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Part: 3 Tools and Rules for Winning Webs... > Designing Intuitive Online Customer ...

Chapter 6. Designing Intuitive Online Customer Shopping Models

One of the most important goals in website design is to ensure that customers can easily and intuitively navigate a website. The closer the experience is to being a “no brainer,” the closer it is to a good, customer-centric design.

Operating a website is like operating a car. The controls of a car are its buttons, knobs, and switches that start the car, turn on windshield wipers, adjust seats for comfort, and play music. The controls of a website are graphical elements and text displayed as buttons and links. Just as each make of automobile may have different ways of operating the controls, websites do also. For example, in one car make and model, the windshield wiper control is on the turn signal shaft. In another make of car, it can be a knob on the dashboard.

Unfamiliar controls and control behavior—the action that is performed when the control is used—leads to customer confusion. Sometimes, feature creep and elegant, innovative development replaces common sense and prior learning methodologies. And because a customer shops several websites, the confusion compounds.

In Chapter 5, we identified the major components of a website: webpages, content on the pages, and the navigation that links them together. That chapter also provided recommendations on best practices for each of the parts. This chapter presents the methodologies and processes on how to use the parts of online stores to effectively create an intuitive customer online shopping model for key categories.


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