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Usability - Web Developer

About Usability

Previous Entry Usability Mar. 31st, 2005 @ 12:09 pm Next Entry
So few shopping sites are set up for easy browsing. Sometimes I don’t really know what i am looking for an get frustrated trying to wade through arbitrary categories and following links which have no results. Also a important feature IMO that is missing often is the ability to email or link to a specific product. Example: I was on a gardening message board where someone was asking where to find a source for a particular plant, I knew one nursery that carried it though I was not able to post a link to the exact plant. Another site I was on only had the product details and add to cart in a pop-up window with no title bar which also made it impossible to reference.
What are some shopping sites which have good browsing interfaces?
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Music One - Today's Dance www.m1live.com
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Date:March 31st, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC)
Depends on the product.

Amazon and B&N do a pretty good job in terms of shopping usability for the kind of products they sell. I usually go there to get something I know I already want and they're good at suggesting other items. Lots of people use amazon as a imdb for books. They have a huge stock of items and they're pretty darn good at letting people find what they need.

I like bhphotovideo.com for photography equipment... but I'm not looking for product details (the products are high ticket items so I've done research elsewhere, I just want the price). They have a good range of items, but they're fairly specific and they allow people to browse for items depending on what's important (brand, price range, etc).

Agent Provocateur is great for what they sell... high priced lacy items and they have a small catalog of items so they feature each item with an individual shoot. Most of the other clothing sites I've been to stink even if they're visually appealing. I typically shop at H&M and Mexx and they don't have anything other than a few featured items online.

[User Picture Icon]
Date:April 1st, 2005 02:52 pm (UTC)
Amazon's great thing is the intuitiveness of the database which for the most part offers up relevant alternate selections. Also the recently viewed items feature comes in handy when I get to clicking around to all the alternate selections and forget what I was originally looking to buy. Having the features such as wish list and save for later aspect of the cart are features more sites would be smart to include.
bhphotovideo.com seems to be a very user friendly site with a clean design and all the pertinent information easily available for each item.
Agent Provocateur has a great look to it without the Flash getting in the way of the catalog. If you are going to present a Flash scene setter or presentation it's best not to bombard the customer with it. If I go to a site and have to wait more than a few second to get to the item catalog or home page I am very likely to close the site.
H&M has a great look to their site but I find the usability not so great though I think the intent is more to present the "feel" of their brand more than provide an actual informational catalog of their products. A guess would be that their products change so frequently and their storefront business is their main avenue that having a complete database of their clothing would be a impractical undertaking. Though H&M stores are mainly limited to more populated areas and perhaps they could greatly benefit from having an online outlet; Iowans would buy inexpensive stylish clothes too.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:March 31st, 2005 10:29 pm (UTC)
Since we're at it. I have recently built an online shopping website for a client. Mind if you have a look at it and give me feedback?
http://www.glutenfreeshop.com.au. It has features to email a friend for specific products (when you click on product details). I wouldn't have thought that it is an important feature until you mentioned it. Colour and layout wise is rather plain but that is what client wants and he is happy with it.

heh...I like m1live.com too :)
[User Picture Icon]
Date:March 31st, 2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
Look good,
one thing is that because of your menu system, your site will not be indexed very well in the major search engines, also if the users have JavaScript disabled or images disabled your site is un-useable.
and I’m just curious what shopping cart system did you use?
[User Picture Icon]
Date:April 1st, 2005 12:38 am (UTC)
Hi there,

Thank you for your input. I'm not sure what can you do to get around javascript disabled? I think most shopping cart require this features.

This software has an autogenerated text based index catalogue for search engine indexing: http://glutenfreeshop.com.au/catalog/index.htm . This is a great features because it will generate as many pages for each products and subcategory. I just modified the layout a bit.

I am using Smartwin Software . I have to say while their presentation (design wise) can be improved, this software is powerful to handle many products and has a lot of features that I like.

[User Picture Icon]
Date:April 1st, 2005 03:11 pm (UTC)
Seems to work well for the products being offered. A lot of people aren't fans of hover lists but sometimes they are the best way to fit a large number of menu items in a reasonable space. I did notice while viewing the site in Firefox I don't get a hand when hovering on the links in the menu. That possibly could be solved with a bit of CSS as in One reference I've used to create many menus is in cursor: pointer; http://css.maxdesign.com.au/listamatic/index.htm
A site I've developed is http://www.sr4u.com/sharplogoplace/index.asp The menu system seems to work well for the number of items without using overs.
Narrowing the catalog by intolerances is a good way to help the user find what they need. Too many sites try to push items on people and that's not really how I think people shop online, they often go to a site looking for a specific item.
Yeah m1live is cool, I switch between them and http://radioabf.net/
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