Does design actually matter for online sales?

I recently bought myself an Amazon Kindle. Now originally I wanted to write a blog on how annoying it was that you can’t buy an Kindle Fire in Australia (yes I know you can get it shipped here using one of those re-direct services and hack it, but it loses most of the functionality I wanted: Netflix, HBO, Google Play, Amazon Prime).

But that wasn’t going to be much of a blog, more of a 300 word bitch session. So I ended up going for the basic Kindle and plan on spending my upcoming holidays reading the Game of Thrones series.

As I was going through the purchase process, what grabbed my attention was the shabby design of the Amazon site.

The yellow, the red, the green. Did someone say traffic lights? Anyway my gripe is clearly not regarding UI (user interface), as clearly the world’s most successful online retailer has done their homework in that sense, but in terms of attractiveness of the design and navigation.

The fonts, a 1990s mixture of Verdana, Arial and Helvetica Neue also really grate, and hark back to the dial up days of the internet. They of course reflect the need to be compatible with several different platforms and browsers. A cheeky answer to this type of design issue was recently brought up by online retailer Kogan, who has introduced their Kogan iE7 Tax. We at krafthaus completely support this concept as developing sites and ensuring they are compatible with IE7 is a nightmare. Clearly Amazon has forgone good design in favour of compatibility, and when it comes to business why wouldn’t you? Amazon.com commands the number 1 spot in Australian online retail with a staggering 28.02% of Australian online retail visits in May 2012 (Source: Experian Hitwise), a figure that has risen from 26.67% a year before.

So while we like to make sure that all of the sites we build at krafthaus are compatible with older browser types, and look good to boot, when it comes to ecommerce it is clear that UI is first and foremost the key to sales, not a bunch of pretty colours and pretty fonts.

Alex Boston on Google+

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