Design and UX of an online store – what are they?

Today’s market doesn’t depend only on the quality and price of the services and items provided. More and more importantly, the visual aspects take their toll, from the looks of the online shop to the way it operates. Design and UX (i.e. User eXperience – notice the capitals to identify it easier) often influence the desire to stay on the site, let alone the idea to actually buy the product and/or service. The website design is what the client sees when they find your website. The design is often thought of as the visual presentation of the site. It should be treated as added value – it’s not the most important thing there should be, but it matters. The same goes with User Experience – the UX. The UX encompasses the overall experiences the user has at your site. Let’s say we have a user who visits your website – what kind of experiences will they have?

What influences the design and UX of an online store:

Ease of movement

The ease with which people can move around your online store is an important factor towards its attractiveness. What matters most are understandable, concise messages, visible redirections, shopping path as short as possible, clear category divisions and the presence of a product search engine. All those allow the website’s visitor to easily and quickly find what they are looking for – thus, making them more willing not only to purchase, but also to come back in the future.

Shortest shopping path possible

Positive UX can also be achieved by creating a shopping path that’s as short as possible. To put it bluntly, the less the visitor has to click, the better. A good way to think about it is the three clicks rule. It states that the customer should be able to move to any section of the website in a maximum of three clicks. It works for most websites, including online stores, but keep in mind that it’s just a general tip, rather than a firm order. It often happens, that an online store will require the visitor to make several decisions – in such case, the optimal path may not be three, but four or even five clicks. There’s no need to stress too much about the three clicks rule – blindly following it at all costs can reflect badly on the overall UX.

Clear category division

Clear and easy to understand division of products into categories also has great influence on users’ experience. It’s best to keep in mind that most people visiting online stores are looking for defined products. So, it pays off to make the task easier for them by creating categories. Think about clothing stores, for example: they divide their products into men’s, women’s and children’s sections, then new collections and sales, sportswear, shoes, accessories, underwear and to on. This easy definition makes it a breeze to find the correct product, giving the customer the sense of order and ease of browsing – in turn, they get positive experiences, make their shopping quickly and are more likely to come back later, increasing sales.

Products search engine

Many customers appreciate the addition of a search bar in stores. Although it’s not something that’s mandatory on your website, it still makes great added value. The best search bars make it even easier for customers by suggesting the rest of the product’s name (so in just a couple of letters the customer will be able to find what they are looking for) and/or displaying thumbnails of the products. All in all, those solutions help your customers save time.

CTA buttons

CTA buttons (Call To Action) are a method of showing potential customers what to do when they visit a website. A CTA is usually a link – the customer is enticed into clicking on it by a button, picture of text. Their aim is to make people take a given action when visiting an online store, most often to fill in a form or add a product to their cart. CTAs usually come in a form of a button that sticks out of the general graphic design of a website. By making it stand out (through colour, for example) it grabs the attention of the user.

Coherent graphic design

Coherent visual aspect of the website is not to be underestimated when it comes to the design and UX. You may have the most creative sales texts, the most unique graphics, you may have kept the three click rule to a T and created the best categories, search engine and CTA buttons, but it will all be for naught if the whole aesthetic of the store is not harmonious. If you’re thinking of creating or refreshing your online store, it’s always best to ask a professional graphic designer for help. They will not only design all the individual elements of the website, but also make sure that the website looks its best.

Design and UX of an online store – why does it matter so much?

Nowadays, having good quality products in a fair price is no longer enough to fulfil the expectations of customers. The visual aspects of products, as well as the stores, keep gaining importance, making design and UX more and more crucial. Design and UX are comprised of many factors – it’s worth the time to have a look at them, analyse them and create each and every one o them. The devil is in the details, after all, and those details can make or break the store, they can ensure recognizability, and, in the long run, increase the sales of the online store.