iPad UX needs consideration when it comes to e-commerce design
I’ve been thinking about how the iPad is going to impact the world of ecommerce, and since managing to get hold of one recently, I’m actually pretty excited at the opportunities, and challenges it poses.
This post is just going to consider the challenges first as I think there’s some quick thinking required to avert some negative user experiences.
Three things come to mind so far:
1. No flash support for the iPad: this is more than just annoying (you can’t watch the iPlayer amongst other things), it’s also potentially disastrous for many ecommerce sites out there that generate a significant portion of their revenue online.
Sites effected are any that use flash-based zooms, product videos and fancy homepages within their key sales pages as these are quite simply not going to work. So unless the site has a static backup (very few do), the user is going to see a blank. Selfridges for example uses a Flash zoom in it’s product detail pages which doesn’t work at all on the iPad.
2. No concept of a ‘roll-over’ state: many ecommerce sites today employ a product zoom function that is activated once the mouse is rolled over the product image (see Hobbs for an example).
Again, this will fail on something like the iPad as this sort of functionality is not supported. Having said that, the addition of a ‘click to enlarge’ link would do the job as long as the image pops up as a html window as opposed to a new window.
3. General quirks: I couldn’t think of a suitable way of describing this but as you click around sites, you start noticing all the things that work beautifully on a normal screen, but are either very clunky on an iPad or just don’t work. Again, using Selfridges as an example (sorry, I know the site is new), their ‘sneak a peek’ functionality just becomes annoying.
A few caveats if i may:
- The iPad is currently the only product in it’s category so there is nothing to say that other new, touch screen tablets will not be flash enabled.
- I make the assumption that the iPad will be used as a web browser for shopping online and that people will actually buy it. From the stats we’re getting in the states (28 Days Later – Apple sells one million iPads), it’s looking like this will be a highly sought-after product.
Having had a chance to explore the iPad in more depth, I’m convinced that this is going to be a product that will revolutionise how we design websites, and ultimately how we shop online. A game changer for sure.
More to come on this soon.