – who offer a full package and I’ve also talked to specialist agencies as well. What I found is that it’s beneficial to have a different agency running the usability and accessibility as they are a second set of eyes and not too close to the project.
As a business, I looked for usability professionals who were open and honest about their credentials, partnerships and didn’t seek to put one over on other professionals. More importantly companies seek a relationship where the usability professional not only promotes the most usable of interfaces (whether online, hard copy application forms and customer statements) but learns and retains the important aspects for the business. There is an increasing requirement to prove return on investment for usability.
A lot of businesses still focus on the bottom line as they should, usability professionals equally should be looking at potential client’s key issues and working with them to prove the effectiveness and ultimately either increase in revenue or reduction in operational costs.