Problems of web-site design

Abstract

The e-commerce business has brought a new way of marketing and selling products. The most important factor of the E-commerce business is the quality of e-service actually it's an essential strategy. The purpose of this project is to have a holistic view on E-service and to gain a better understanding of the e-service quality dimensions that affect the online shopping.

Chapter One

Introduction

E-commerce (electronic commerce or EC) is the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet, in other words E-commerce is the greatest catchphrase of the online business revolution. It captures the excitement and adventure. But it is more than a slogan or smooth party line. At its core it embodies a concept for doing business online.

Electronic commerce is the main paperless exchange of business information through electronic data interchange (EDI), e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, fax transmissions, and electronic funds transfer. Refer to Internet shopping, online stock and bond transactions and business-to-business transactions.

The concept of e-commerce is all about using the Internet to do business better, easiest and faster. It is also about giving customers the upper hand in terms of self servicing and controlling. More it is about increasing source of income and profitability.

The Internet is a reasonable alternative kind of communication. Any place and any way that your business communicates with its customers, you should think about how you could have done it online. That is the power of e-commerce.

Can't meet face to face? Send an e-mail with an attached photograph. When it comes time to pay for merchandise, use a secured server to pay by credit card, or even digital cash! The opportunities and situations in which online business is possible are limitless.

An e-commerce solution for a business is the incorporation of all aspects of the business operation into an electronic format. Many well-established businesses have been selling on-line for years; they had succeeded in increase their customer base significantly as a result their profitability improved sharply by lowered the operation cost at the same time increasing its profit. The e-commerce solution will allow businesses to eliminate unnecessary paperwork. All paperwork and data is transforms into an electronic format. Thus, it will eliminate valuable shelf space and data can search and accessed in matter of seconds. E-commerce will also computerize the sales process. Customers can "point & click" on the products they wish to purchase, fill out the customer information, and the product will be shipped and received in a matter of few days. The administration department does not have to fill out any paperwork because the customer had done it already. Thus, the efficiency will be greatly improved. Great features in doing E commerce business are the availability of e-commerce for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People from anywhere in the world with an Internet access will be able to visit the site at any time. They will not be restricted to the "normal" business operating hours. Add on this there will not be limited a geographical restriction; rather it opens itself to the global on-line market. Essentially, the business' market exposure will be greatly increased.

E commerce like any business it has advantages as we discussed above and challenges such as, finding and retaining qualified employees , handling the cost required to maintain the site, avoiding being victims of fraudulent activities online, assuring security of the system and always maintaining upgrades.

In conducting this study, we have researched extensively on the Internet for resources. I chose the Internet as my primary research medium because e-commerce is still a fairly new technology. Since it is technology related, the Internet will provide the most recent data available. Printed publications will not be able to adapt to changes as fast and efficient as electronic publications. We researched many e-commerce related web sites along with a quantitative questioner that give us the statistical data that we used in our analysis. Some of the e-commerce web sites that I looked into are E-Commerce Times, e-Retail, and e-Marketer.

Research problems

In this research we are discussing the major problems that could affect the success of the website as well as its popularity. The development process is divided into five different sections; graphical design, information layout & design, interaction design, online trust and customer services .Each one of these section is significant in website development. So any confusion or shortage in one of them will raise a problem that defiantly will reduce the website efficiency.

Website traffic, is a major problem that could fired a way the visitors from the website, the reason behind this , sometime a website has flashy design it will take so much time to b loaded.

Website first glance, first impression is pretty much important for the visitors to continue visiting the site as much as the stickiness to the site

Domain name complication, it is the basic step in creating the website, the name should have special features to attract the visitors as well as stay memorable.

Difficulties in menu lay out and difficulties in navigation, hard to reach to the required information, navigate through many un useful menus to reach your final point.

The mismatching between colors in the website, all those factors have a vital control on website growing nevertheless it has a bigger affect on the business continually. We will try by available means to focus on those problems, investigate, collect data, analyzed9 date and conclude solution.

