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User experience Design tips

Avoid These User Experience Pitfalls on Your Ecommerce Site

Krista McDonald, 02/23/2018,

Hello e-comm friends, designers, and entrepreneurs. I’ll preface this blog post by introducing myself. I’m currently the Design Director here at Gooten. Since I’ve started here, I’ve been working on whipping our user experience in our product and website into shape. You may have noticed a few changes here and there which is thanks to my amazing team of UX/UI Designers (shameless shout out to the Gooten Design Team).

My job here at Gooten involves a lot of user testing and learning about your processes as a print-on-demand seller and e-commerce owner. Another fun aspect of this is perusing our user’s sites (aka not shopping at work). From this process I’ve compiled a few user experience pitfalls many store owners fall into.

Asking your Best Friend/Mom/Coworker for their Opinion

When making big changes on your site, it’s easy to just ask the most convenient person for their opinion. Many times, they won’t be honest with their thoughts in order to appear supportive. But more importantly if your best friend, mom, or coworker isn’t in your target or current user demographic, the feedback they give may not reflect your customer’s. A real customer is familiar your brand, is interested in shopping for the products you offer, and knows what would trigger them to leave your site.

“Omigosh i love this so much, I wouldn’t change a thing!” -every best friend

Making Too Many Changes at Once

Sometimes a site just needs to be overhauled, but most times a few tweaks here and there can result in big changes. However you don’t want to do too many at once. If you make one or a limited amount of changes at a time, utilizing an A/B testing tool like Google Optimize, you’ll be able to make changes and measure whether or not they have a positive change on your site. Amazon is a great example of small not-so-easily noticeable changes over time leading to pretty drastic user experience and UI updates if you look at them from year to year. Here’s Amazon’s homepage in 2016:

Amazon Homepage in 2016

You can notice the differences to what they now have currently:

Amazon Homepage now

Ignoring accessibility

There are many tools to check how accessible your website is to users with visual, auditory, and physical impairments. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some form of colorblindness. There are many tools out there that allow you to view your website through the lens of someone with colorblindness. Additionally, contrast and type size, especially on mobile are also important to look at. Even someone who doesn’t have a strong visual impairment can get frustrated by hard to read text.

Gooten Homepage shown like someone without colorblindness (left) and with colorblindness (right)

Skimping on Valuable User Analytics and Testing Tools

When you’re just starting out it’s tough to swing the additional cost for analytics and testing tools. However for established business and those can afford it, weekly user testing and monitoring is essential. I like Hotjar for getting quick user feedback, setting up funnels, and monitoring heat maps and recorded sessions of user activity on your site. Google Analytics is great for monitoring user behavior and demographics. Sending surveys to your email list is also a valuable way of learning about your users. Typeform, Google Forms, and Survey Monkey are all great options for this.

Heatmaps show where users click and/or scroll and can help address visual hierarchy issues

Unfocused and Disorganized Content

When a user first visits your site he/she is looking for familiar benchmarks like large images of products, information about your company and brand and easy navigation to find products and information. Doing in person user interviews (especially if you have a impartial interviewer hosting them) can bring valuable information about which elements on your site lower user trust. A common mistake I see is when e-commerce sites try to cram too much content onto the homepage: the story of how your company started, product listings in no particular order, competing sales, and various product collections.

Content overload, no visual hierarchy, and unclear navigation make JC Penny’s homepage a UX disaster

Based on user feedback you receive, try highlighting your best content and moving in-depth content to secondary pages. Most times users are less interested in reading a ton of copy and more interested in seeing pictures of products and getting right into the purchasing process.

Interested in more ideas to scale your ecommerce store to success? Read one of Krista’s previous blog posts, Best Practices to Become an Expert Seller with the Gooten Platform for great tips on how you can become a Gooten power-user and master of Print on Demand.

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