Once she's wrestled her way in, she immediately discovers
there are no aisles for her to walk through to look at
their stuff, no overhead signs for her quickly to
locate anything, no helpful (or even rude) information
desk people, no smiling sales staff, not even an obvious
cashier. In fact, she realizes that from her point of view
there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to this store
at all. How much do you think the novelty and graphics and
music matter now? How long do you think she's going to
hang around? How much do you think sheís going to
can hear you hooting. What a way to run a business - to
build a store that actively discourages shopping!
The bozos who thought that place up should be hung out to
dry, right? Now, consider this: in the online world, the
functional equivalent to your store is the Graphical
User Interface, or GUI - pronounced "gooey."
Whenever I hear this term, I think of flypaper and how
it's hardly something you want your prospects to get stuck
on. You don't want your clients fighting with your
"store" - you want them actively engaged in
shopping, not just satisfied but delighted by the
way you offer your products.
your GUI has a very simple role to play: it allows humans
to interact with you, to view your products, to make
selections and complete a purchase. Easily. Painlessly.
Happily. An effective GUI bridges all the gaps between you
and your shoppers by helping them focus on the content
of your website. A good GUI should be seamless,
transparent, completely unobtrusive. A super interface
will help build the proper customer experience,
reinforce your brand, and increase your sales. A bad one
will do just the opposite.
GUI spells ruin. If a user has to work hard to puzzle
through your high-tech system or obscure processes, she's
not shopping. And every time you add another gooey layer
that frustrates her interest and motivation, she's that
much less inclined to "stick" with you! Itís
easier to find a competitor, just a click away, who
puts her interests first.
many folks (you know who I meanÖ) who are responsible
for e-commerce design on the web assume that constructing
an interface is nothing more than creating distinctive
glamour and eye-catching cleverness. And that's a major
reason lots of e-businesses fail. One study discovered
that users currently spend 1-1/2 hours of every 5 hours on
the web simply waiting for pages to download! They spend
at least another 10% of that 5 hours searching for items
on a page, and more than another 10% filling out forms.
Get real! No shopper is going to invest that kind of time
for an average purchase!
GUI plays a simple role, but designing a GUI thatís
simple for your shopper isn't a simple matter. Many
disciplines go into the mix:
∑ Information architects
analyze the kind of information that needs to be
communicated and generate logical pathways to form the
foundation of the site.
∑ Graphic designers
give the structure a coherent visual look and feel that
fits within the overall brand positioning strategy while
(ideally) striving to enhance usability.
∑ Human-factors and usability
question accessibility and usability issues at every
step of the way, conducting extensive user testing to
weed out any potential problems.
with experience in good, old-fashioned N2N (nose to
nose) sales as well as in consumer psychology,
marketing, merchandising, color theory, and other key
issues further refine and improve the effectiveness
of the interface.
of work, but your business wonít work without it. Lots
of studies and lots of red ink are proving that fancy
graphics, audio, 3-D, and too-clever layout features donít
make your site sticky. They make it slow, distracting, and
confusing. Anything that gets in the way of a quick,
easy, and safe buying experience turns customers off.
So design your GUI from the customer's point of view,
not the developerís or the designerís, and youíll
create a flypaper that has them "sticking" for
all the right reasons!