Chapter Two

Literature review

(Thomas c. Williams, 1993) Successful web sites all use value-added relationship marketing. Period our presentation will disclose how you can apply these proven marketing methods to make your website a successful part of your business, the successful internet solution start with a obvious understanding of the customers business goals, simply stated your web site will only be successful if you clearly establish its purpose.

(Richard batteram, 1976) the design must to be uncomplicated to scan once it's easy to scan it starts to flow; the visitor feels comfortable with your site and picks pages and text areas that he wants to know more about. Putting everything on page doesn't make it more effective. It doesn't improve your chances of more revenue ,it doesn't make your most wanted response clearer and it sure doesn't improve your look and feel, treating your visitors like friends is a common approach to making good personal websites. Your site name, logo and slogan should be on your site at all times, the background images that have a pattern below the text or background colors that hardly differ from the foreground make reading the web page like trying to find your way in the fog, the more you use very specific colors the more risk you run of having them appear differently on other computers.

(Wilson, 1996).there are many definitions of the Internet, some of them is the framework for the ever talked about "information superhighway". "The biggest technological advancement since the personal computer and the primary technological force causing all corporations to rethink their business model, the Internet is a system of millions of interconnected networks that spans to the earth"

(European Commission, 1997) Electronic commerce is about doing business electronically. It is based on the electronic processing and transmission of data, including text, sound and video. The activities of e-commerce are electronic trading of goods and services, online delivery of digital content, electronic fund transfers, electronic share trading, electronic bills of lading, commercial auctions, collaborative design and engineering, on-line sourcing, public procurement, direct consumer marketing, and after-sales service.

(OECD, 1997) "Electronic commerce refers generally to all forms of transactions relating to commercial activities, including both organizations and individuals that are based upon the processing and transmission of digitized data, including text, sound and visual images."

(AUREL VOICULESCU,2002) AUREL VOICULESCU define the www, The Word Wide Web is a subset of the Internet. It was developed several years ago and credits its success to a software product known as MOSAIC. MOSAIC gave users the ability to experience pictures, sound, video, graphics, etc. The client/server architecture forms the basis implementation platform of the WWW. He took about the history of the internet and some of activities of the internet.

(Seybold ,1998) identifies 8 critical success factors for electronic commerce: Target the right customers ,Own the customer's total experience ,Streamline business processes that impact the customer , Provide a 360-degree view of customer relationship Let customers help themselves , Help customers do their job , Deliver personalized service Foster community.

(Kalakota and Whinston, 1997) discuss that electronic commerce is being fueled by economic forces, customer interaction forces, and technology-driven digital convergence. Economic forces "Under relentless pressure to reduce costs and stay competitive, firms are attracted to the economic efficiencies offered by electronic commerce. These economic efficiencies include low-cost technological infrastructure that reduce the cost burden of technology upgrades and obsolescence, low cost and accurate electronic transactions with suppliers, the low cost of global information sharing and advertising, and the ability for firms to provide low cost customer service alternatives to expensive retail bank branches and telephone call centers."

(Economist, 2000) the economist was taken about the price of product in the internet, the explosive growth of the Internet promises a new age of perfectly competitive markets. With perfect information about prices and products at their fingertips, consumers can quickly and easily find the best deals. The truly new about the Internet is its ability to generate different pricing mechanism, and in particular to allow price and product comparisons. Regardless of all these, Economist (1999) argues that the price is often as wide on the Internet as it is in the shopping mall, or even wider.As a result of these, the Internet and the competition on the Internet are still in their infancy.

(Chatterjee and Narasimhan,1994) observe that as a distribution channel, the Web possesses: extremely low entry and exit barriers for firms; increasing irrelevance of distribution intermediaries; the capability to not only keep pace with market change, but accelerate it. Because the Web increases the power of the consumer and decreases the power of the firm, compared to traditional channels of distribution, the consumer and the firm approach "symmetrical power" and the best communication efforts are likely to be "collaborative" rather than "autonomous" (Mohr & Nevin 1990)

(Glazer ,1991) observations that in the presence of higher information intensity, channel power shifts in favor of consumers and a breakdown occurs in formal distinctions between producer and consumer. In the information intensive Web environment, the firm is no longer broadcasting a single communication to many consumers, but in effect tailoring its communications according to consumers' varied interests and needs. These shifts in channel power hold important implications for consumer participation in the marketing process. This is because interactivity in the Web gives consumers much greater control of the message.

