Book Review - Web Design for ROI by Lance Loveday and Sandra Niehaus
Too many people who run commerce websites are unaware that they are leaving significant dollars on the table by abandoned shopping carts and people leaving prior to order completion. Web Design for ROI: Turning Browsers into Buyers & Prospects into Leads by Lance Loveday and Sandra Niehaus examines that problem and leads you towards site changes that can stop the bleeding and turn more clicks into leads and actual dollars.
The Big Picture: Web Design for ROI - A Novel Concept; Business Case; Managing for ROI
Design Guidelines: Landing Pages; Home Pages; Category Pages; Detail Pages; Forms; Checkout Process
Resources: Digging Deeper; Index
The analogy that Loveday and Niehaus use for sites not performing at their maximum potential is very applicable. Imagine you walked into a supermarket and there were dozens of half-full shopping carts sitting in the aisles, abandoned. Management of the store would be frantic to figure out why people were stopping their shopping experience half-way through and then leaving. Yet in the web world, little concern is given to the rates that people "walk inside" your site, look around, maybe even pick up a few things, but then leave without buying. The authors use both conceptual and practical ideas to help you reverse that situation. Part of the work is understanding who your site is serving. If you're targeting an older audience, do you want to have technical navigation and a "hip" look? Or if your audience is technical in nature, do you want your site to look like it was a fill-in-the-blank template? Neither of those will get the type of response from the audience you're after. On the practical side, there's plenty of information on using better graphics, making effective use of white space, and not overwhelming your visitor by trying to stick absolutely everything on the front page. When that happens, important things get lost in the clutter, and no one knows what opportunities they might be missing.
Even though I don't run a site that culminates with a purchase, there are still things I can do to make sure users find my sites appealing, usable, and compelling. I'll probably end up taking advantage of some of the "Design A or Design B" experiments they propose as a way to see what works best. I'll also be using the resources they have in the back of the book to expand my knowledge in this whole area of usability. If you have access to this book, it's worth reading.