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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Web Applications: Enhancements for Online Stores

Friday, September 9 marked the reinstatement of the Lunch-N-Learn in-house educational series for LRS Web Solutions with a web applications discussion about online stores from Bill and Beau.

The presentation covered:
– Who is currently using online stores with examples
– Various features of online stores
– Future enhancements and possibilities

Cassandra created a list of features discussed that she felt were important to improve the online shopping experience:

1.   One Click to Cart.  I hate when I click “add to cart” and I am suddenly taken away from my browsing page. Then the worst is when I have to maneuver my way back to the products I left off at because “back to browsing” takes me to the homepage or removes any filters.  Grr!  I just want to add something to my shopping cart quick & easily, without leaving the page.
2.   Show me the Steps!  There’s a lot that goes into buying something.  You have to know your address, payment information, and if you want to sign up for newsletters.  During the check-out process, I like to see where I’ve been and where I’m going.  By displaying the step-by-step process with the ability to go back and edit information, I simply feel more comfortable.
3.   Share.  I get excited about new shoes.  I want to tell everyone about them and what a great deal I got on them.  Might as well make it easy for me and add a “Share on Facebook or Twitter” link.
4.   Lots of pictures.  The more pictures of an item, the better.  A full view of the item, a close-up shot and pictures of the item in use are all necessities.  What’s even more fun is when users can upload their own pictures of an item.
5.   Customer Reviews.  I don’t know many people that will purchase an item online without first reading customer reviews.  Don’t make me go anywhere else to find that information.  I might buy that item from somewhere else.  Provide a rating and customer reviews where I can easily access them.
6.   Wish List.  I create these constantly.  It’s easier on my parents and my husband around the holidays and birthday time.  If a store doesn’t have Wish List functionality, my family isn’t shopping there.

Here is a quick peek inside this Lunch-N-Learn session for those who might be curious. It’s a great way for our team to learn, share ideas, ask questions and stay up-to-date on the latest web technology.

LRS Web Solutionsis constantly improving our online store product. So, tell us… What do you love about your favorite online store?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just for Fun Friday: Cleverbot and Bacon Ipsum

Here are some cool things we’re playing around with this week. Take a look just for fun, and feel free to share some of your favorite online tools or destinations with us too!

Dan is fond of Cleverbot for the entertainment value. Cleverbot is a web application created back in 1988 that tries to mimic actual human conversation. It takes input from a user and selects previously entered phrases from its database of conversations to respond. Supposedly it’s like “talking with the collective community of the Internet.” Check it out and see what you think, but don’t expect any “deep” conversations.

Carnivorous staffer Eddie has a new favorite indulgence in Bacon Ipsum for meatier mockup filler text. If you’re a designer with a hankering for cuts of meat, Bacon Ipsum should satisfy your appetite. Not to discriminate against vegetarians though, there is also Veggie Ipsum on the menu.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Web Design Links: Stock Photos, HTML5 Markup, Bookmark Tool, Dummy Text

Take a look at these great web design resources the team has discovered this week!

Tom Z: Here’s a resource for finding stock photos

Dan: 7 lovely things about HTML5 Markup

Alexis: fun dummy text generators

Tom M: Instapaper is a nice little site where you can create an account, then basically bookmark items you find online that you want to read later (for those times, you see a good tweet or a link in an email, but you really don’t have time to read it).  With Instapaper, you easily bookmark the item using your browser, then you can pull up the link later in your browser or on your mobile device.  And it not only brings up the text of the page you wanted to read, it also strips a lot of the other junk (ads) from the display.

What useful and fun online tools have you found recently to help with your own work? We’d love to hear about them, so please share.