A redesigned keeps pages clean and simple

January 23, 2014 10:20 AM

As the largest online retailer of office supplies ranked in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide, Staples Inc. does an effective job overall in its design for key product pages, according to a critique of by Trinity Insight, an e-commerce consulting firm specializing in web site traffic and conversion management.

But the detailed critique of a product page selling binders and related merchandise argues that Staples can do a better job of coordinating the use of images and text to make purchasing easier and to motivate visitors to complete a transaction.

“The overall design makes good use of white space and keeps the page balanced, allowing the user to visually organize the elements of the page into images, description and information into the desired call to action,” Trinity says.

The critique of the shopping home page and a key product page by Trinity Insight is one of 60 critiques of America’s leading e-retail sites in Internet Retailer’s newly published 2014 Guide to E-Commerce Site Design & Usability.

In its latest research study published by Internet Retailer, six of the country’s top web designers point out the best design features—and some of the design flaws—of 60 leading web sites in 15 merchandise categories.  48 of the top mobile commerce sites are also reviewed in the 2014 Guide to E-Commerce Site Design & Usability.

The all-new 409-page 2014 Guide to E-Commerce Site Design & Usability also provides scores of practical tips for improving retail site design and e-commerce sales.

The 2014 Guide to E-Commerce Site Design & Usabilityresponds to  retailers’ need for more detailed “how-to” information. The heart of the publication includes critiques of the two top-ranked Top 500 and Second 500 online retailers in multiple product categories.

In its detailed review of the Staples product page Trinity Insight points out that making some minor adjustments to how images appear on the page may result in easier product evaluation for shoppers and increase the likelihood of completing a purchase. “The product image is presented large on the page and this allows the user to easily evaluate the product,” Trinity says. “The primary image currently being viewed is also presented as a thumbnail, which may confuse or frustrate users.”

A Staples spokesman responds that the retailer has recently redesigned its web site to reduce clutter, and is still refining the new design. “Building a great e-commerce experience is an iterative process, driven by customer needs and advances in technology,” says a Staples spokesman. “As part of Staples’ recent redesign we removed visual and navigational clutter and created a cleaner and more modern visual style that focused on product and supported faster page loads.  Our work is not finished but, based on initial customer feedback, we’re on the right path.”

In addition to the 108 site critiques, the 2014 Guide to E-Commerce Site Design & Usability contains the key web site features, functions and design metrics of the Internet Retailer Top 1000, and profiles, pricing and product information on more than 200 providers of design and usability products and services.

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