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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Dan Miller, Vice President, Product Management, of American Greetings
had such a wonderful speech on "How to Keep a Design Fresh" that we thought it
deserved it's own post!

First Dan offered great advice on when NOT to redesign. He stated that most
redesigns fail to live up to expectations since most of the time expectations were
set based on aesthetic reasons (emotions) and not strategic purpose. When
redesigning a website, you want to make sure that you identify a strategic objective
and/or a user need. The design should be helpful, but invisible.

When redesigning your website, you need to stay away from emotion. You don't
have to have every gadget out there on your website. Especially if those gadgets
are not beneficial for YOUR customers.

Ask yourself:

- Will this help our user complete their task?

-Is their a benefit created for our user?

-Is this new feature essential to the experience or just the latest "buzzword"

You want to make sure that you focus on design solutions that increase
efficiency in user task completion (for Yahoo Stores this would be to place the
order but sometimes it might be to join your newsletter). These design solutions

-Provide clear navigation

-Design for scan-ability (remember that people scan left to right)

-Use clear labeling

The biggest tip -

Simplify common experiences (add to cart, check out, customization, etc).

Your design should be helpful but not invisible.

-The design should help users flow within your site and avoid causing the user to
trip out of one experience and into the next.

-Good design will guide users on a desired path - over designing will cause the path
to become obscured.

-Understand the effect that design plans on critical elements

Test your website and tweak . Use data to assist you. Focus on a small
section of your website to make changes. Otherwise you will not know what works
and what does not.

Mr. Miller suggests to always watch your competitors:

  • Don't pretend to be a customer, experience the process and buy something

  • Read reviews and what other people are saying to get a better
    understanding of why they use your competitor

  • Subscribe to THEIR newsletter

  • Make it routine to visit and evaluate sites that your shoppers would visit

  • Look to reuse established design patterns that your shoppers are
    familiar with (you are providing your customers a disservice by trying to be

  • Are there conventions that seem to be working well that you can modify
    to better meet your users' needs?

  • Devote time to think about how you can improve something rather than
    trying to invent something new

A great speech and great information Mr. Miller thank you!

The biggest advice I can give you when you are ready for a redesign is focus
on your navigation. You want your customers to be able to find what they are
looking for quickly and efficiently. Think about it, customers typically shop
online to save time and energy. Make it easier for them to find what they need.

Offer them Shop By Price, Shop By Brand, give them the information they need
to locate the products they are looking for. Use breadcrumbs to show your
customers where they are at within your store.

Use "Recently Viewed Items" to add personalization to their shopping

The second biggest advice I can give you is to make sure that you are working
with a company that understands and utilizes the latest techniques in web
design. How a design is implemented into your website can greatly affect your
search engine rankings. You want your pages to load faster for your customers,
you want your customers to find what they want as quickly as possible, and you
also want to make sure that your customers can find you naturally in the search
engines as well. This will give your website the added boost your website needs
to increase traffic and your conversion rates.

Need help? Give us a call and we will be more than happy to answer any
questions you may have! Our toll free number is 888-312-7839.

by: Shawna Seigel

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