Sample Business Analysis Paper on User Interface Design and Usability of Harvard Business Review

Introduction

 

The main mission of Harvard Business Review is to enhance the practice of management in the varying global business market. The company is providing several media services that may include Harvard Business Review , Press books , Harvard Business School Cases , blogs , events such as learning seminars , webinars as well as online learning , leadership direct , online course and simulations (Galitz, 2007). The company has also invested on its online mediums such as Harvard Business Review website in order to improve their information access experience and web presence. Strong cultural and ethical values are reflected through the development of websites as the company has given strong focus on security policies and procedures (Tidwell, 2010). The paper critically evaluate the Harvard business review website user interface designing , e-business models as well as business models.

Analysis of Harvard Business Review Website    

            Concept of User Interface Design              

The concept of user interface design is defined as evaluating the overall navigational aspects, color combinations and layout that can reflect the overall look and feel of the website (Johnson & Wiles, 2003).  When user interface of the website is designed using all relevant key factors such as its menus , submenus , search bar ,  header and footer designing,  proper alignment and representation of content , drop down list and radio buttons as well as proper positioning and alignment of images , list view and grid view, advertisements , proper placement of social media links and hover effects (Tidwell, 2010).


Concept of E-business Model                     

The e-business is turning out to be growingly important to measure the competency of business organizations. The utilization of information communication technologies has importantly modified the way business is functioning.  Several organizations have moved towards virtual operations and management (Wilson, 2011). Different e-business models such as user models , user centered design models are providing opportunity to efficiently use internet applications for gathering , processing and utilizing information to realize the importance of both operational and strategic requirements that are determining the accomplishment of a business organization (Johnson & Wiles, 2003). The Chaffey arguing about the following categories and goals of the e-commerce website design including style and personality, website organization , website navigational aspects including clear , easy to operate and consistent (Morris, 2011). The webpage designs should be innovative , user friendly and consistent while its content should be engaging and pertinent to its e-commerce business objectives (Johnson & Wiles, 2003).

 Analysis of Business Models

            Online Value Proposition

It provides obvious distinction of the proposition from its competitors on the basis of products and service features and its quality. Moreover , online value proposition can be improved through creating tag line of the website that should reflect organizational objectives and business operations (Chaffey, 2007). The Harvard business review website has improved its online value proposition through providing latest features of their services such as email newsletters , subscription services, information regarding book sellers , media inquiries , HBR analytics services,  HRB guide services , tools information as well as article reprinting services (Johnson & Wiles, 2003).

 

            Business Models

 

According to Timmers (1999) , business models are described as the structural design actor for products, services and information flows that include an information of several business persons and their roles , and the information of predictable advantageous for several business partners and the illustration of the sources of revenue (Timmers, 1999).  The Harvard business model has adopted user model in order to demonstrate users to communicate with the interface through informative material placed in the webinar and magazines , HBR guide series and HBR read series are used to increase the knowledge of their customers (Chaffey, 2007). The website has also adopted task model that are covering the suitability aspect of the website and it is evaluated that all the content provided in the Harvard business review website is suitable for the business objective of the company as well as through their guides and webinar the company is increasing the learnability of their customers and enhancing the cognitive abilities of the website (Morris, 2011). It is also evaluated with the analysis of user interface design of the website that all the header menus and submenus , search bar , footer menus as well as images are properly aligned in such a way that they are reducing the unessential mental efforts of customers. The page titles , navigational map , highlighting pertinent option in menu (Johnson & Wiles, 2003).

            E-commerce Types

 

The software as a service is the cloud based delivery model in which websites are hosted and maintained through service provider datacenter , through this model the website owner is required to paid on the subscription basis and accessed through a browser with internet connection (Chaffey, 2007).  The Harvard business review website has used this model through which they are managing their data centres and subscriptions and blogs that are reasonable , upgraded by e-commerce provider , conveniently scalable. However , this model is having some loop holes that they are providing restricted incorporation with back end systems with the lacking of data security and controlling over the system (Timmers, 1999).

The HBR analytic services are also provided by the website owner Harvard business review group that are helping clients to conduct research and relative evaluation on the management issues and upcoming business opportunities (Wilson, 2011). The website demonstrates information in different sections so that website users can differentiate between different forms of information (Wilson, 2011). The website has also used visual coding methods for instance line spacing , color combination that should be professional and relevant to the context of organization logo and business context as well as drop down list and radio buttons (Galitz, 2007).

            Online Revenue Model

The website is using pay per click revenue model , social media marketing strategies , and advertising model such as website advertisements and Facebook company profile , LinkedIn , Twitter and Google+ that are helping company to improve its revenue by increasing their clients (Wilson, 2011). Through, these online revenue model , the website owner will be able to earn revenue through company profile , increasing likeness and generating, developing profile as well as generating tweets on Twitter profile to increase the awareness of clients and upcoming customers.

