website design review

Given the same lines of products and price ranges, which elements make one store a success while the other a failure? Besides services and such, researches have shown us that the way you arrange elements in your store has direct effect on the conversion rate (in other words, your bottom line). While there is no foolproof guide which can be applied to every situation, there are lessons we can learn from trials and errors. In an attempt to find out the better way to design website for high conversion, we decide to review online stores on our blog to find out what to do and what to avoid. Please keep in mind that all these are our subjective opinions and we would love to hear from you!

This week, we will review, the owner of the website has allowed us to post a public review of his website here.

Domain name

With ecommerce, the domain name is even more important than your registered company name since it’s what the customers need to remember to go back to your store. And keep in mind that we normal human beings have thousands of things to remember, so much that we can easily forget the name of the person we have just met.

The good: “gifts” is inside the domain name, which will probably help with search engine ranking

The bad: the domain name as a whole doesn’t ring any bell and I will probably have trouble when I want to revisit it the second time.

Home page

The homepage (click to view larger image)

The good: Initially, I don’t like the look of the site at all, I was put off by the very old and plain layout, but this is a DEADLY MISTAKE many designers often make. Please note that this site is selling antique products, the targeted vistors are people who have much interest in antique products and will probably enjoy this theme. So thumb up for the overall layout.

The bad: The category list is rather long and very hard to read as well, it would make it much more difficult for users to navigate through your products. Usually when looking for gifts people might not have the specific item they want in mind, so perhaps a better way to the customers look for the most suitable item? The store can suggest items based on the giftee’s references (age, gender, …)

The left column is too long and stuffed with too much info making it difficult for users to actually read through all that and find what they want (you don’t think your normal users will go through all the info on that left column, do you?)

There are some characters not displayed correctly when I view this site on my Firefox 3.5, perhaps the store owner is using some specific font that is not available cross-platform? There are also certain elements not displayed well on Firefox

Product listing page

Product listing page (click to view larger image)

The good: the usual row listing layout is not bad at all

The bad: maybe it’s just me but I don’t like how each product image’s size is different from others making it look a bit messy.

There are certain fields such as model, weight that are mostly left blank. Perhaps they should be turned off?

The product info page

Product info page (click to view larger image)

The good: simple and clear. Some products have very good and detailed description

The bad: more text description for some products are needed if the store wants to get more visitors from search engines. My experience also tells me that good description will increase the store’s conversion rate.

At this point, I think it would be better if the checkout and/or shopping cart button STAND OUT more to catch users’ attention.

The checkout page

Checkout page (click to view larger image)

When I went to checkout, I was redirected to the split login/register page which is really standard for Zencart

The good: I like how the register/login form splitted into 2 columns. The “shop with confidence” and “customer service” box served as THE way to reassure the customers’ confidence in placing an order on the store.

The bad: certain unecessary info such as “gender”, “fax” perhaps should be turned off unless the store really needs it. We don’t want to get the customers by a long list of info to fill out.

Lets stop here for today, perhaps in the near future we will revisit If you have any thing you want to share or recommend the store owner of I know he would really appreciate it. Please post all your comments here. If you would like to have us review your website, shoot us a message.


  1. bob says:

    Thanks for your observations – I will work on them. You are right about the number of categories – it is to long. I will work on a way to condense them. The template – maybe a little on the plain side, but it does fit my product style. Still, I would like to find one that is more exciting.

    • Bob says:

      The site has been completely redesigned. I would greatly apreciate if you would revisit it and give an updated evaluation. Thanks


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