e-Commerce is a significant opportunity for businesses to earn more revenue. Online stores struggle with low user adoption, however. Peiris, Kulkarni, and Mawatha (2015) provide evidence that trust and usability could enhance user adoption, which could increase sales. Since the store interface is the primary medium for engaging the audience, merchants should design high-quality interfaces for a great user experience.
Work-integrated learning (WIL) is an opportunity to solve industry problems by developing solutions under the guidance of expert faculty. This project has a review of the most significant challenges in the e-commerce industry, where the researcher is employed, and the rationale for the selection of the “UX/UI Design for E-commerce” theme for the project. The findings solve an important issue in the design of e-commerce solutions by incorporating advanced principles to enhance the user experience.
e-Commerce Workflow Design
Mapping the customer journey is the first step in e-commerce design. Figure 1 shows the order workflow beginning with the product catalog for the customer to review the products, select products, and pay for the order. The process ensures that the customers can review and buy the products seamlessly on the online store. This is the systems approach that helps build the architecture for the e-commerce store. In the design of online stores, the primary consideration is to provide consumers with another channel to buy products, which are presented to the customers. There are several steps in the process, which are flow diagram, context diagram, and data flow diagram. The flow ensures that the customer journey is efficient and enjoyable, while the solution is effective for the e-commerce store.
The key to designing a great user experience is to make the workflow interesting and useful. While designing online stores, designers build the user experience by incorporating elements for interaction and perception that contribute to a seamless user experience. Several factors contribute to a high-quality user experience. In the design of user experience, the elements are categorized into five groups as shown in Figure 2. Presentation, framework, structure, scope, and strategy layers are the core elements that contribute to the design of the user experience.
The user interface sets the stage for the user experience. Interaction operators, interface styles, and visual interface design are the components of user interface design. Interactions are the building blocks, where the components of interaction are combined to form an interaction strategy. Interface styles are the modes by which the inputs are submitted for operations. In e-commerce stores, graphical user interfaces with gadgets, menus, and forms are popular interface styles. Mobile adoption has grown significantly, and design considerations should include mobile devices. Aesthetics and design are considerations for the visual interface design. It is not just the look and feel of the e-commerce store, but the design also plays a significant role in the user experience. The process is creative as well as incorporates inputs from user experience studies.
Since the design of user experience affects content, functionality, performance, and usability (Cai et al., 2018), a critical understanding of online shopping behavior is necessary. A high-quality user experience not only makes the online shopping experience enjoyable but also promotes users to buy the products. Content helps present the products to the audience. While presenting content, the level of detail and authenticity of the content are critical considerations for engaging the audience. Functionality is about being responsive to the needs of a digitally savvy audience. The digital natives enjoy shopping online and enjoy reviewing the products on display in e-commerce stores. It is typical for online users to look around several stores before making a purchase. For optimizing the online shopping experience, the e-commerce site should load fast, present the product catalog in interesting ways, and facilitate transactions fast. Since the online audience is culturally diverse, the user experience design should transcend cultural and transnational boundaries. Miraz, Excell, and Ali (2016) found that placement of text and images, color, translation, localization, abbreviations and keywords, font size, and legibility, are the presentation of the site are considerations that contribute to a great user experience. Translations from English to other languages should contribute to the same user experience as in the original design, for instance.
Unity of Experience
In a study on connecting user experience design with the customer experience and brand experience, Lee, Lee, and Choi (2018) tested five hypotheses as shown in Figure 3. The first hypotheses tested whether usability is positively related to customer experience. The second tested whether affect is related to customer experience. The third reviewed whether user value is related to customer experience. The fourth reviewed whether customer experience has a positive effect on the brand. The final test examined whether user experience is related to brand equity. The researchers found evidence for affect and value, which have a significant effect on customer experience. The researchers recommend context as a key consideration for UX design. The implication for e-commerce store design is that the characteristics of the market and end-users should be modeled in the design of the user experience.
WIL Project Perspective
The findings show that user experience is enabled by the user interface design, which involves the optimal combination of elements for achieving the desired user interaction. Since affect and value contribute to a great user experience, the context or the market characteristics and end-users play an important role in the choice of user interface elements. An apparel store should incorporate elements to show the aesthetics of the merchandise, for instance, while a components store should pay more attention to the specifications. The end-use case should be modeled in the workflow or the customer journey. This WIL project involves the design of an e-commerce store for an actual client, based on the insights.
The rationale for the choice of this project is that many online stores are struggling to enhance user adoption. By addressing the measures that contribute to usability, this project aims to create value for e-commerce stores with a set of guidelines. The process incorporates a bottom-up technique for user experience design, while also incorporating insights from the experiences of other e-commerce stores. These guidelines will be implemented in an online store.
Insights on user interface design provide a set of guidelines for enhancing user experience in e-commerce stores. With the framework of guidelines, the findings will be applied to the case of an e-commerce store in this WIL project.