The ultimate motive of any eCommerce business is to convert every visitor into a customer in order to generate higher sales. And that can be defined as the act of naturally navigating the targeted user through the sales funnel.
The secret code to achieve the expected conversions, that many tend to ignore is – eCommerce UX (User Experience). Even a report by Forbes mentions that a better UX design yields up to 400% conversion rates.
What is UX Design?
User experience design is all about offering an intuitive, responsive, navigable, and a usable web interface for the users. All these parameters will together add up to make for an incredible shopping experience.
All you need is to try walking in the shoes of your target audience to understand what will make for a flawless shopping experience and what will add to the pain points.
There are three responses to a piece of design- Yes, No, and WOW. WOW is the one to aim for!- Milton Glaser
So, here are the top 20 eCommerce UX design practices that effortlessly aim towards achieving that WOW.
1. Prefer Minimalism When Designing the Hero Area
Hero area or precisely the feature area is the first thing a visitor comes across when they enter your eCommerce website. Where adding attractive animations and 3D graphics might seem tempting, it does not work anymore.
Rather try a flatter design that follows minimalism. Here’s how to go about it.
- Use a simple, neat, and an uncluttered design
- Add fewer images and fewer words to the feature area
- Focus on adding only a single and identifiable CTA (Call to Action)
2. A Well Positioned Search Bar adds Convenience
Having a working search bar is a prominent expectation of any eCommerce website visitors. It is quite a subconscious response that a user first looks for a search bar when finding a product or a service.
A well-positioned search bar on the website levels up the usability big time.
- Do add a magnifying glass icon that is quite skeuomorphic in its approach
- Embedding an auto-complete and auto-suggestion option is a smart choice for eCommerce setups
3. Use High-Resolution Product Images
For it is an eCommerce business, you are mainly concerned about what your business sells. The quality of the images straight away defines the quality of the sales made.
The more you invest in delivering high-resolution images, the better the chances that the product will reach the checkout section.
- Adding short product explanatory videos is the time’s demand
- Close-ups, 360-degree effect, and multiple-angled images could do the magic
4. Maintain Accuracy & Clarity of Information
Shoppers today are wiser and smarter than ever. They have certain expectations of the website and you ought not to disappoint them. Big players in the market are already following the best practices, you could do that too.
That is why; you need to present critical information in a user-friendly manner while maintaining a natural flow of information.
- Display delivery information, product availability, seller information, and price on the product page itself
- Delivery and return policy should be easily communicated through a one-touch option
5. Master the Checkout Page
This makes for the most essential page for an eCommerce setup as it happens to be the last step of the sales funnel. You can’t afford to go on the wrong track especially when you are likely to generate sales.
It comes as a responsibility to make it for the users to make a payment and place the order.
- Include a mini shopping cart that includes a clickable link to the main cart page.
- Try and add minimal form fields on the checkout pages as complexity kills the user experience
6. Try and Leave Breadcrumbs
When a user clicks on a particular product link, they should be redirected to the exact product page instead of the high-level categorization. This is one thing that would make your UX design a successful one.
Leaving such breadcrumbs is not only good for the user but the Google crawlers and SEO too.
- Hyperlink product advertisements and Google links to that particular product page rather than Home or high categorization
- Add short names to the product pages so that the URL seems accurate and less complicated
7. Bigger Font Size gets Preference
Where 12 points font has been the most adopted size, it is way too small for your website and mobile user experience. Keeping in the mind the current UX design trends, 14 and 16 points are widely accepted fonts.
These fonts make it easy to read on the screen without hurting the eyes.
- Make use of a font size calculator to find out the best font for your website
- Fonts to consider: Open Sans, Ubuntu, Lato, Vollkorn, Arvo, Josefin Slab
8. Get Rid of Dark Patterns
When a visitor lands on your eCommerce website, they should feel welcomed. Whether it is signing up or making a purchase, it should be a choice and not an obligation.
So, it would level up the user experience if the dark patterns are given a miss once and for all.
- Do not make it an obligation for a visitor to sign-up for making a purchase. Shopping as a guest visitor should be possible.
- Do not mislead the visitors by contradicting the product price on the product page and the checkout page
9. Horizontal Filter Display is the New in
Most of the eCommerce websites design supports a vertical filtering tab that seems to work well so far. But, it is the horizontal filtering options that are adding convenience and changing the face of eCommerce websites.
A little change for making things better never hurts. After all, unique web design is what gets appreciated.
- A designer should be able to pin the horizontal filter so that it appears side by side as the user scrolls.
- Try and cover the entire width of the page as white spaces can make the design look ugly
10. Column Structures for Fetching User Data
Adding multiple columns on user entry forms, the natural flow of information gathering gets distorted. That is the reason behind giving preference to single column structures for signups and checkouts.
When the user’s eyes move along a single direction, they do not have to figure out which entry to fill up next, thus fewer chances of skipping a field.
- Adding similarly grouped fields (logically similar entities) in multiple columns that too in a linear fashion is a recommended design practice
- Do not add useless form fields as it can lead to website abandonment. Rather add to-the-point form fields and work on automating the entries based on common information. An example could be auto-detecting city and state based on postal code.
11. Product Thumbnails are a Must
Adding perfectly sized and clear thumbnails at each and every step (browsing, checkout, review, confirmation emails, order history) of the product identification makes for good design practice.
