2 Ways to Fix the Persistent Web Site Problems
Web sites have been around a while, but the basic usability obstacles—finding products, showing production information, adding products to the cart and an easy-to-use checkout process—still persist. Solutions were offered recently at the June 4 All About eCommerce Virtual Conference & Expo, produced by eMarketing & Commerce (eM+C). In one of the live sessions, "How to Make Your Site More User-Friendly," Amy Schade, director of the Nielson Norman Group, a Silicon Valley-based usability consultancy, tackled the following challenges:
Problem No. 1: Finding Products
Categories need to make sense to users, especially those who are relatively new to your Web site, not just company employees or experienced customers. You need to make it easy for visitors to navigate—including giving them multiple ways to find products—and pick the path that works best for them. Let users search by product categories, product number, product name, product characteristics and even misspelled terms. Their searches should not return the message, "No product matches that description."
Problem No. 2: Subtle Design Changes After Adding to Cart
A startling number of sites have far too subtle design changes after users add products to their shopping carts. Often there is no difference in the page, save for the little number in the cart window. Because many users don't see this, they actually stop the shopping process—the last thing you want—and "fix" what they've done, often adding more product. They then only realize once they check out that their carts have several duplicate orders; some users might think the site was trying to trick them and abandon their purchase directions.
Crate and Barrel solved this problem by creating an overlay after an item is added, with the option to then "close and continue shopping" or "checkout now." If you choose not to present overlay, then the page change needs to occur and be obvious.