Podcast 53: Ecommerce Usability

Product information can make or break an ecommerce site. In this week’s show we look at the usability of ecommerce sites and in particular how you display your products.

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Recently I have been reading Jakob Nielsen’s book “Prioritizing Web Usability”. Although I don’t always agree with everything Jakob says this is an invaluable resource and I strongly recommend that you consider buying it.

I have just finished the chapter on product information for ecommerce sites. What he had to say on the subject was so good that I thought I would share some of it with you.

We cover:

  • Pricing – What to display and how to display it
  • Common Questions – Ensuring you address FAQs on subjects like delivery, returns and security
  • Product descriptions
  • Layering product information so as not to overwhelm users
  • Product imagery
  • After sales support
  • Supporting articles on your products and the benefits these provide you as a website owner

Later in the show we also discuss some of the comments about ecommerce usability made, in the boagworld.com forum.  Unfortunately we couldn’t cover all of the issues discussed so if you would like more detail visit the ecommerce thread on our message board.

In the news

There are some very interesting stories in the news this week. Probably the biggest story is the possibility that Google intend to by YouTube. For more information on this acquisition check out TechCrunch’s report. However, more interest to me are two stories found on the BBC website. The first is a report stating that people are more concerned about net crime than being burgled. This remarkable report emphasises the need to reassure users continually about the privacy and security of their personal information. The second article exposes the fact that despite people being more tech-savvy than ever before, they are still left confused by the mass of technical jargon online.


Finally, we review an easy to implement ecommerce system called Shopify. Although not quite as straightforward as RightCart it does have considerably more features and is definitely worth checking out if you are considering a small scale ecommerce website. For a more complete rundown of the different ecommerce packages available read the ecommerce software thread on our forum.

  • http://www.richardquickdesign.com Richard Quick

    Very professional podcast guys.
    There was a lot of really useful stuff in there that I’ll take on board for future projects.
    But what’s this about me not being “Worzelly” enough? On behalf of the entire Cornish nation I’m deeply offended. It’s people from up near “Brizzle”, like Paul, that speak funny – not us Cornish folk.

  • Martijn

    Really nice PodCast again.
    I did notice some sounds jumps on different parts of it.
    I’m not really into Ecommerce but I still think I’ve learned some extra marketing from this one.
    Or atleast now I know I’m not the only one bothered by some of the buying systems.
    Good advertising on the foum aswell, it’s a great system and I hope all listeners will join us there.
    It’ll be nice to see some feutured forum discussion everyweek at the show, that will spice it up a bit as people will feel to be involved in the PodCast.
    As a little note a side, I think this weeks joke was the best part of the PodCast – sorry Paul.
    Fr. Greetings,

  • http://www.richardquickdesign.com Richard Quick

    Yeah, the joke was wierd.
    I read that exact same joke about 2 days ago somewhere – made me crack up even the second time ;o)

  • http://www.ludwignz.com Ludwig Wendzich

    Well I’m still listening to the podcast (up to Jakob’s book now) but I just had to leave a comment to say that I read on CNet that Google has bought YouTube :)

  • Matt Braithwaite

    Looks like you were right about Google and Youtube, Paul.
    According to the BBC bought for a snip at bn.
    The article is at the following link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6034577.stm
    Great Podcast guys, has made me reapproch an ecommerce site of mine with a few more ideas..

  • http://www.crimsonfox.com.au Russell – Crimson Fox

    Richard you’re a big suck, lol.
    Paul, I look forward to listening to the next podcast about standards. Don’t forget to target it to a Boss type person, not lowly designers and programmers like most of us. ;)
    See you all in the Forum!

  • Goal? A pub!

    Who’s still using table-based design?

  • http://www.eboredom.net Ben Brown

    Hey man, I am a yankee who recently got turned on to your podcast through iTunes. This is probably the best web design resource that I subscribe to. I love you. Keep it up!

  • http://allthingsdev.com Jeff Purcell

    Love the podcast guys. I’m actually discussing this very topic in my ecommerce class that I teach. The “view larger images” functionality has always been a sore spot for me. I always though newegg did a very nice job of making the images as large as physically viewable.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Matt

    This is the first time I actually thought the show was boring. Maybe it was Paul’s cold that caused it. I felt like it was just a lot of complaining about your online shopping experiences. I don’t understand how the bargain camera that Marcus got fit into all this either…

  • http://www.boagworld.com Paul Boag

    Its a fair comment Matt. I felt like shit to be honest and didnt want to do it. I am not suprised that came across on the show. I promise to do better next time around!

  • http://webaxe.blogspot.com Dennis

    I agree that prices should be posted on a web site. It’s so annoying when you have no idea what a company’s products/services cost.
    Thanks for the link to Shopify–looks very promising. Keep up the good work, you guys are very informative, and entertaining!

  • http://blenderstyle.net/ BlenderStyle

    They made fun of my handle, BlenderStyle, on this podcast. That’s awesome! There’s nothing wrong with a little teasing. At least they liked my comments made in the forum. Great show!