Web Design Challenge One: Ventura Web Design
By Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes challenged three professional web designers to give an online store a homepage makeover as part of the Web Design Challenge. You can read more about the Challenge and how the merchant was selected in today's introductory article.
Here's the first redesign from Ventura Web Design - you'll have a chance to look at all three and vote for the design you think does the best job of meeting the merchant's design goals. And you'll pick up some tips for your own storefront along the way.
In tackling Glamoursurf's redesign, Ventura Web Design first saw that the site was crying out for a professional-looking, stylized logo. Then they made use of the wasted prime real estate that was the existing site's header, and created a new, slimmer header that leaves room for more elements that are important such as a shopping cart. They also tightened up the main menu options so users weren't overwhelmed with choices. Read on for Kevin Richards of Ventura's explanation of how they approached this transformation.
Commentary and Analysis from Ventura Web Design
Below are some basic notes about the redesign concept. Overall, we think the before/after is like night and day. We've done a bit of research into who the website's target buyers are, and feel that we've designed a site that is perfect for them. Our design incorporates the assumption that not only did the design itself need an overhaul, but the merchandising of the site content did as well.
1) The most obvious fix is the inclusion of a proper logo. The idea of vintage swimwear lends itself so well to a stylized logo that it's a crime against design not to have one.
2) The current header is wasted with a giant title. That's valuable real estate we can use for any number of important links and bits of info, including contact information, navigation, a shopping cart, search, announcements, and so on. It also pushes the content of the site way down below the fold. We've corrected this with a slimmer header, and left room to grow in it (for additional options, promotions, etc.).
3) The left navigation stretches far too long. The internal pages don't have sub-categories, so there isn't a need for a static left nav. All links in the left nav that do not lead to products or important pages can be moved to the footer (Policies, Press, Links, etc.).
4) One major problem with the navigation is that there are so many main menu options that users won't know where to click. There are 16 options just for products. We have simplified the main navigation, and all the previous categories can fit within the new main category pages.
5) Featured categories should be displayed prominently to direct the customer's eye to the important parts of the page.
6) The current site has no central area to include any such billboard where sales or special features can be promoted. We included a sample offer as part of an attractive main billboard.
About the Designer
Kevin Richards founded Ventura Web Design in 1997. Specializing in Yahoo! Store Design, Conversion Rate Optimization, Website Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Advanced Programming, Ecommerce Consultation, and Usability Analysis, the company has high-profile clients such as Sodexho-Marriott Services (now Sodexho Alliance). VWD serves over 1000 Yahoo! Stores and is responsible for over $100,000,000 in revenue generated for those clients.
How to Vote
Now it's time for you to weigh in! Here are the three designs:
Design # 1 - submitted by Ventura Web Design (above)
Design # 2 - submitted by the Design and Usability Center at Bentley University
Design # 3 - submitted by Redhead Labs
Once you've looked at all the designs, use the survey to indicate which of the homepage mockups you think best meets the Glamoursurf's goals. And look for the final "reveal" in the next issue of EcommerceBytes Update.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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