For a user with multiple orders, it becomes easy to identify orders with visual thumbnails across the UI.
- Keep the thumbnail images consistent across all the major touchpoints. However, the image can be repositioned and resized in accordance with the corresponding page design.
- Try and make the thumbnails smaller when the items in the cart increase. This is helpful as the thumbnails will occupy only the required space without pushing the primary actionable buttons away.
12. Bold Headlines to Grab the Attention
In this highly competitive online space, it has become tricky to grab visitor attention. This is where bold headlines come to rescue and make a web experience stand out.
Bolder and highlighted fonts attract more attention and even help in boosting the readability of the page.
- Follow the inverted pyramid approach that emphasizes putting the most important information first. This way you’ll know what content to highlight and why.
- Also, go for larger fonts for bold headlines. It will make the user read the larger and the emphasized content first.
13. Welcome Change with Microinteractions
When it comes to enhancing the look and the feel of a product, microinteractions tend to stand out. In the right words, “Microinteractions are contained product moments that revolve around a single use case.”
A fair example of microinteractions could be the “Like” button that is exclusive to Facebook. It acts as a medium that helps a user interact with the website design which, in turn, soothes the user experience big time.
- Add interesting animations to the elements that can be hovered over. As soon as the user takes the cursor on the item, the animation should start playing.
- Bring emotions to your product pages by adding “animated feedback” that represent likability and disappointment with the product.
14. Focus on Optimizing the Content
Content is king not only for SEO best practices but to gather visitor attention too. Also, having a great content strategy is a vital step in the UX design process.
To do that it becomes a responsibility to create content that is visually attractive and relevant to the context.
- Do not add long descriptive sentences to describe a product. Instead use short sentences with the 5-7 word, bullet point descriptions
- Focus on accommodating an acceptable information architecture that lets the users intuitively navigate through the content of the website.
15. Offer an Overall Personalized Experience
The online platform is getting smarter and smarter with time. And, the evidence for such smartness lies in the personalized ads we receive on our social media accounts based on preferences and browsing history.
A simple example here is Amazon, which displays similar products at the bottom of a product page. All credits to the machine learning algorithms deployed by eCommerce websites.
- Consider a “Complete the look” recommendation if you have a fashion website
- Offering combo recommendations based on similar products or purchase history of distinctively bought products. For example, offering a combo offer for a mouse and keyboard makes for a great deal.
16. “Thumb Zone” for Enhancing Usability
Around 75% of people use their mobile phones with their thumbs. Keeping that in mind, there are certain zones for thumb movements that are common across mobile devices.
Be it be the left-thumb users or the right-thumb users, placing the actionable elements consciously is the need of the hour.
- Place the indispensable elements in the center of the screen, i.e., the natural reach of the thumb
- Take care of the “larger thumb” principle that tells to design larger clickable links in place of tiny links
17. Say Yes to Hamburger Icons
Many say that a hamburger icon is an outdated trend, but it is not! The three parallel lines are an ideal compact object that makes categorization easy. Once a user hovers over the icon, a drop-down menu appears.
Embed a well-placed hamburger icon for it makes your design tidy and clutter-less.
- Add hamburger animations that could make your design stand out from the rest
- Focus on its effectiveness, i.e., clicking or touching on a particular menu item should lead to the corresponding dedicated page
18. Giving Priority Top Gesture Controls
In this world where comfort is given more preference, typing and tapping are becoming a thing of the past. Adding gesture controls such as long-press, hold, swap, and drag make it easy for a user to interact with your eCommerce website.
But, here’s the catch! You need to add gesture controls cautiously as gesture control sensitivity may ruin the UX.
- Accommodate gesture sensitivity all across the screen so that a user can touch anywhere on the screen to trigger the action.
- Make it easy and intuitive to combine gesture controls without hindering a task completing the process.
- An example could be “holding” a product, “dragging” it to the cart, and then “releasing” it.
19. Embracing Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is slowly making a mark in the world of eCommerce. It basically revolves around letting the visitors feel and virtually experience the product so that they can make an informed purchase.
An example of such an application could be IKEA Place, which allows visitors to virtually see the furniture, play with its color, and a lot more before buying it.
- Try and lock all the elements to the screen space to make for a responsive overall user experience
- Try and make the experience as simple and clean as possible
20. Catching up on the Mobile-First Design
Needless to say, having a mobile-first design is the best thing to take care of when designing an eCommerce UX. After all, m-commerce is expected to create 72.9% of eCommerce sales by 2021.
The design of the interface should automatically adjust itself with respect to the device a user is accessing.
- Where a website design displays multiple products on a single page, a mobile-first approach should focus on displaying only 5-10 products on a page.
- Try and accommodate what is functionally and visually essential when designing for the mobile-first interface.
This is all for now! One thing is for sure you do not have to spend a million to offer an incredible user experience! All it takes is a fool-proof strategy and best design practices to meet the targeted sale numbers.
So, start today and get going on embracing the best eCommerce UX design practices to boost up the conversions. There are also many reputed UX design agencies available to offer their UX design expertise, for you cannot afford to go wrong at any step in this highly competitive eCommerce space.
In the end, the idea should be to fall in love with your users so that they can fall in love with your design and your store.