Evidence-based design is based on the principle that decision-making is most effective when it reflects the available evidence. This evidence can come from many different sources, such as professional opinions, industry studies, company reports, and/or scholarly/scientific studies. Additionally, the available evidence can differ in quality and strength depending on the issue being considered. In newer areas, the evidence may not be as well established. However, over time, evidence is developed and becomes the basis for sound decision making. This assignment is intended too address one important area where evidence-based design is essential for effective branding: Website Design.
An analysis of the design features of a website is part of what we refer to as a ‘brand inventory’ and is one of the two fundamental components of a brand audit. Although a brand inventory can be a very comprehensive process (involving a multitude of assessment such as the brand name, slogans, product quality, prices, channels of distribution) this assignment focuses on the design characteristics websites (i.e., do they conform to the standards derived from the evidence). In doing so, it also assesses the extent to which there is continuity among competitors. That is, do competitors in the industry reflect evidenced-based design when developing their websites. Failure to do so indicates sub-optimal decision making.
The analysis is conducted within a single product category of retailers and the will cover a mix of between 8-10 competitors (half of these should be major chains and half regional stores). Each website is then evaluated for continuity with each standard. The intent is to understand the degree of variance in website design. In doing so, the analyst will identify the extent to which retailers have points of parity and points of difference in their website design. Websites that demonstrate superior design have an advantage in terms of a consumer’s experience when visiting the site. This contributes to brand equity (the value of the brand in the consumer’s mind).
Once the data have been assembled into a working template (provided for your convenience), a 1-3 page discussion of the results is presented to summary the results, provide an analysis of the implications (e.g., where retailers are falling short and where they are doing well), and provide any additional insights that you gained from the analysis.