Best Web Design Practices For E Commerce Sites
You may have come across several web design tips and practices which are general in nature or you may have come across some best e commerce tips and practices which are programming oriented. But there is a very little material on the specific web designing tips and best practices for Ecommerce website. Does good Web Design has anything to do with E commerce website, Yes in deed, this answer is quite common as good design is needed for almost all websites, for the users to hang on to the site or visit the site again. How ever there are several precautions and practices that one should adopt while choosing an already created template design or a new custom design for ecommerce website. As we continue this discussion you well understand the need for a good design for ecommerce site, when I mean good design I not only mean actually appealing but also one which has features to attract the users to the website and make visitors prefer your site over other sites.
The best way to make you understand the need for good web design for ecommerce site is to walk you through the basic and the skeleton steps that one must follow to develop a successful e commerce website and at each step I will be explaining the importance of design . Skeleton steps will be like these
The Beginning Step -Find out the purpose
At this step one should start determining what he wants as this helps in finding out the target audience, does there need for B2c, B2b Ecommerce applications or online auction, community buy and sell or any other kind of buying and selling application.
Careful study and analysis will help you determine what are the latest trends and technologies in developing such applications, how ever the main focus at this step is to find what you want the website to do. Following questions will help you understand what is needed.
o Whom are you targeting?
o What does the site offer target audience?
o Who are your competitors and how the market is structured in the specific industry?
Second Step – Deciding on the look and feel of the website
Answers derived from the questions asked in the earlier step will help what you need. You may have arrived at what you want and what you are targeting, now look for such similar sites already exist on the internet. Try to understand why they are successful and how they chose the images, graphics and colors. At this stage you might have decided on colors and what kind of images you need. I found many sites flooded with images with little importance to products. It's very important to choose few images carrying greater meaning. Review your color choice to see it matches the target audience, always choose clear and neat looking colors that sooth the eyes of the visitors. And now about the Logo, Logo depicts the idea of what you are trying to sell and what's your identity. Put across all these ideas to the designer who is going to design the actual design template. E commerce Web design is a specific service area of the web design jargon. Choosing a specialist will help you put across your ideas easily.
Third step -Creating Web pages and choosing Underlining Technology
In this step you need to decide on the technology for implementing the E ecommerce solutions. To start with, website design should be in par with the latest standards and practices to ensure quality, as part of this its preferred to develop the web site in pure "CSS" using "div tags" instead of going for standard html tables as they make the web pages heavy .Usage of images should be elegant and justifiable to ensure fast loading website. Ensure that the html and CSS code is W3C validated. This will ensure web pages appear consistent in all web browsers with out any problem. How ever if you come across any cross browser issues you can write separate CSS for each such browser to ensure uniformity.
Most of the users come to the websites but leave the site because of the unhelpful structure of the website. No matter how good looking website you designed if it's not easy to use it will not retain the visitors for long. Its very important to present the required information with minimum number of clicks. Proper choice of categories and the position of displaying categories of the products is very important.
Now the Decision about the software technology, the good thing about developing ecommerce applications is that you have lots of open source e commerce software available which are optimized and can be customized as per your needs. Choice of programming language depends on your existing resources and also on your budget for the application. Innovative ideas of presenting the information about the products will help attract the visitors trying to understand the products.
Fourth Step-Effective Project management and ensuring quality
You as the Product owner should manage your project procedures to ensure project does not overrun your budgets. You should be innovative in presenting your website and should look in to every detail of all aspects of the website. Application has to be tested again and again to ensure there are no bugs and application functions as desired. Similar graphics to that of the website should be used for marketing newsletters or sending mails to customers regarding the status of the orders.
Fifth Step – Live at Last
Now finally after completing the website, check to see it has all the functionalities of what are expected or document in earlier stage of the project once done application will be ready for release. It is proposed to make a Beta release of the application; you can mark the site as Beta Release by putting a beta release below the logo such that It appears on all pages of the website. This will help to retain customer confidence even the application fails to perform as expected. After sufficient live testing and customer activity you can make a final version.
Here ends the story of successful e commerce website what follows after this is adulation for the story and the story writer that would be you in the form of wealth.