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Stuck in a Maze: The Pitfalls of Website Design

In the era of online shopping, user-friendly websites can make or break a business. Making a site easy to navigate isn’t as simple as it may seem, but the right design ultimately boosts sales and provides a satisfying experience for customers.

Photo by Brooke Lark

We’ve all been there – we navigate onto a website only to see jumbled menus, small, confusing buttons and links that take us to other sites, and we immediately click away. Online shopping is great because it’s convenient, but when a site is frustrating to use we take our business elsewhere in the vast virtual marketplace without a second thought.

Rolex Daytona, 1969, 18k gold. Photo © Morphy Auctions

Shopping cart abandonment is a huge issue in online shopping, both for potential customers who leave without an item and for stores and auction houses that are losing business. Unexpected shipping costs, having to create a new account to purchase items, a complex checkout system, not being comfortable sharing credit card information and website glitches are among the reasons that a customer may abandon items at one business in favour of a competitor.

Chanel, red double-flap handbag, 20th century, lambskin, 6 x 10 in. Photo © Millea Bros

A great website is key to both sales and customer loyalty. This is where software like Skeleton comes in: Designed as an all-in-one solution for auction houses, Skeleton combines Swedish simplicity with unparalleled functionality for a great user experience. Auction houses can format a website template from Skeleton with their own logo, colours and font, which reinforces their branding and helps create customer loyalty. Additionally, these sites are designed with intuitive navigation in mind and include clear layouts that make them accessible to a wide range of patrons.

Example of an online store on a Skeleton site. Photo © Skeleton

Skeleton provides options for both fixed-price online stores or live auctions with a variety of bidding methods, so businesses can choose which technique works best for them. All sales occur directly on the auction house’s site rather than a third-party platform, which streamlines the sales process. Because checkout is simple, customers are less likely to abandon their carts. This also means that bidders’ personal information remains in one place, which increases security and buyers' trust in the site.

Ray Parker, monumental colour field painting, 1959, oil on canvas, 73 x 69.75 x 76 in. Photo © Palm Beach Modern Auctions

“Convenience, security and features they will actually use will be key... I believe Skeleton offers all that. [Users] will be able to create their own profiles, save things they like, and monitor their bids in an easy-to-understand way,” says Wade Terwilliger of Palm Beach Modern Auctions.

A website should look great and also provide a seamless shopping and checkout experience for customers. Ease of finding information and products is one of the most important factors of a website, and a successful site will always be customer-oriented. Good usability sets a site apart from its competition, creating a successful business and satisfied customers – truly a win-win.


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