ForeSee Results Acquires Usability Firm Red Spade

In a move that it says will “jumpstart” Web site usability audits, ForeSee Results, a six-year-old provider of online customer satisfaction analysis services, acquired Web site usability specialist Red Spade.

ForeSee Results President and CEO Larry Freed said the acquisition, ForeSee’s first, will make it easier for customers to take actions that will improve their sites. Up until now, ForeSee Results diagnosed problems with Web properties but left it up to others, including Red Spade, to prescribe the necessary tweaks.

“In the past, without Red Spade, we would have measured customer satisfaction… and identified the areas that, if improved, would have given the biggest lift,” said Freed. “But we wouldn’t have told them how to fix it.”

With its usability audits informed by reviews of “hundreds and hundreds of sites,” Red Spade makes detailed, specific recommendations. These suggestions will now be part of ForeSee Results’ capabilities. “It really completes the cycle of analysis,” said Freed.

Much of ForeSee Results’ customer satisfaction work is based on the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which systematically looks at site features that impact customer satisfaction, including navigation, product information and functionality.

For example, earlier this year, ForeSee Results released a report asserting some e-commerce are increasing customer satisfaction ratings by using Web 2.0 features such as image zoom-in capabilities.

Red Spade, a three-person company from Chicago, will be dissolved and two of its principals will move to Michigan to work at the ForeSee Results headquarters in Ann Arbor. ForeSee Results employs about 75 and has about 300 clients, said Freed. He would not divulge the financial details of the acquisition.

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