Silver surfers need to eat | Boagworld - Web & Digital Advice

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Paul Boag Posted by: Paul Boag On Wednesday, 28th June, 2006

Silver surfers need to eat

I don’t normally sound the fanfare when Headscape launches a new site. In my experience it opens me up to more criticism than I enjoy! However I think for once I will make an exception.

The estimated time to read this article is 2 minutes

The problem is that people can’t help but criticise. They love to spot the fact that a site doesn’t work on some obscure browser under a defunct operating system like Safari for the mac ;).

Anyway the site that we have just launched is an upgrade to a pretty standard ecommerce site which I worked on a few years back. You can view it at:

Despite the somewhat provincial name, Wiltshire Farm Foods is a massive organisation and their website is a significant revenue generator. Basically they sell ready meals to an elderly audience, who don’t have the time or inclination to slave over a hot stove.

I know what you’re thinking. Not the most exciting site ever created. However, it has actually been quite a challenging site to work on. The age and relative lack of web experience, of the target audience meant that a lot of time and thought had to go into the user interface.

I won’t bore you with a long post outlining all the design decisions made and why those approaches were taken. Instead I will let you have a poke around for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Things to look out for include:

  • Nice interface scaling when you increase the font size
  • Lots of friendly cross selling adverts to increase the value of each sale
  • A simple, clean and large interface, ideal for this audience
  • Slick AJAX functionality when items are added to your basket including clear indications to the user that something has happened.
  • Fixed position (impossible to miss) shopping basket tethered to the bottom of every screen

Of course there are a lot of things I don’t like about the site (such as the need to enter a postcode before you can see the price). However, some things are beyond a web designers ability to control.

That said, all in all, it’s come out pretty well.

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