Discussion about website design for eCommerce tends to revolve around the sale of physical merchandise and concert tickets; I have yet to come up with the magic search string that will yield wisdom about design for big-ticket events (and I’m sure it’s out there). In the meantime, here are some personal notes for anyone facing a similar challenge:

  1. Since this is a big-ticket purchase, will the user be given choices to: make a deposit, pay in full, opt for a payment plan? You’ll need to balance these options with the chosen payment processing system.
  2. Email reminders for event registrants are strongly recommended. This can be automated.
  3. Do they want users to be able to browse past events? This is particularly valuable if chronicling prominent past participants or growing a library of recorded talks, event photos, etc.
  4. Does the calendar and purchase system need to be scalable? Maybe not. What is the client’s vision? Do they see a future with numerous ongoing events? or never more than two or three at any one time?
  5. If you are providing a CMS (Content Management System: the window through which the client can independently add their events), tailor it to the mindset and needs of the client. For example, consider auto-populating venue and times, decide whether to restrict date and time formats (i.e. Saturday, February 12, 2011 vs. 02/12/11), decide whether to combine or separate registrations and inquiries for more info, etc.

Whether the client is established or a start-up, your work as a designer is helping to further define their vision. Never assume you know how things ought to grow. Asking lots and lots of questions about a business’ desired future is key to a smart design, and often contributes to clarifying vague areas in the business plan. This way, the creative process is a team experience, building a fun, productive, and long-term relationship.

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2 Responses to Design Notes: A Bigger-ticket eCommerce Site

  1. Penina says:

    Oops! Just rescued this comment and awesome link from Askimet!
    Thanks, Raffi. I’m seeing lots of valuable stuff.

  2. Raffi says:

    Have you read what Amy Africa has to say about ECommerce? She offers great advice on her Qlog.
    http://amyafrica.com/category/shopping-carts/

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