Internet thus developed in a rich and exciting atmosphere of intellectual curiosity fostered in an unconstrained and creative environment (Licklider 1988; Miya 1990).

(U.S. Government Working Group on Electronic Commerce, 1999) Privacy has become one of the most fought-over battlegrounds of the information economy. As databases proliferate and the use of the Internet expands considerably, the calls of consumer groups and privacy advocates for more protections have grown ever more strident, and the pledges of companies to respect the privacy of their customers ever more convoluted. According to the Economist (2000) "80% of Americans want government regulation of corporate use of personal information and web users spent $2.8 billion less online in 1999 than they would otherwise have done because of concerns about privacy."

(The White House Report, 1997) Governments can have a deep effect on the growth of commerce on the Internet. By their actions, they can ease electronic trade or inhibit it. In order for this global medium to flourish, it is critical that the legal framework supporting commercial transactions over the Internet be governed by consistent principles across state, national and international borders.

(mike paetzold,1999)Developing and designing an efficient website needs a lot more than just information gathering and web posting. Just as any excellent research paper, a good quality website stresses a great deal on the range, order, and appearance of the matter as to the content itself, Consistency is an important aspect in web design. You should always do your best to be consistent in design websites. Your project should have an identity. This means the pages, backgrounds, color schemes, navigational tools, and feel of your website should have commonality, Interactive websites are a big hit for many people, nowadays. Providing your visitors the opportunity to interact is a great way to attract more people to your site. Not only that, it is also a great way to get your readers involved with the content of the site. You can place comment boxes for readers to react on

(lenda roeder) There's something wrong with your Web site, but you don't know what. You've created a Web site and you want people to visit and read it, but for some reason no one's showing up. What could be wrong? Here are some common issues you might have with your Web site without even realizing it, some of problems that face the web site are: no one can find your website, the web pages are lost, web pages load slow or incorrectly, java script errors, text too large or too small, requiring downloads, bad spelling or grammar.

(Alan Brymer,1996) In order to be an effective internet marketer, you need a website. Your domain name, the internet address where potential leads will find you, is step one in starting your website. You can choose any domain name that's available, but there are a few things to keep in mind that will help you choose the best domain name choose a shorter domain name, Include a benefit in the domain name, your domain name should be the same as your website, Many of the really good domain names are already taken. But don't despair. With just a little bit of searching you can find the domain name that's perfect for you. Your domain name may be the only thing a first-time lead remembers about you, so make sure it's a good one. Your website is a very valuable tool to promoting your business. With the right domain name, your website is off to a great start.

We will be focusing on the following four elements which talking on graphical design, text, domain name, first visit and menus.

(R.Molich, 2000)When it comes to graphical design, a website must be aesthetically appealing to the eye, without it taking a large amount of time to load. A flashy design might be nice to look at, but if it takes too long to load the user will lose patience and find another faster website. Therefore, it is necessary to think through the graphical design and come up with something that is both aesthetically appealing and has a short loading time. But how is this done in a simple way?

There are three different kinds of graphics:

  • Useful graphics - Images of products or maybe maps. This is the kind of graphics that the user may be willing to wait for while it uploads. It may be a good idea to show a thumbnail image at first and then let the users decide whether they would like to see a larger image.
  • Supportive graphics - Helps structure the information on a website. For example; create a clear dividing of the navigation field and the information field.
  • Insignificant graphics - This could be company logotypes or ads. The user will tolerate this kind of graphics if it loads quickly.

(J. Ahlberg, 2007) the editor and publisher of the website "Jonas Webresurs" writes that one of the most important things to think about when creating a website is that the layout and colors should harmonize with the content of the website. A user that enters the website should immediately understand what the purpose of the website is. The developer should also be consistent in choice of layout and colors. Consistency in layout and color provides the user a sense of familiarity.

