Saturday, December 13, 2008

Website Design

How many of you have ever judged whether or not to used a website due to the basic design and information of the website itself? I know recently I signed up for a couple of websites in order to purchase Christmas gifts, and there were some websites where the simple design or name of the site made me question its validity. I will give you two examples and would like to hear what you think:

Example 1:

Example 2

Which site are you more likely to purchase an iPhone 3G from? I'm not purchasing one, but if I were to purchase one I would trust the site from example 2 more than example 1. Trust is a very important aspect of any business, especially when it comes to online sites. In 2006, the estimate of total losses due to identity theft reached over $15.4 billion dollars, which is a dramatic decrease from a few years ago, but it is still a rather high number (FTC-2006 identity theft survey report, 2007). With consumers becoming more informed of the different styles of identity theft, online consumers have become more discriminating when it comes to what websites they trust for their purchases.
What does this mean for businesses? First of all, online businesses can relax a little in regards to consumers not purchasing as much online due to these sorts of dangers. E-commerce is growing at a rapid rate and it is expected to account for almost 10 percent of U.S. sales--or $230 billion--by the end of the year (West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2008). With the United States officially in a recession, many shoppers are turning to the convenience and low costs of shopping online for merchandise rather than wrestling through the hoards of shoppers and full parking lots and waiting in line for almost an hour before making a purchase (Robbins, 2008). This means that websites such as Ebay will have competition from both small businesses and large corporations looking to reach the internet niche market.
What can a company do in order to improve sales? One important aspect discussed amongst the class in general was the aspect of internet design. First impressions tend to matter when it comes to a user searching the site, and usually a consumer will make his/her decision about a site within 1/20th of a second (West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2008)! Don't believe me? How many of you have ever saw a site you could not stand to look at and still read it or trust whatever information is listed on the site? The asthetics of a site do matter and this is what a company needs to consider when they are deciding how to create a website that will best represent the company. One important aspect of web design that businesses need to remember is that--regardless of how much you plan--you will not be able to satisfy everyone since humans are often subjective creatures (Lee, 2007).
With that in mind, there are a few things that can generally impact the revenue created by a website. A couple of aspects to website content are information and entertainment (West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2008). With both of these parts blending into one another, it is vital to decide what is the right amount of information and entertainment for a business site. While you want to avoid having too little information on your site, having too much information or clutter can drastically affect sales as well. In one study, when the format of a website was changed from one column to two columns in order to fit more information on one site, the sales generated from the site failed by almost half! Imagine one little change such as a second column created a 50 percent decrease in online sales (Usborne, 2005).
What can a company do in order to increase online revenue without risking possible losses? First of all, a pre-test should be run of a website before it is relased. A pre-test will inform the business on how a sample number of cosumers react to the website and what changes need to be made in order to improve the functionality of the site (Usborne, 2005). Secondly, hiring a professional web designer can take the burden off of the company's shoulders and cover even more helpful tips such as (Learn about website design, 2008):
* Satisfying customers
* Attracting search engines
* Avoid technical glitches
Online shopping is becoming a very profitable business for those who want to buy things most stores do not have, for those who are looking for a good sale, or even for those who do not have the time to deal with a store that is crowded with shoppers. The way a site looks has a lot to do with site traffic and whether or not a consumer will trust a site enough to purchase an item from the company. If businesses hire an expert web designer and test run their sites before releasing them to the public, then they have a greater chance of generating site traffic and catching errors before they lose the loyalty of the consumers.
What are you waiting for? It's almost Christmas! Go do some holiday shopping and support your favorite businesses. Though, if you want I can also introduce you to a site where you can make homemade crafts and fight the power of materialism ;).

FTC-2006 identity theft survey report. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from
Learn about website design. Network Solutions. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from
Lee, S. (2007, June 26). Human-to-human design. A List Apart. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from
Robbins, T. (2008, November 25). More online holiday shoppers expected this year. NPR. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from
Usborne, N. (2005, November 8). Design choices can cripple a website. A List Apart. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from
West Virginia University, P.I. Reed School of Journalism. Lesson 8: Creative considerations in emerging media. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from


Santhiya said...

Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again
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