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More design work is needed

Wed, Mar 17, 2010

Technology | Author:

www.onlineconnect.co.uk

OnlineConnect is a website where “buyers meet sellers” of printers, for sale faxes, cheap photocopiers, pharmacy shredders and other office equipment.

Form

My first impression of OfficeConnect was unfortunately, not a good one. The home page has a lot of text, minimal templated design and not much attention to detail. The logo is very ordinary and slightly pixelated and the main image looks very generic. The four red “button” steps are handy but are lost in the design….more could be made of these steps so that it is really obvious to customers that it’s easy to buy from the site. While the main menu on the top left has quantities of items in stock (handy to know there are some), I found myself looking for ordinary company details in this space. Where is the usual spiel about the company? Where are the contact details? And why are the contact details down the bottom of the page? I suppose that customers don’t really need to phone OfficeConnect to buy their printer, hence the details being down the bottom, but this method of displaying details does not say that OfficeConnect is a trustworthy company. I couldn’t even find the email address too.



fig 1. Why are the contact details down the bottom?

Some improvement could be made by putting correct spacing between the words on the top left of the site. The fonts chosen are OK and the size is correct, but text is still hard to read as it is more squashed than usual web fonts. A better background around the site would help make it more attractive, while keeping the white background under all text. The product images look fantastic and are the best part of the site. Keep it that way!



fig 3. The product images are really nice.

Function



fig 2. These words need to be spaced correctly

The functionality of the site could be improved by adding a “compare” function. Instead of the customer having to read all the specs and print them out to compare them, it would be better if they could just click a button to find out which printer did what compared to the other ones. Since the site allows the buyer to send a quote to the appropriate shop (but no payment is transacted through the site as far as I could tell), the whole website appears to be a reselling site, where the author earns commission from the sales without lifting a finger. I would suggest that to improve reseller sales, the author will have to actually do some work, put in a phone number and prominent address, explain guarantees, warranties and have a payment system. Then greater benefits may accrue.

Loading time is very fast. This is due to the minimal effects on the site except the graphics.

Conclusion

OfficeConnect needs lots of work in design if it wants to appeal to a Western audience. The product images are great but the website itself is very ordinary. OfficeConnect doesn’t appear to be trustworthy enough as there’s no “About Us” and minimal (hidden) contact details, which does not make people confident about buying from OfficeConnect. The site is fast loading and simple. The “compare” feature is great and these are good things, but the business model needs work if it is to make more money.

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