When writing for the web and choosing fonts, there are several rules to consider. When writing for the web fonts must be easy to read. Another thing to consider is to avoid colors that are too bright. Bright colors might (Wikipedia, 2009) be hard to look at for a long time. If not, the users will find another page to lean their eyes on (J. Ahlberg, 2007).

Using common fonts

When choosing fonts, it is wise to use common fonts that most users will have installed on their computers. If the user does not have the chosen font installed, it will be replaced by font that is installed on the user's computer. This can make it hard to control the design. If an unusual font has to be used, consider using an image (J. Ahlberg, 2007).

Below there is a table showing the forty most common fonts installed on computers today. The percentage shows on how many percent of the computers the font in question is installed.

If the use of an unusual font is necessary, it must be defined in the code, an alternate font to be used in case the visitors of the website do not have the chosen font installed on their computer. This way the choice of substitution font can be controlled.

If the use of a certain font is absolutely necessary, and a substitution is not acceptable, the best way is to use an image format.

Not to mix more than three fonts.

The use of more than one font can be a powerful tool. But a mix of too many fonts appears cluttered.

There must be contrast between text and background.

Contrast is the difference in visual properties that makes text distinguishable from the background. Contrast between text and background is imperative since the lack thereof can make the text on a website almost impossible to read.

(Kuratko / Hodgetts,2001) The most basic step inE commerce is to choose an Internet name (Domain name). Perhaps this step of choosing the Internet brand name isn't easy. Because customers are unlikely to remember long or awkward names....Therefore, the short and snappy web addresses are at premium.In many cases the most desirable names have already been claimed and taken ,for that reason if any company desired to register one of the names that already had been taken they should pay premium on it.

Generally speaking thebest domain names tend to combine a bit of search engine optimization, marketability, branding, link ability andauthority. It should be strong, representative domain name.

(Sterne, 1996)The first time somebody visits a Website, they are going to look around and see what the site offers. Then they will familiarize themselves with the site to see what it has to offer. The next time, and every time after that, they are going to come for something in particular. It really does not take long to tire of random surfing. People want to cut the chase and find out what a site is going to do for them. They will come back to a site if they think it has got what they need at the moment.

According to Flanders and Willis (1998) there are three things a home page should Convey to the visitor:

  1. The site's purpose- the who, what, when, where, and why.
  2. What kind of content is contained in the site?
  3. How to find that content.

Chapter Three

Research methodology

For this research, we found that literature studies are excellent method to be used. Because of the huge availability of information that were required to compete the study.

This project originated with literature studies using books, articles, and the internet. Material of current project was essential in order to provide present- knowledge. Then, a survey will be developed to identify the major problems that faced users of E-commerce websites.

Challenges

The majority of businesses spend a considerable amount of their budget on designing and redesigning their websites on a continually basis, but most of them become disillusioned and disappointed when the expected results don't materialize. However, with a little more Understanding about the real objectives of the website, and the right way of designing there web-sites they can do some careful planning and chose select the right technology to be used.

Many companies budget just for the initial costs of designing and setting up a website, but this is approximately only a fifth of the total expenditure over a three year period. The ongoing expense to ensure the website remains fresh and operates at an optimum level can be up to four times the initial budget. It's a sobering fact. One that many companies don't consider until it's too late.

The scenario of anticipation from when a website first launches to apathy within weeks is all too familiar for many companies. Once the realization sets in that the functionality isn't there, it doesn't rate high on the search engines and it can't be easily updated, enthusiasm from within the organization becomes deflated. A combination of bad advice and a lack of understanding of exactly what the organization has paid for, all contribute to the frustration.

Companies often make the mistake of thinking that a weak design is contributing to a website's problems, but this is not often the case. What they really need is a way to regularly update the content, refresh the layout and adapt the site easily to react to market dynamics. Implementing a full redesign will undoubtedly mean going over budget or shelving the project for another year. Even then, if some of the underlying fundamentals aren't addressed the cycle just repeats itself.

