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Dating Advice For Your Online Store, Pt 6

The final installment goes over what NOT to do when designing your online store.



Even if you can’t or don’t want to do any of what I told you. At least just don’t be “that” site, the one everyone talks about behind his back because he’s just doing all the wrong things. So here are a few things to avoid…



Don’t be late

Forrester Research found that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 57% would abandon if it takes more than three seconds. And there are even rumors suggesting page speed affects your google ranking as well so pay attention to your page speed… How?


Glad you asked…



There are a bunch of free tools out there that measure your page load time. One of which is provided by Google itself. Just type in the URL and it gives you score (as you can see above, Macy’s got a 71). This one also has tips on what to fix to improve the site speed on both mobile and desktop versions.



There are a lot of simple things you can do that will make a big difference: like minimizing your imagery. So even after you’ve compressed your images from Photoshop or whatever, there’s still more space that can be sucked out of those jpegs. You could use an image optimization service like Imageoptim to further squeeze those images down.



Also, be careful with the number of fancy web fonts you’re using – Google provides a handy tool that estimates what the effect on load time will be as you’re picking out fonts from their collection.



Also think about not loading those fonts on your mobile version.



Don’t be Annoying

No one intends to be annoying, of course. But sometimes we throw up friction unnecessarily even though we mean well. What do I mean by annoying?



This! Sticking a popup in front of your content before I’ve had a chance to do anything.

While it is true that sign-up pop-ups increase your chance of building your email list, they also increase the chance of bouncing people off your site, so it’s up to you to weigh that risk:reward ratio here.


But if you insist, then just don’t be obnoxious about it.


First of all, make it easy for me to say no.

Most popups have a little X that closes the box, can you find it here?



If you are going to do them, don’t make users hunt for a way to make the popup go away. Don’t make it tiny text like you see here. Boooo!



Also, once is enough.

Here when you come to Gap the first time, before the rest of the site loads, you get the first popup, with thankfully has an easily noticeable X to close it, but then…



Boom! The second popup shows up, which actually isn’t a popup per se but a collapsable promo bar with the close button waaaaaaaay over here.



Lastly, consider giving it some time before interrupting. 

Or do like some sites and wait until users have scrolled down a bit, basically indicating that they’re still interested. This user is actually more likely to follow through on the popups offer, and in addition, by waiting you haven’t scared off the user who is alarmed by your early advances and leaves.

As always…



Remember that mobiles screens are  smaller than desktops. Sounds obvious right? But it’s important to make sure the popups scale down to fit but NOT COVER UP the entire screen on mobile. If it does then it looks more like your page got hijacked  than an overlay.

Also make sure the tapping area’s big enough for you to close the box with fat fingers, so this one on the left looks good, this one on the right not so much.

Speaking of mobile…



Don’t be Unfriendly

Again, most people don’t intend on being unfriendly. Sometimes it just happens because you’re focussed on other important things.

What do I mean?



Yes it takes time and investment to transition to a responsive site, but it’s for your own good.

Remember that growing proportion of mobile shoppers from part 1? If that’s not enough of a reason, since April of last year, Google is weighing sites with mobile-friendly versions heavier on mobile search. That’s huge. 



Next, be customer friendly. We rightly spend a lot of time on the product pages, but an often over-looked section is the customer service page.



According to the Neilsen/ Norman Group’s Ecommerce User Experience report series:



This is an important section to customers and it reflects badly on you if this part looks like it’s the bastard step-child of the site.




Alright, so if you’ve persevered and made it through this entire series give yourself a high-five from me. But just to wrap things up, let’s recap:

  1. Remember your Core
    The core principles of visual hierarchy & respecting the fold. It’s all about being clear where you want their eyes to go.
  2. Know Your Type
    Get to know the frame of mind your key customers are more likely going to be in. Are they hunters, browsers, researchers? Then gear your layout and features to what will make them happy.
  3. Give good Product Page
    Follow that up with a very clean easy to understand product page with all the pertinent intell on your product.
  4. Don’t be THAT Site
    At the very least, just avoid making them mad with slow load times and annoying pop-ups.
  5. And of course, test as much as possible.

And soon maybe your customers will be saying…


Corny, I know. I  just couldn’t resist.

Andrew Davies

Drew's degrees in Illustration, 2D animation and Broadcast Design, and his volleyball skillz mean he can get your design done and play well with others at the same time. He’s the Creative Director at Paragon and will call you out if you start hanging out with shady-looking fonts and messing around with whacked-out color palettes.