While most usability principles of regular websites still apply for e-commerce sites as well, the different specific pages such as shopping cart, shipping methods, billing addresses, order review, payment options, etc. all add another layer of complexity to creating usable online shops. It might have happened to everybody: you find in the search engine a link to the product you need, click it and close the page in a few seconds. Simply because the site web design puts you off. Or vice versa: you come to the beautifully designed site, but understand nothing of how to navigate through it. The first law of e-commerce is that if users cannot find the product, they cannot buy it either. In both cases we have the same outcome – a lost customer. Usability is a prerequisite for online shops to achieve its full potential. If users cannot shop, or are unwilling to go through a seemingly unsecured or long order process then the website is useless. It doesn’t matter how inexpensive the products are if shoppers can’t find them or if they get stuck on a step in the ordering process. Magento offers some great solutions in this aspect; however, it’s still up to you to make your web shop unique and more competitive.
- Define your audience. You cannot create a website that is perfect for everyone. But as a rule 80% of your target audience think alike.
What you should know about your audience:
- Ethnic Background
- Home Life
- Web Competency
- Frustrations with the Web
- What kind of information is hard to find
- Frequent sources of information
- How they find the website
Typical Use Cases
- Test the old design to identify the good elements that you should keep, and the bad elements that give users trouble.
- Test your competitors’ designs to get data on a range of alternative interfaces that have similar features to your own.
- Inspect the design relative to established usability guidelines whether from your own earlier studies or published research.
- Once you decide on and implement the final design, test it again. Subtle usability problems always creep in during implementation.