WanderingDog users

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Where are we?

We’ve seen how CarlysSchool.Com helps users learn about the human obedience school. Let’s see how an ecommerce site could help users buy stuff.

This lesson’s goals

Learn that:

  • Users have two goals at the WanderingDog.Com ecommerce site: choosing a product, and buying a product.
  • Choice strategies include (1) choosing a product that others recommend, (2) choosing based on one major product attribute, or (3) choosing after a detailed analysis of many products.
  • WanderingDog.Com uses product category pages to support all three strategies.
  • WanderingDog.Com has a horizontal nav bar listing all the product category pages.
Jesse
Jesse

WanderingDog

Jesse runs the online store WanderingDog.Com. There’s Jesse on the right. Hello, Jesse!

WanderingDog sells portable electronics for dogs, like MP3 players and paw-held games. It only does business on the Web. There is no physical WanderingDog store.

In this part of the chapter, we’re talking about what makes a site good for users. So let’s talk about that for WanderingDog.Com.

Users’ goals

Users have two goals when they go to WanderingDog.Com.

  • Choosing a product to buy.
  • Buying a product.

Users’ goals change over time. Suppose a user visits WanderingDog.Com three times. On the user’s first two visits, s/he learns about MP3 players, deciding which one to buy. The user’s goal on these visits is “choosing a product.” S/he then makes a choice. The goal on the third visit is “buying a product.”

To keep things simple, let’s just talk about the first goal: choosing a product.

Users’ actions

Jesse looks at research on how people choose stuff to buy. This is what he learns:

  1. Some people choose the product that trusted people recommend. “Trusted people” could be friends, experts, or just other people in general (that is, buying the product that most other people buy).
  2. Some people focus on just one product attribute, like price, or coolness. They start by looking at, say, the cheapest product. If that does what they want, they stop looking. If it doesn’t do what they want, they look at the next cheapest one. And so on. They stop when they find a product that is satisfactory.
  3. Some people spend more time. They learn about the product category, like MP3 players. They think about their needs. They look at several, or maybe many, products, and make a careful choice.

Jesse designs WanderingDog.Com to support all three of these actions.

How WanderingDog.Com can help

Product categories home pages

Jesse gives each product category – MP3 players, games, etc. – its own section of the site, with its own front page. The category front pages will support the three ways of buying a product.

Here’s Jesse’s drawing of a category front page. His pawwriting is bad, but you should be able to get the idea:

Category home page

Figure 1. Category front page

This page supports all three ways of choosing a product.

  • Recommendations. You can see what other people think (“The People’s Choice”). You can read what the experts like best by clicking on “The Reviewer’s Choice.”
  • Single important attribute. You can see which product Jesse thinks is the coolest, and which is the best value. Notice that Jesse changed “cheapest” to “best value,” to use more positive words.
  • Complete analysis. If you want to get into the details of all of the products, you can use the grid at the bottom. Click on the column titles to sort the data by name, price, whatever.

See how Jesse is working systematically to make a good site. He thought about user goals, and the actions they take to reach them. Then he designed something that would help.

Finding the right category home page

How to make it easy for people to find the right category front page? Jesse decided to make a menu at the top of each page:

Nav bar

Figure 2. Nav bar

There’s a button for each section of the site. This is common; it’s the way CoreDogs works, for example.

This type of menu is also called a horizontal navigation bar, or nav bar for short. You’ll learn how to make nav bars later.

Summary

  • Users have two goals at the WanderingDog.Com ecommerce site: choosing a product, and buying a product.
  • Choice strategies include (1) choosing a product that others recommend, (2) choosing based on one major product attribute, or (3) choosing after a detailed analysis of many products.
  • WanderingDog.Com uses product category pages to support all three strategies.
  • WanderingDog.Com has a horizontal nav bar listing all the product category pages.

What now?

A good Web site helps users meet their goals. We’ve seen how that works with two sites.

Now let’s talk about what site owners want.


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