Cover Story: How Engaging Is Your Website Design?
For many people, the Amazon.com shopping cart is the industry standard, including Siegel. The cart is known for clearly delineating the steps needed to complete checkout better than virtually any other—a concept that also applies to the purchasing and sign-up processes in travel, insurance, financial services and other sectors. Siegel also appreciates the fact that the cart "remembers" your multiple shipping addresses and credit card number from visit to visit.
"You also want a shopping cart that allows you to enter and see credit for coupon codes early on, and allows editing of a purchase right from a cart—say changing the number of widgets you're ordering from two to three," Siegel says.
"Clear inventory availability, shipping options and in-home dates" are also de rigueur, Goosmann adds. "Support me in my purchase and build a good relationship. Offer me every option of ongoing communication with you—not simply e-mails, but social network destinations as well. Seek feedback and listen to it."
5. How fast should a page download?
Answer: a) Five seconds or less
Siegel thinks a five-second download time works; whereas, Goosmann does not see download time as an issue. "Lessons learned from designing websites for dial-up customers are internalized for ease of use, and should be adequate for a 'front-end' solution," he says.
Most importantly, "know who your users are," Siegel adds. If you have an Apple-related site, for example, you'll probably be more concerned about accommodating users of mobile devices than what your download time is, she explains.
Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan, N.Y. He can be reached at (646) 233-4089 or email@example.com, or via his website, www.joedysart.com.