UI: you, me, and web usability

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UI…In addition to the importance of a good site-search to properly read the queries of customers and display the relevant products, the presentation of these products is also extremely valuable. Consumers don’t want to spend time navigating a site. They just want to buy what they’re looking for. When they don’t find what they want, they leave. So, do I dare ask, how do you get them to stay? We have been consistently stressing the importance and positive effect of site-search, and it’s merchandising tool counterparts. However, if a shopper can’t easily locate the search box, or simply cannot stand the site of your homepage, I’m sorry to say, but your site-search is as good as useless.

A successful UI is a dual combination of reliable functionally and aesthetic visibility. The less your shoppers have to think about their clicking action, the better. They should not be expected to spend huge chunks of time trying to navigate their way around your site. Life is hard enough already. So, what can be done to cut their time down?

Site-Search QuickView: click to zoom

Quick view: Exactly as the name implies…give your customers a quick view of the products they are seeking. A hover with the mouse over a desired product and a quick mini window automatically presents your customers with detailed product info. No more schlepping to a separate product page, no more waiting… just straight to checkout.

AutoComplete: Complete your customers’ queries so they don’t have to!

Search as you type. Instant Site-Search. Instant Shopping!

Site-search AutoComplete - click to zoom

Shoppers just start typing in the search box and a pop up list of frequent queries and suggested products from the store product catalogue appears. Great eye candy!

Placement: It matters! Trust us. Eyes wander and react in different ways to different stimuli. When discussing ecommerce, the question becomes to where do eyes wander on a screen and to what degree can they be stimulated? Thanks to a recent German usability blog posting, we learn that a recommendation tool, such as Cross-Sell, is most effectively located on the right hand side of the product page, enabling optimum eye stimulation (and eventually, human purchasing potential).

These are just to name a few. As a retailer, do you want to be responsible for the disappointment of some mother who spent hours without success trying to navigate herself around your site to find a driving hamster for her 6 year old son for Christmas? Of course not. So evaluate your UI and see what design improvements can be made and/or optimization tools can be added.

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