            Target Market and Market Segmentation

 

The target market of the website is the United States and Canadian clients who are interested to review business profiles of other companies , strategies to improve business operations , company owners and investors (Chaffey, 2007).  The market segmentation of the company is to increase their business clients of profit organization that should register themselves in the website in order to avail the services such as guides , webinars , live chat systems , visual library and newsletter etc. This strategy is developed to understand the business requirements of clients by reviewing their business objectives , lifestyle as well as personality of the stakeholder who are both males and females (Johnson & Wiles, 2003).

            Strategies for Attaining Competitive Advantage

 

The website owner is taking benefits and competitive advantage through e-advertisement using digital technology to evaluate and analyze masses of data for providing suitable and modified messages to potential consumers at the major levels of purchasing procedures. For instance,  the company is providing HBR store through which users can review relevant books and business magazines , articles , case studies and tools the way Amazon and Tesco is providing (Johnson & Wiles, 2003). Moreover ,  viral marketing illustrates about the strategy that promotes individuals to pass on a marketing message to others , developing the potential for considerable growth in the message of exposure , the company has used social medium marketing platform such as Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter and Google+. Through their live chat and emailing system , the clients can easily communicate with business experts and determining consumer needs (Chaffey, 2007).

            CRM Initiatives of the Website

Through customer relationship management attaining a consumer is the exclusive procedure, to make them aware of the company and product as well as it helps customers who are dependable business partner. With the increase of visit and increment of number of registration of client as well as growth in the communication of company representatives with clients that will also help in creating and improving customer loyalty (Tidwell, 2010). The customer relationship management is also helping to enhance customer knowledge , targeting , service delivery and satisfaction. The customer support representatives of the website give replies to business clients to provide them information by accessing databases that are having information of customers and products. Along with it , the customer relationship management also manage advertisement , emails and other useful information (Galitz, 2007).

Figure 1: Customer Relationship Management (Timmers, 1999; Morris, 2011)

eCRM utilizes key performance indicators  that can develop portion of a  balanced scorecard, as well as it also provides senior management visibility of eBusiness activity and success , it sustains continuous communication between customers and the business (Chaffey, 2007). The company has invested on technology continuously such as Oracle , Dataware houses information as well as business analytics (Galitz, 2007).

Figure 2:  Consideration of eCRM (Johnson & Wiles, 2003)

The customer reviews , social network links , blogs and wikis , multimedia applications , catalogues , maps , newsletter sign-up and cookies (Johnson & Wiles, 2003; Galitz, 2007).

            Analysis of Design and Usability

 

With the evaluation of user interface design and usability analysis , the use of color , menu options offered , menu design , navigation , layout of the different aspects on the page and language used (Johnson & Wiles, 2003). It is argued that increased functionality does not show that it has enhanced usability as features are different from usability (Johnson & Wiles, 2003). The user centred design is based on optimizing the user experience , the Harvard business review website through its responsiveness and flexible menus and submenus are playing a vital role in improving the user experience of the clients and customers (Johnson & Wiles, 2003). The Webpages are capable to swiftly upload as well as all the links , menus , submenus , search bar , header and footer position that are on the right position so that users can easily navigate the website (Johnson & Wiles, 2003).  However , considering the customer experience management , it is observed that the website locator for defining the location through Google map is missing. But, the access speed , screen resolution as well as color depth and web browser compatibility is perfect (Wilson, 2011).  It is also observed that no breadcrumb tool is used to keep track of the previous links accessed by the users (Johnson & Wiles, 2003).

Recommendations For Improvement

 

It is recommended with the evaluation of user interface designing and usability aspect of the Harvard Business Review website (Chaffey, 2007). The footer of the website is quite minimized with gray color shade having blur effect , however , it order to reduce this, website developer should increase the font size of footer so that it can be easily visible in front of website users (Johnson & Wiles, 2003). It is also recommended to update the fresh content in the website on every month or half year that will attract visitors to return to the website to check new informative material (Chaffey, 2007). It is also suggested to make the website parallax so that, issues of scrolling down a webpage will be reduced.  The images within the website should be formatted so that it can be much better in terms of its look and feel (Morris, 2011).

Conclusion

 

It can be concluded with the findings of user interface design of Harvard Business Review website that although the overall look and feel of the website is good , menus and submenus are properly aligned , color combinations are professional and best fitted to overall business strategy and objectives. The Website has utilized user models , user centered design models , viral marketing , e-advertisement , CRM approach , social media marketing strategies as well as pay per click revenue click.

 

 

Reference

 

Chaffey, D., 2007. E-business and E-commerce Management: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. London :Pearson Education.

Galitz, W. O., 2007. The Essential Guide to User Interface Design: An Introduction to GUI Design Principles and Techniques . Indiana: John Wiley & Sons.

Johnson, D. M. & Wiles, J., 2003. Effective Affective User Interface Design in Games. Ergonomics , 46(13), pp. 1332-145.

Morris, J., 2011. Android User Interface Development: Beginner’s Guide. Birmingham  :Packt Publishing Ltd.

Tidwell, J., 2010. Designing Interfaces. USA : O’Reilly Media, Inc..

Timmers, P., 1999. Electronic Commerce. New York :John Wiley & Sons.

Wilson, M. L., 2011. Search User Interface Design. :Morgan & Claypool Publishers.