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Website visitors are often reluctant to pull out their credit card and actually make a purchase on the first visit, especially if they are on a mobile device. We must view this reluctance as an opportunity to create secure e-commerce websites that are easy to navigate and pleasant for the user.

Shoppers are savvier and more demanding than ever before and simply will not tolerate poor navigation, bad UX design or low-quality images. Frustrated users are quicker than ever to click the back button or select a different shopping site from their Favorites or Bookmarks. Magazine-quality elements such as fine topography, soothing colors and unobtrusive but obvious navigation tabs are the new norm. Shoppers still want a catalog-like experience, without the hassle and innate paranoia that was once the standard for online shopping.

 

This brings us to the next big thing to focus on: making the site secure and secure-feeling. The process of placing an item in a shopping cart and check-out itself should be simple, self-explanatory and stream-lined while still feeling structured and secure to the user.  Beyond the implementation of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for any page that requires user input, we must consider the mechanics of checking out and completing a transaction.

If the check-out process is longer, and requires basic user information, shipping information and billing information it is wise to consider breaking this process up into multiple screens (perhaps one for each phase: basic, shipping and billing). A breadcrumb-like interface here also communicates to the user where they are in the process, such as Step 1: customer information, Step 2: billing information, Step 3: shipping information, and so on.

This method is usually considered best practice for several reasons. First, we want to encourage the user to fill out all the order fields instead of frustrating them and risk having the user navigate off the page. Secondly, we want the check-out form to be clear, concise and easy to use. Lastly, a more streamlined process usually feels more secure to the user.