Selecting a design for your ecommerce website is very important because its visual communication with your customers and is commonly known as the user interface.
Customers will quickly make a value judgement about your website when they view it for the first time – if they decide that your website design is pleasing to view and contains information that they want then they will spend time on your site. If they dont like it then they will probably close your site within a few seconds and never come back. This is a very short time that potential customers are spending on this decision because they know that they can look at a large number of websites in a short time frame and the power rests with them.
The design should reflect your business and the products that it sells whilst giving the customer a fantastic user experience.
It should be easy to navigate and allow customers to quickly and logicaly find their way around your web pages and to perform activities easily eg view a product, place a order, search for a product, create a account .
Care must be taken in the use of logos and images used on the site, colours, fonts, dynamic and static menus, buttons and size of the pages.
Websites have 5 common areas that can be used in a website layout.
Left hand side column
Right hand side column
Middle section or content container
It is not essential that you use all of these areas but you would typically have at least a header, one of the columns and the content container. Have a quick look at example sites and you will see that they are different in what areas they use and how the areas are used to display information.
The areas are used to give the site structure, allow for static and dynamic information, consistency between web pages, allow for navigation , reflect the importance of the information and improve the quality of the user interface and user experience.
It is always a good idea to spend some time researching your competitor websites and other websites that you like to see their layouts and how they have structured the user interface.
Its also important to select a website designer who is highly skilled in all aspects of website design and who understands the principals of design and user interface as well as experience in creating ecommerce websites and a knowledge of current trends. They will then work with you and the website developer to design and deliver a website that has a high quality design.
A high quality design enhances the customers experience and enhances your business brand and prestige plus it encourages them to place orders on your site, visit your site regulary and refer new customers to your ecommerce website.