“Cool story, bro…. but did testing with users actually bring in the cash?”

Considering people hadn’t seen a web browser when online shopping was invented, the success of Aldrich’s invention can seem mind-boggling.

  • In 1981, the first B2B online shopping system was installed by Thomson Holidays
  • In 1984, the first B2C online shopping transaction was completed between Mrs Snowball of Gateshead and Tesco
  • France’s own Videotex system – Minitel – was launched in 1982, generated €832 million in 1998 and had 25 million users by 1999

Aldrich had seen what people liked and didn’t like. He knew how to make his invention a hit before even launching it!


The visitors were interested, intrigued and excited. They even loved the picture quality on the TV! We could have sold many systems. The big issue was that they loved the idea of shopping from home. It was a winner.
— Michael Aldrich on the results of testing online shopping at the Data Entry Management Association Conference in September 1979


He designed online shopping according to 5 criteria of usability which, even today, determine the success of eCommerce sites. Customer behaviour, video evidence and data all confirm this.

So we’re going to use all those things to show you:

  1. How to apply the same 5 criteria of usability in Michael Aldrich’s approach and boost online sales
  2. Results real companies have achieved by applying the 5 criteria of usability
  3. How to get started right now with improving the user experience of your eCommerce site