E-commerce Growing Pains by Joe Gillespie

by Joe Gillespie — Dec 1, 1999

E-commerce is a technology, not a design discipline - so what is an article on e-commerce doing on WPDFD?

Frankly, most of my e-commerce buying transactions have been a disaster so far - partly due to flaky technology, but more often, just bad design.

The main problems encountered are poor navigation, cryptic icons and general lack of logical flow. Put it down to a 'bad shopping experience'. Skipping around between one screen and another without a general overview is very confusing. Nowhere have I seen a simple, top down sales transaction where I knew what was happening. Seldom was fixing a mistake a simple matter of taking one step backwards.

On one shopping site, proudly proclaiming to be powered by IBM technology, I wanted to buy a duvet cover for my son. Find it, add to cart, checkout, fill-in address details, credit card details, click 'Submit' to finalise the transaction - 'Sorry, there has been a error (3135001). Please contact the webmaster.'

What the hell does that mean???

Well, I did contact the webmaster, but never got an answer. I didn't know if the transaction had been completed or not and had to resort to the telephone to sort it all out - no easy task.

This has happened on a number of sites, and frankly, it is a pain!

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