To answer your questions about the redesign of trampoline.com, I have
resorted to web research and drawn on my studies in user-interface design
at university, where I majored in computer science.
Part 1: How does the new site compare with the old site and with
The new site is a significant improvement over the old one in terms of
aesthetics and, more importantly, in guiding the web visitor toward a
purchase. Compared to the old site, which tried to cram a great deal of
disparate information onto the home page, the new one has a more focused
message, with shorter and clearer text.
The toll-free number stands out better on the new page, since its
placement ensures that it will appear close to the middle of the browser
window, where a new visitor's gaze tends to be drawn. The shaded gray band
at the center of the screen also does a good job of guiding the eyes to
the large blue "Order Online" button by the right margin, making it the
most prominent feature of the page, and rightly so. Whereas getting to a
product listing was not a straightforward proposition on the old site,
requiring the visitor to make the correct choice between two buttons
labeled "Trampolines" or to scroll down and find a text link near the
bottom of the page, there is a single conspicuous way to do so on the
new home page.
The product listing is also improved in that it offers capsule description
of the full range of products on one short page, with prices prominently
displayed. In contrast, the old site requires one further click from the
product listing to the detail page, where scrolling is still required
to find the pricing information near the bottom. The up-front pricing
on the new site makes it easier for the prospective customer to make
product comparisons and to mentally formulate a purchasing decision.
In addition to the capsule descriptions, additional product details
are still accessible in the new design through the "More Info"
link. Furthermore, the new detail page for each trampoline model makes
the purchase more enticing with a less cluttered layout featuring fewer
typefaces and more concise text, as well as a video clip to supplement
the visitor's imagination with a real-life depiction of the trampoline's
The basic goal of a commerce site is to sell something, a
product or a service; even if the company launching a commerce
site has other goals, such as establishing an online presence,
a commerce web site is a place for selling. Commerce sites use
some powerful tools and techniques -- including merchandising,
advertising, reviews -- to focus the "buy from us" message,
make it stronger, and make it more attractive to the user.
philosophe.com: Messages For The Users
Compared to the design of competing trampoline manufacturers' sites,
the new trampoline.com design is more attractive, clearer, and more
conducive to making a purchase.
The Jumpright site has a minimalistic layout with few graphical features,
no ordering button on the home page, and little promotional copy apart
from blurbs such as "best 15' available!". In short, this site neglects
the opportunity to tell visitors why a trampoline would be a good
investment, whereas trampoline.com does offer purchasing rationales in
its "Quality", "Safety", and "Benefits" sections.
JumpSport is a strong competitor, with a site that, like trampoline.com,
strives to give the visitor reasons to buy the product by providing a
great deal of information on the exercise benefits and safety features
of their product. Colorful photographs show off the product range and
demonstrate children having fun on the trampolines. By prominently
displaying a "Free Shipping" message along with a toll-free number and
business hours, JumpSport keeps the purchasing decision at the forefront.
However, unlike trampoline.com, JumpSport has no online ordering button on
the front page or in its product listing, which makes it more difficult
for visitors to place an order. There is also less graphical consistency
and more clutter in the page layout, giving trampoline.com's new design
an aesthetic advantage.
Texas Trampoline prominently displays its toll-free ordering number on
the front page and features pricing information immediately alongside its
product listings. It also talks about the health benefits of trampoline
exercise, although this information is poorly placed in the FAQ section
of the site. Overall, the Texas Trampoline site is less graphically
sophisticated than the new trampoline.com design, since the photos
are small and the page layout breaks in browsers such as Firefox and
Safari. These oversights do not inspire confidence in the prospective
The Vikan Trampolines site is a two-part creation consisting of a very
plain HTML splash page linked to a slick Flash minisite. Although Flash
gives the graphical designers considerable freedom, it does not run on all
platforms (mobile browsers, text browsers, some alternative operating
systems), runs slowly when bandwidth is limited, and prevents text
from being indexed by search engines. Furthermore, this particular Flash
minisite does not offer a clear purchasing path apart from advertising the
toll-free ordering number. The trampoline.com site offers a similar degree
of visual polish along with index-friendly text and a straightforward
Part 2: Has anything important been overlooked, from an eCommerce perspective?
