I was recently trying to make a purchase from an online retailer when there it was: friction. I was being forced to think. Can I click on that? Where’s the main navigation? Why is the search in the left menu? Within 10 seconds of not being able to get to where I needed to be, I clicked the back button and moved on to a competitor site.
Maybe I’m more impatient than the average user, but when a customer is being forced to think, to figure out how the site works, the frustration builds and it is almost certain the sale will be lost. Frustrated shoppers will find another site to make their purchase, one that’s easy-as-pie to use.
Intelligent web design effectively removes friction from the user’s online purchasing experience. An eCommerce website should be so easy to navigate that it doesn’t require any thinking or learning.
Some key points to consider for easy site navigation:
1. Don’t get creative on the placement of key elements. Main menu, cart, search, reductive navigation, etc – all of these items have standard locations that work best. Changing it up only causes confusion.
2. Ensure that anything that is clickable stands out and is clearly marked. If it looks like a button, it better be clickable, etc
3. Use common, well known terms. “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” are no-brainers and terms users are looking for. “Add Item to Demac Buy Tank”, although creative, requires more thought. Keep the options so simple that they are mindless.
4. Keep it clean. A simple, clean design is always more functional than a busy, stuff-in-every-bit-of-information-you-possibly-can type of site. Basically, reducing the noise results in higher conversion rates.
5. Spend a significant amount of time thinking about your navigation. Use well organized drop down menus to show the hierarchy of your site. Providing visibility will allow the user to navigate confidently rather than feeling lost and blindly clicking around.
There are many details to consider with eCommerce web design. User experience can always be improved upon so it is important to regularly review and tweak your site’s design. A/B testing, design improvements, keeping up to date on web usability, these are all things that are part of a successful online store. In the end, the key is to reduce the friction that prevents the user from having a positive, easy experience.