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Shopping Cart Do's and Don'ts

Preface by Dave Green - Article by By Barbara S. Chaparro

E-commerce continues to be the fastest growth area in business throughout America and Europe according to recent studies from Jupiter Research and Gartner. Online applications usability continues to be a growing, if not major, area of concern. The excerpt below and the linked article are valuable, but open for debate. And I love to debate...hope it helps.
 
The following are ten problems with online retail software from the perspective of Barbara S. Chaparro of Wichita State and the Software Usability Research Lab. These are great discussion points and I've added comments to her observations and do's and don'ts where needed.
 
We paid close attention to all of these concerns when developing RocketCart. We decided then that we needed to make sure we produced a software product that provided design flexibility and a customizable user interface.
 
To visit the entire article and learn more about my old usability group visit the now defunct Internet Technical Group (ITG) or the link at the end of this topic.
 
Top Ten Mistakes of Shopping Cart Design (Excerpt)
By Barbara S. Chaparro
 
1. Calling a Shopping Cart anything but a Shopping Cart. (This is kind of a no-brainer, but we've seen plenty of folks want to refer to the thing that items are kept in as something that fits the context of their business. A wheelbarrow for a home improvement center or a even a shopping basket. I'm not sure I agree, and you'll notice I don't often go along with everything in this paper.)
 
2. Requiring users to click a "BUY" button to add an item to the shopping cart. (What are users used to? A buy button of course!! A good shopping system will also have a "remove" button so items can be removed individually in addition to "empty cart".)
 
3. Giving little to no visual feedback that an item has been added to the cart.
 
4. Forcing the user to view the Shopping Cart every time an item is placed there. (Again, what are users used to? Users still tell me that they expect to see the cart each time they elect an item, and they tell me that they like to see where they're at with their total...for some ndustries a "one-click approach makes sense.)
 
5. Asking the user to buy other related items before adding an item to the cart. (Cross-selling is an opportunistic event and must not interfere with product selection)
 
6. Requiring a user to REGISTER before adding an item to the cart. (Again, depends on the product being sold. Too generalized a statement)
 
7. Requiring a user to change the quantity to zero to remove an item from the cart.
 
8. Requiring written instructions to update the items in the cart.
 
9. Requiring a user to scroll to find an Update cart button.
 
10. Requiring a user to enter shipping, billing, and all personal information before knowing the final costs including shipping and tax.
 
Many of the concepts we developed beginning in 1998 with the Internet Techncial Group (ITG) involve human factor and user centric design practices that are carried on today by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
 
 
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Tags: e-commerce  online  retailing  rocketcart 


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