LeftClick smoothes online shopping

Analyst and web designer team identifies potential problems and re-designs site

Christchurch’s LeftClick Labs, which specialises in user-experience testing and the redesign of e-commerce websites is growing, literally, by the dozen.

The company has grown from one to six staff in three years. Now, the company is looking to take on six more staff, as soon as it can find the right people, says company director Alan Cox.

Cox is looking for web designers who have the skills and interest to create user-friendly designs which can result in tangible business results for e-retailers.

There are a number of features that frustrate e-commerce site users. These include, for example, poor navigation or confusing elements on the page, such as flashing banner ads, says Cox. Bad design, from a business perspective, also includes not catering to customers’ needs, he adds.

“For example, people visiting an online florist aren’t necessarily looking for a bunch of red roses — they are perhaps looking for a gift for a birthday.”

Interaction with customers on successful e-commerce sites resembles the kind of conversation a customer might have with a shop assistant, says Cox.

“Most websites are not doing that. They are basically assuming that people have come to the site to buy the thing that you are offering them,” he says.

Successful e-commerce websites — the ones that get repeat business — are generally usability-tested, and offer customers a sense of security and trust.

LeftClick, which is based at the Canterbury Innovation Incubator, has an in-house user experience testing lab where “human guinea pigs”, chosen to reflect the website’s target audience, test existing websites to find out how customers are using the site and what is causing them dissatisfaction, he says.

An analyst and web designer then work side by side to identify potential problems and re-design the site, says Cox.

Customers include Interflora, Tait Radio Communications, the US company PC Universe, and Christchurch and San Francisco-based Eurekster.

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