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Subject: RE: UKNM: Design, Design, Design
From: Robin Edwards
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 13:00:57 GMT

<Melanie Beech wrote:>

> I disagree. From an e-commerce perspective, we also want for the customer
> to find information about products and services quickly and easily. IMHO,
> successful web marketing relies on an intelligent mix of the two: yes, we
> want our site and our brand to be distinct in appearance from other sites
> but, if we are to sell our products and services, we have to facilitate
> access to information that will favourably influence the buyer's
> purchasing
> decision. Ease of use and clarity of navigation are therefore
> essential if
> we don't want our buyers to go elsewhere.
> Clearly, design has other applications according to the overall objectives
> of the site, its market and its products/services, and there are
> some sites
> where a certain obscurity in the design is a plus for its target audience,
> but the majority of e-commerce sites rely on clear information
> architecture
> and painless user experience to sell products and encourage
> repeat business.

Are we all agreeing on the same thing here? That is, both usability and high
quality design go hand in hand for an e-commerce site? Similarly that if you
go to the extremes on either end whilst compromising the other you will end
up with a site that doesn't perform? Seems like it to me.

There is a certain amount of work that needs to be done in order to get
someone to make a purchase from a web site, part of this is the ease of use,
part of it is the product offering and part of it is the trust that the
supplier is going to get the stuff to them. For some businesses the trust
part has been established over many years of offline trading, so having a
dog-ugly and unprofessional looking web site will not be enough to put off
the potential customer, although it is likely to have a detrimental effect.
For more recent businesses establishing the trust is going to require a lot
more effort. Furthermore if the recent business cannot afford to run the
kind of offline promotional activity to establish their trustworthiness then
the web site is going to have to do that for them.

So, in my view (Jakob who?) and hopefully this won't be news to too many

* Make your sites incredibly easy to use, and follow the guidelines set down
by others if you think they make sense (and some of the stuff Jakob says may
be obvious to some people, but not to others)

* Make them look beautiful and establish/reassert the trust of the potential

* Make the product offering compelling

* Ensure the client offers exemplary customer service and fulfilment

Of course, if the client throws a spanner in the works, as was suggested in
the case of a recently failed sports fashion e-tailer, then you are screwed,
but at least hold your head up high and get the buggers to be accountable
for their decisions.

> Not so: if Jakob were to apply his musings to novels, for
> example, we would
> end up with plain covers and a linear text in between. Such minor
> considerations as style, plot elements like flashbacks, stream of
> consciousness, dialogue etc and more daring literary constructs would be
> banished as distracting from the main thread of the story, and so on.

Although every other word would be a hyperlink to a different book...


Robin Edwards
T: +44 1543 252370 F: +44 1543 420761
E: robinatclockworx [dot] co [dot] uk W: http://www.clockworx.com/ W2:

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  RE: UKNM: Design, Design, Design, Melanie BEECH

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