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Author: Mike Baxter
Consultancy services focus mostly on improving the acquisition, conversion and retention of customers on e-commerce sites. Recent clients include Google, Santander, Avis and Reed Business Information. My reports (2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010: Checkout Optimization Guide) on Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks are all published by E-Consultancy. I am also the co-owner and Director of Moneyspyder - an e-commerce platform for high-growth, multi-channel retailers.
One lost book, one disgruntled customer and a potential million dollar legal fee for Amazon - it's the latest in a series of morality tales showing how e-commerce companies can be hit where it hurts most due to bad customer experience.
How difficult can it be? It's only a text box and a button, after all.
It is, however, its very simplicity that makes the search box such a great example of the power of design patterns.
What can go wrong when we design a search box (what are the antipatterns)? What are the key elements of best practice in the design of a search box that enable us to avoid these pitfalls? And how many e-commerce search boxes comply with all aspects of the design pattern that we've just developed? For something so apparently simple, it comes as a bit of a surprise that the answer to that last question is none!
"E-Commerce Design Patterns are a distillation and summary of best practice, that can be applied quickly and effectively to create a variety of specific design solutions"
This is how we've defined design patterns. In this post, we explore in what way design patterns are 'patterns' and then tease apart our definition to compare each part with the definitions other design pattern experts have used.