If You Need More Darned Clutter on Your Site ...
Key takeaway: If what you're selling is more targeted than what eBay and Amazon are selling, which is true for just about everyone, your web experience shouldn't be as noisy as theirs.
Which brings us to the second point ...
When Search is Pretty Close to Perfect
Search is tough. Not only are rock-solid on-site search engines expensive, tagging your content with metadata (e.g., price, availability, category, etc.) for good search is time consuming. Creating good search experiences can be daunting.
That's exactly what you need to spend more time on if there's more noise on your site. If your top and left navigation elements don't list distinct categories that immediately make sense to visitors, more people will turn to search. They certainly do on eBay and Amazon, where those companies can afford to continually fund the improvement of search capabilities year over year.
Key takeaway: On-site search is important even for e-commerce sites with minimal clutter. Some people just naturally like search boxes. However, if you do have more clutter on your site for reasons you may or may not have control over, you need to work on improving site search and making your search box more visible. More people will need it.
When Testing is Part of the Site's DNA
Not all noise is created equal.
If you doubt this, just go to Amazon's product pages. We've featured one page while discussing the persuasive product page. On it, there are 17 pages worth of scrolling to get through! Talk about the opposite of a quiet experience.
Amazon, like Google, is known for extensive testing. Not only does it get the emotional design of a page right, it's actually added smart elements to the page that will only work when you have the kind of data it does.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
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