It can be a bit of a mental strain convincing ourselves that something is worthy of purchasing. Now, add the fact that we’re purchasing it over the Internet? That can either be a slow toiling brain war or a click-happy addiction accentuated by caffeine. For the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on the first group—people who need to feel complete trust in something before making a purchase online. Why the doubt? Touch.
Enter savvy web design. Smart sites can help a shopper feel comfortable about an intangible product.
There are several ways a site can ensure comfort. The information architecture should conform to a user’s needs and the not the company’s, standard conventions should be used such as understandable links and search boxes (although I think that is debatable depending on how well the site is designed), and the site should be compatible with all browsers, to name a few. Language is also key. The copy should be to the point yet enticing. It should also be easy to locate. As author Steve Krug says, don’t make the user think!
A well-designed site adds credibility to the product. Any design involving interaction (clicking on a link, downloading a file, watching a video) should also be put together with a high standard of design excellence and shouldn’t be bogged down with too many images or details. Several design items give a site credibility, such as error-free copy, testimonials, content that is regularly updated, and an impressive portfolio of past work or products. Each segment of the website should be designed with the specific audience in mind. By creating an illusion that the website is in control and is also credible, the user is able to shop freely and with ease.
So, get comfortable with your site and customers will get comfortable with your products. And limit the cheesie outros (I’m still working on this one).