Product pages for e-commerce websites are often rife with ambitions: recreate the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, provide users with every last drop of product information, build a brand persona, establish a seamless check-out process.
Paul Demery. Sometimes what makes retailers special isn’t always immediately noticeable—until you get inside their heads and how they operate. And sometimes, as in the case of HauteLook—which emerged on the retail scene a few years ago as one of the first members-only, flash sale e-commerce sites—what initially sets them apart is followed by something that may be even more important.
Members-only flash sale sites are no longer unusual, of course, with many of the more traditional retailers launching their own versions. Yet there’s something else about HauteLook and how it operates. It’s also not unusual to use social media to offer consumers another way to engage with a merchant. But this merchant takes it a step way beyond the common.
What makes a great website? There’s a lot that goes into one these days. Universal appeal, good design, and useful features are just the beginning of the list of essentials. They’re also the things we take into account first when we dive into evaluating sites for our yearly list of the Top 100 Websites.
Our list of Classic websites remains much the same as last year, though there are some sites that are making the list for the first time (hello, Quora!). The websites we’ve deemed our Classics have been chosen because they remain constantly useful while staying relevant to an ever-changing audience.
The Undiscovered portion of the list—new (or newish) sites that have never been on this list—seems to get a little smaller every year. (Yes, we’re picky and yes, there are a lot of crappy websites out there.) We narrowed the list for 2011 down to 39 sites. Another reason this list continues to shrink? It seems that, as we noted last year, the rise of mobile apps is cannibalizing the development of stand-alone websites for the desktop. There just aren’t as many sites that are as compelling as in past years. Now, we didn’t say none. Thankfully, there are still plenty out there. They, along with our picks for the 61 Classics make up our list of the Top 100 Websites of 2011. If you haven’t checked them out by now, you really should.
So read, explore, enjoy, and discuss. While you’re at it, recommend some more sites in our comments area for our 2012 list. It’s never too early.
For designers, it’s easy to jump right into the design phase of a website before giving the user experience the consideration it deserves. Too often, we prematurely turn our focus to page design and information architecture, when we should focus on the user flows that need to be supported by our designs. It’s time to make the user flows a bigger priority in our design process.
Design flows that are tied to clear objectives allow us to create a positive user experience and a valuable one for the business we’re working for. In this article, we’ll show you how spending more time up front designing user flows leads to better results for both the user and business. Then we’ll look in depth at a common flow for e-commerce websites (the customer acquisition funnel), as well as provide tips on optimizing it to create a complete customer experience.
The navigation bar is the most important design element on a website. Not only does it guide your users to pages beyond the homepage, but it’s also the singular tool to give users a sense of orientation. With this in mind, it’s important to adhere to time-tested design and usability conventions. Doing so will give your users a comfortable and easy reference point to fully engage with your content.
Despite the necessity of an accessible navigation bar, usability studies on navigation across the web aren’t positive. One study by User Interface Engineering shows that people cannot find the information they seek on a website about 60% of the time. While this failure rate might be acceptable for your average blog, a business website simply cannot afford these stats. Even worse, many users often find navigation usability extremely frustrating, citing annoying hover errors and inconsistencies. Another study by Forrester found that 40% of users do not return to a site when their first visit is negative.
So how do you ensure that your users are able to quickly and easily find the information they need?
Designers are constantly striving to create eye-catching designs without losing the usability features that add significant importance to the experience of online shopping. Today’s showcase presents a variety of websites with elegant design solutions and innovative design techniques. We have analyzed the designs and now discuss their advantages and disadvantages in this review. We also suggest improvements and further ideas that could help improve shopping experience on these sites. Hopefully, you can learn something useful from our thoughts.
This overview features a hand-picked and organized selection of the most useful and popular Photoshop techniques, articles and tutorials published on Smashing Magazine over the past few years.
- Unknown Tricks And Time Savers
- The Ultimate Guide To Cloning In Photoshop
- Unveiling Photoshop Masks
- Brushing Up On Photoshop’s Brush Tool
- Setting Up Photoshop For Web, App and iPhone Development
- Designing for iPhone 4 Retina Display: Techniques and Workflow
- The Ails Of Typographic Anti-Aliasing
- Mastering Photoshop With Paths
- Mastering Photoshop: Noise, Textures, Gradients and Rounded Rectangles
- Pixel Perfection When Rotating, Pasting And Nudging In Photoshop
- Mastering Photoshop Techniques: Layer Styles
- Useful Photoshop Tips And Tricks For Photo Retouching
- Photo Retouching Tips And Tricks In Photoshop
- Top 10 Killer Photoshop Combo Moves