Our e-commerce design methodology is simple, effective and efficient
Creating an e-commerce web site is an exciting challenge and an important investment. We will lead you through the following steps prior to commencing any work:
- planning and scoping the boundaries of the project
- organising the information and how it will be displayed
- documenting the project and quoting
It is of vital importance that clarity is obtained early in the project in order to minimise problems and costly hold ups as the project develops. Once the objectives are well-defined and understood planning may proceed. The design of the website will flow from this.
Planning your site with you
The first thing we do is to sit with our client and write down all their needs. We ask them lots of questions many of which challenge them to really face their business as objectively as possible.
Our goal is to excavate as much information relevant to our task of building the website as possible. This information will form the foundation for our proposal and estimate. It will include such things as:
- what products do they sell
- how would they like to present these products
- what kind of fulfilment process do they have
- and many other things
Good information architecture to guide visitors
Once we have a clear idea of their business and how it functions we will, to a large extent, be able to model the sales process on the website. Part of this involves creating categories and organising the information to be contained on the website in a logical order. This is called information architecture.
Visitors to the website should not need to think or guess how to proceed. It should always be clear where they need to click in order to get to where they want to go. The Web site should be intuitive and snappy to navigate. It should be an elegant and smooth workflow through the site from information, to product, to sale.
This is even more important if a database is to be used as the foundation of the site as this adds additional complexity. Databases also add more power and versatility which is why they are so popular. Sound and solid information architecture is essential and we spend a lot of time with all of our clients perfecting this at an early stage. Once everyone is happy with the information architecture we proceed to the next step.
We write a project plan and proposal
Once we have collected enough information to able clearly define and scope the boundaries of the project we are able to write a detailed proposal which includes time and cost estimates for the client.
We guarantee that the cost of the project will not change providing the scope does not change. We pride ourselves on this and can say that so far, in all of our years of working in this field, we have never gone over budget.
We focus on details too
The devil is often in the details. In the case of e-commerce websites these details take the form of such things as:
- payment methods
- handling freight and shipping costs
- international order handling
- managing opening hours (eg: do you trade on public holidays?)
- colour choices for menu items, font and image sizes and more
Luckily, we take care of most of these things using our experience. In the event that we need to involve our client in the decision making process we first fully brief them on the pros and cons associated with each choice allowing them to make an informed decision.
Doing things once is very expensive, doing them twice is unthinkable. It is a waste of everyone's time. When constructing sophisticated e-commerce systems it is our unwritten rule to never do things twice. To get things done right the first time around. It is for this reason above all else that we follow the above methodologies.