With the explosion of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s, suddenly everyone was getting into the business of web design – from NJ to CA and everywhere in between. But, as is often the case, technology quickly outpaced existing skills. As a result, poorly designed, difficult to navigate web sites were, for many years, the norm. Programmers had to learn to wrap their minds around principles of page design and usability, while graphic designers found themselves adapting to a vastly different medium. |
As e-commerce became a significant factor in the global economy at the turn of the millennium, web- design quality shot to the forefront of business. Consumers were quickly turned off by web sites that demonstrated amateurish or confusing design. In addition, the importance of simple, straightforward navigation became apparent. Customers in NJ buying cheese from a Wisconsin online supplier wanted to be able to select, pay for, and ship their products in a simple, straightforward process. An online web store that failed to deliver at any stage of the process was unlikely to draw repeat business.
In the early days of e-commerce, companies tended to err in one of two directions when it came to web design: Either their sites were embarrassingly ugly or amateurish-looking (which the consumer might interpret as unreliable) or they tried to be overly sophisticated and elaborate (which sometimes resulted in a frustratingly complex transaction). Eventually, the “keep it simple, stupid” (KISS) principle became the norm for web design. Businesses that successfully employ the principle – and keep up with best practices in design – are more likely to generate repeat business than those that do not.
Good web design continues to be an essential factor in a successful online business, whether it’s a shop in NJ delivering goods or services directly to the consumer or an overseas-based company supplying consulting services to other businesses. The advent of social networking has added a new wrinkle in e-commerce, as companies try to find an edge in the vast interlinked network of individuals and groups – a pool of potential consumers waiting to be hooked. But as businesses having been discovering for nearly 30 years, marketing and word-of-mouth will only get you so far in the fiercely competitive cybermarket. Without a well-designed, easily navigated web storefront, customers are likely to click right on by.
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