The number of online purchases is growing steadily. Consumers use different devices to shop and often do so on the go. Given the high competition, online retailers need to tailor their sites to cater to a demanding audience.
After all, just having goods in stock isn’t enough now. Users pay attention to site speed, ease of navigation, and cross-platform usability. Everyone has their own subjective preferences. But there are similar trends indicating that people will want to stay on your site.
It is worth remembering that the Internet (especially mobile) can be slow in some places. So, you need to optimize your Magento site’s speed. Also, the cost of mobile Internet is higher. Hence, you need to ensure that visitors can see the most necessary information from the first seconds.
And if you take into account that the mCommerce share is growing by leaps and bounds, most competent designers have switched to a mobile-first approach.
Now I will dwell in more detail on what UX/UI design steps store owners need to take to retain a rapidly growing audience of online shoppers.
5 Best UX/UI Solutions for eCommerce
1. Bottom Menu Bar Placement
40% of users perform most actions on a smartphone with their thumb. So, it makes sense to place the top-level navigation and the most-used options closer to the bottom of the screen. This area is easy to reach with your finger as you hold your phone. Otherwise, if it is hard to tap on some area, the user will have to change the hand’s position. It is inconvenient and destroys the impression of the store.
Many native applications follow this rule. Likewise, numerous online retail stores have already switched to bottom-screen navigation tab bars. As a rule, the bars contain only the most necessary icons.
In the series of screenshots below, you can see an example of the Snapdeal progressive web app (PWA) as seen on a mobile screen from a regular browser. Firstly, you can add the shortcut to your phone’s home screen from the browser. Then a shortcut appears on your home screen for simpler access. Finally, in front of you, you see a store with a menu at the bottom of the screen.
Screenshot taken on the Snapdeal progressive web app
It is very convenient for shopping with one finger. You can open the wishlist, account area, search and return to the home page. As you can see, on the product page, the designers have placed only two of the most important buttons at the bottom for your convenience. So, you can add an item to the cart or make a quick purchase.
2. Application Shell & Lazy Loading
The next area of user experience development is content loading. For the page to pop up quickly, the developers use the application shell and lazy loading. Why do you need it? Waiting for the content to load kills the desire to stay on the site. Application shell and lazy loading become a lifesaver in this case. Visitors see a frame instead of a blank page.
The app shell is a graphical interface skeleton, a sort of page template. For example, if you cut out the content and all dynamic information from the page, the remaining static is the app shell. When clients open the store, they see this structure as the content loads, and then dynamic information is transferred from the network into the app shell.
App shell helps:
- boosts user perception;
- speed up the transition between pages;
- create a fully optimized website;
- make the store user-friendly;
- speed up page loading.
Lazy loading is showing only those media files that the user needs. Content that isn’t critical for displaying the page can appear when scrolling to a particular part of the page or when the visitor clicks on an element. In this case, a marker is applied, indicating that the data hasn’t been loaded, but if necessary, it can be.
For example, when you open the Major Rum online store from your phone, the content emerges with a slight delay. During the time of loading, you see the silhouette of a pirate before the product photo loads.
Screenshot taken on the Major Rum website
3. Ads in Categories Instead of Products
The next trend concerns the placement of advertisements on the category pages with listed products. For example, you are browsing a store looking for what you need. You are in one section and want to see the classic collection. The problem is, there are so many other sections in the store. The chances are you won’t browse all the categories and might miss out on something important.
Business owners insert ads with calls to action into the product grid to attract you to other products or sections. This move helps them talk about new arrivals, offer complementary items, or leave this space for partners.
For example, as you can see in the screenshot taken on the Puma website. You are looking for running shoes. You might want to buy a T-shirt and shorts, so the store also shows you ads for running clothes.
Screenshot taken on the Puma website
4. User-Friendly Filters
Poor navigation spoils user experience. When developing a website, designers pay close attention to ensuring that the visitor finds the desired goods as soon as possible. Therefore, they handy filters and sorting to the product listings.
Thanks to user-friendly filters and sorting, your customers will find the right product faster. People will receive the result that best matches their request. It will improve their interaction with the store, increase the average session duration and the page depth.
In the same screenshot of the Puma online store above, the user selects the size, style, type of a product to the left of the assortment. The designers have chosen various yet optimal solutions for the filters. Some filter options are available via pickers; others are in dropdown format, while sliders help you set the price range.
And, above the board, there are four buttons. These are the criteria by which a visitor can sort products. After selecting the options, the page remains the same. Only now the products are arranged according to the set priorities. This helps the customer make an order faster.
5. Using GIFs and Animations
As a rule, heavy videos slow down the page loading. So their use in headers is undesirable. Designers are looking for other, more lightweight alternatives to grab user attention. The way out of this situation is animations, which are gaining increasing popularity in UX\UI design.
In the 2020s, we will see even more animated elements in the online stores. To say the least, an animated CTA better communicates what action it implies. The most common use cases for animation are:
- “Buy” button;
- Registration button;
- Account login;
- New arrivals;
This method works best in mobile design. Instead of annoying banners and pop-ups, users will watch the animation with enthusiasm.
Vans uses GIFs on its homepage. They reflect the style of the brand and create an original and attractive design. Unlike videos, GIFs are less intrusive and don’t take long to load.
Screenshot taken on the Vans website
User experience is becoming more critical every year. It is a criterion for algorithms when ranking sites and how much time customers spend in your store. Business owners strive to improve user experience, opt for the services of an AI development company, and apply different UX/UI techniques. Come what may, in the 2020s, your online store can’t do without easy navigation, detailed filters, and meeting the requirements of mobile and desktop shopping.