EcommerceBytes Web Design Challenge: Revealing the Makeovers
By Julia Wilkinson
Hundreds of online merchants submitted their sites for the EcommerceBytes Web Design Challenge, five finalists were chosen, and you voted for the site most deserving of a web design makeover.
We've been keeping the winning merchant under wraps until we could bring you the three homepage makeovers - now it's time to see the results and learn which lucky merchant was the recipient of the new designs!
Introduction: The Web Design Challenge
What online seller couldn't use a fresh new design? And wouldn't it be fun to do a contest where merchants could enter and designers could compete to create a design for a deserving website, a la HGTV's "Designers' Challenge?"
That was the idea behind "The EcommerceBytes Web Design Challenge," which kicked off in May. In the end, not only would one deserving merchant get a homepage makeover, but all EcommerceBytes readers would learn from the process about what makes good design and how professional designers approach the task.
Getting a Makeover: The Five Finalists
We received many entries from online sellers, and it was hard to narrow them down to just five. In choosing the finalists, we looked at a range of criteria including the following:
- The entrants needed to have clear and specific goals for what they wanted improved in their website.
- The merchants needed to explain the process they went through in creating their site and identify the strengths and weaknesses of their website stores.
- The EcommerceBytes team wanted to present both large and small retailers. Similarly, we looked for a variety of ecommerce platforms used by the seller.
It wasn't easy, but we narrowed it down to the following five stores:
Finalist #1: AmazingKeys.com
AmazingKeys.com, online since 2003, sells custom car keys at discount prices and has sales over $100,000/year.
Finalist #2: Blue Moose Coffee
Blue Moose Coffee, launched in 2005, sells gourmet and flavored coffee and has sales under $50,000/year.
Finalist #3: Glamoursurf
Glamoursurf , up and running since 2007, sells vintage swimwear and has sales under $50,000/year.
Finalist #4: Karen's Artistic Touches
Karen's Artistic Touches, launched in 2012, sells handcrafted artistically inspired jewelry and has sales under $50,000/year.
Finalist #5: Practical Sports
Practical Sports & Outdoors, launched in 2007, sells outdoor and camping gear including tents and has sales over $100,000/year.
We opened up voting to EcommerceBytes readers, and you chose the lucky winning site to participate in the Web Design Challenge.
And the Winning Site to Get the Makeover Was,... Glamoursurf.com!
Glamoursurf specializes in selling vintage bathing suits, and was started in 2007 by Pamela Fierro. Fierro had begun selling on eBay in 2001, and she built the Glamoursurf site herself. Pamela told EcommerceBytes she wanted a better design flow and navigation, as well as a fresh face for her site. She also said she'd like more visibility in search and better reach, and to incorporate the new look on her blog at GlamourSplash.com.
Here is what the home page of GlamourSurf looks like now, "before."
That's what our three designers worked from in creating their homepage mockups. And now, let's meet the designers again:
Kevin Richards, founder and CEO of Ventura Web Design;
Peter McNally, Senior Usability Consultant at Bentley University;
Andy Carlson, Web Graphic Genius at Redhead Labs.
Each designer submitted their redesigns - note that Peter McNally focused exclusively on the usability aspects of the Glamoursurf site - and now it's time for the final phase in which you review each of the three makeovers and vote on which one you think Glamoursurf should select to best meet her goals. Here are the links to the three designs:
Design # 1 - submitted by Ventura Web Design
Design # 2 - submitted by the Design and Usability Center at Bentley University
Design # 3 - submitted by Redhead Labs
Once you've reviewed the three designs, vote for your favorite in our survey on SurveyMonkey.com. And look for the final "reveal" in the next issue of EcommerceBytes Update to see which makeover readers chose!
About the author:
Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6). Her free "Yard Salers" newsletter is at available at YardSalers.net where you will also find her latest ebook, Flip It Again.
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