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3 User Interface Guidelines for Designing an E-Commerce Site

Posted on 4.06.2016

:: By Ryan Camomile, Infogenix ::

A lot of factors influence customer perception, including user reviews for your products, how friendly your social media personality is and how easy it is to return purchased goods.

Customer experience (CX) has grown to cover the whole range of experiences and emotions a person goes through while he or she interacts with your company but today, your business website is your storefront. User interface (UI) design is very important in enhancing user experience, building brand loyalty and driving sales.

An e-commerce website needs to stand up against multi-billion dollar online marketplaces like Amazon Prime and Alibaba. For that, you need to plan and design your site well to attract and interest customers.

The UI is influenced by a range of factors including aesthetics of design, ease of navigation and freshness of ideas. Here are a few tips to give you the basics of UI designing for e-commerce website.

1) Design Ethically

As more and more people turn to the Internet to get their work done and needs met, there are more ways than ever before to get people to click on the buy button.

Shifting standards of ethics can make it easier to get users to sign up for free trials and make in-app purchases, but if users feel tricked or find it difficult to reverse an action they completed by mistake, then customer experience suffers.

Forced continuity and misdirection are other dark UX patterns that mar CX. Though dark patterns in UX enable short-term profits, they are not sustainable in the long run. Many users will complain through social media or will post their grievances on your testimonials page, both of which will drive away future users.

• Ensure that you are transparent about all transactions, subscriptions and sign ups. In-kind options will ensure that canceling a service is as easy as signing up.

• Make it easy for users to find and act on information and directions.

• If a buy button is placed at a point where customers might mistakenly click on it, ensure that the pattern is more customer-friendly by following it up with a confirmation option so the customer can either continue with the purchase or cancel it.

Ethical designing will give you better marketing results and will also drive recurring traffic.

2) Be Sure of the Trends You Want Incorporate

Freshness in design is very important if you want to give the wow factor to your website. Blindly following the latest and hottest trends will not get you results. Ensure that you follow only those design trends that work for you. For example:

• The hamburger menu has removed exhaustive menu lists from website pages. The icon is easily recognized now and you can compress a whole load of information without taking any space.

• Infinite scrolling has made the life of e-commerce site designers simpler. You can now create single pages that contain product images and descriptions for a large number of items so it’s easy for customers to see the whole range of products. The latest research carried out by Baymard Institute, however, shows that though users tend to browse more products with infinite scrolling, they scan more and focus less. In other words, they are spoiled for choice and may have a difficult time making a final selection.

A ‘load more’ button offers seamless and smooth user experience, and gives users the option to explore more, redefine their search or focus on what they have already seen. With a ‘load more’ button, users also get to see the important information contained in the footer.

3) Material Design Rules

In an effort to make websites look natural and layered, Google introduced Material Design guidelines. Material Design features have been widely appreciated and have seen widespread adoption, though they are not easy to implement in e-commerce websites.

The core principles of Material Design are the interplay of light and shadows, depth and height, translucent backgrounds, high-quality images and white space. Material Design makes curves, surfaces and dimensions look real, so you get a layered and textured experience. The design is content-focused, vibrant, rich-and-deep-hued, playful and customizable.

Card designs are one of the most important elements of Material Design making it easy to create navigational tiles. Cards make it possible to create a visually dense landing page where you can create different card tiles for different categories. Each card can be seen as containing a single, unified concept. Cards can be used as content containers that give concise information about the categories on your e-commerce site.

Design your website incorporating as many Material Design principles as possible to get a site that is fast, nimble, cool and fun.

Putting UI to the Test

Designing a great e-commerce website requires planning, prototyping, testing and retesting. You also need to center the needs of the customer and create a great CX that will not only make a sale, but will also delight and excite the customer. Having an open mind and testing all the aspects will ensure that you build a website that gets the job done in the best manner possible.

Author Bio

Ryan Camomile is a co-founder and the CEO of Infogenix, a Web design, programming and marketing company based in Orem, Utah, which was founded in 1998.
Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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