The Super-Payment plan is an attractive option, but it could be used to
greater advantage by providing some more detail. At present, what the
visitor sees on each trampoline's Super-Payment Plan page is the amount
of the down-payment and of subsequent payments in a single column. This
block of text is difficult to visually process and leaves some questions
unanswered: What is the total price? How are payments scheduled? Who is
eligible for the installment plan?
The "How it works" box in the corner does mention that the installments
are charged "per month", but this should be immediately clear under the
"Super-Payment Plan" heading in the center of the page. I suggest that
instead of reading "1st Payment", "2nd Payment", and so forth, the table
should read "1st month", "2nd month", and so on. Also, a final line at
the bottom of the table labeled "Total" should clearly state the total
charge for the down-payment and monthly installments, in order to show
that there is no extra fee for choosing the installment plan over the
Perhaps it would be best to scrap the month-by-month payment listing
in favor of a single line that states the monthly charge for each of
the six months following the down-payment. The full monthly listing,
although it reflects the format of the contract, makes the payments
appear more formidable than they really are.
A bit more information about the standard purchasing procedure would
help to ease the visitor's way into making a purchase. For instance,
it appears that Super-Fun charges no sales tax in any state. Is this
really the case, or is it possible that taxes get added to the order
somewhere down the line? It is also unclear how products are shipped (US
Postal Service? courier?) and how long they take to arrive, except for
the phrase "almost invariably within 7-10 business days" which appears
only on the "About Us" page.
The online ordering process allows Canadian buyers to make a purchase
in the same way as US purchasers, which is nice, even though this is
not advertised anywhere on the site. A simple "We ship to Canada!" or
"Canadian orders welcome!" message would do a great deal to entice
Canadians who look specifically for such indications when they go
shopping on American sites. Also, there is at present no information
about customs and taxation: if the products ship directly from the US,
who will be the shipment's customs broker, and what are the estimated
brokerage fees and duties?
Some online customers are hesitant to provide information to e-merchants
link is a good idea. However, the policy seems to be available only
as a PDF file, which not all visitors will be able to read, and it
appears to consist of pure legalese. It would be friendlier to provide
a plain-English summary of the policy in HTML, or at least a message
to the effect that Super-Fun is committed to safeguarding the personal
data of its customers. Is there any possibility that Super-Fun will
ever sell or rent the customer's email address, phone number, or other
contact information to a third party? If there is no such possibility,
say it with pride.
But shopping electronically -- especially when you're dealing
with vendors in other countries -- opens up a whole world of
questions. Are the prices posted in U.S. dollars or some other
currency? Does the company ship internationally? How long will
it take for an order to be delivered? Will unexpected taxes or
duties be added to the price? If there's a problem, where can
you get it resolved?
All businesses require information about you to process an
order. Some use it to tell customers about products, services
or promotions, but others share or sell the information to other
vendors -- a practice with which you may not be comfortable.
Shop only from online vendors that respect your privacy. Look
statement should reveal what personal identifying information is
collected about you and how it will be used, and give you the
opportunity to refuse having your information sold or shared
with other vendors. It also should tell you whether you can
correct or delete information the company already has about you.
Federal Trade Commission: FTC Consumer Alert: A Guide for E-Consumers
Part 3: Is there any other feedback relevant to the new design?
One element carried over from the old design that continues to bother
me is the "Satisfaction" rating included in the warranty information
box for each trampoline. This rating is always listed as five stars,
but what does that mean? Who awarded this rating? Why should anyone
be impressed by it? In the absence of any further explanation, the
five-star ratings are gratuitous and perhaps counterproductive. If the
rating is the result of an in-house survey or an industry-wide study,
there should be words to this effect.
The concept of rating products according to various criteria can actually
be an effective one, since customers are often anxious to differentiate
between the various items in the product line based on something other
than price and dimensions. For example, would it be meaningful to rate
the various trampolines based on their jump height or required skill
level? Just a thought.
Overall, I am rather impressed with the trampoline.com redesign. I believe
it will lead to a higher conversion ratio due to its improved aesthetics,
clearer message, and more straightforward ordering path.
It has been an interesting challenge to answer your question. If you have
any concerns about the completeness or accuracy of my research, please
advise me through a Clarification Request and give me the opportunity
to fully meet your needs before you rate this answer.
ecommerce purchase decision
ecommerce data privacy