When businesses realized that the internet was more than just a fad and something they needed to embrace, it was billed as revolutionizing the way even the smallest business could portray itself to the rest of the world. Business users were promised that they would be able to deliver content in real time, that the website could change dynamically with the business and that it would offer a real competitive advantage.

The bit no one thought about was that business users are not coding experts, that the IT department can't just drop everything to alter website text and that the cost of employing a specific webmaster or an outside agency is too restrictive for the majority of smaller businesses.

The majority of corporate entities have overcome the issue of exactly who is able to update the website by deploying elaborate content management systems that enable users, be it the marketing department, sales or finance, to change content and make it live on the website at the click of the button. But where does that leave the majority of small and midsized businesses that don't have that kind of resource?

Until recently the answer was "Out in the cold". The very medium that originally gave the smaller players a level playing field with their larger competitors was now working against them. Without the resources available to update quickly and easily, businesses were left with an inflexible look and feel to their sites, changes were always slow to be implemented and if the one person that knew how to control the website left the company it was often like starting-out again.

Providing flexibility into the way a website is managed and maintained allows companies to make the most of its resources. A marketing department that is unable to react quickly against a competitor's latest promotion has its hands tied, but giving control back to the very people an organization employs to drive sales will instantly make the business more dynamic.

So, whether you're a restaurant that wants to update its menu frequently and email your customers to let them know that truffles are now in season or a large firm of accountants that likes to keep its customers abreast of the frequent changes and developments, having a website that allows anyone within the business to update it instantly will ultimately help to retain customers and find new ones.

Chapter Four

Analysis and result

Her we will analysis the data collected from our survey which we made it on a random sample of 100 people, our sample did already practice the online shopping and had the experience of purchasing from the shopping web-site.

Chapter Five

Discussion

In this chapter we are going to compare our result with Literatures review that has been used earlier in our research. Our discussion is based on the major four elements which we already mentioned it earlier in the Literature review.

We are totally agreed with what came in the Literature review (R.Molich, 2000) that the flashy design control the first glance of the visitors, but it should be easy and quick to loaded, that's to avoid losing customer patient which will lead customer to search to another web-site based on our sample's results we found that female is highly attracted by flashy design.

We fully supported (Sterne, 1996) that the web-site must have a clear purpose and ease of menus using add on theses images and colors plays a vital role in visitors stickiness.

And we agreed with the Literature review that ease of menus has great impact on the internet shopping and increase customer basis, add on this the first glance play the second major role in controlling customer satisfaction

We agreed with writer (Kuratko /Hodgetts,2001) that the web-site name should be easy to spell, not too long and not complicated. as well the name should be differentiate the company from their competitors. there was a debate on the hyphen issue, a group of writers was totally agree that the hyphen has apriority in the search engine strategy, from business owner point view the domain name should not include hyphens or numbers in order to maximize web-site searcher.

The menu is very essential factor of the web-site success it's the soul of the web-site. Company should carefully manage the balance in its web-site menus and insure that the menus is easily to navigate .our result is showing a high important of the menus which support the Literature review(Horton,Taylor,Ignacio&Hoft,1996).

Conclusion

In the recent years, the internet has generated a tremendous level of excitement .The advent of the internet and e-commerce has brought a new way of marketing and selling many products and become a very common way of purchasing and selling products.

In conclusion design and layout are an essential factors that should be taking in consideration when developing any E-commerce web-site, our project has clearly describe and shown this important either on the Literature review or on the survey, we have define a three major factors regarding the web-site design and layout :

  • Graphical design and text
  • Domain Name
  • First Visit (Homepage)
  • Menus

And according to our survey result we can observe that most of the users of shopping web-site are females and that is a fair result because women always following fashion, moreover users between 25-30 are the most buyers between the age classifications.

Employee holds the bachelor degree are the most users of online shopping web-sites, while most of the users get attracted because of the web-site pictures and flashy designs, however the ease of menus and the ease to memorized domain name has played a major role.

All the above conclusions are supported the literature review and act as a guideline that can be used to establish a successful web-site.

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