November 10, 2010, 11:24 AM

Cutting obstacles to improve site design

An IRWD speaker will talk about some of the most common e-commerce site mistakes.

Thad Rueter

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Tom Funk

Awkward navigation, a confusing checkout process, wordy disclaimers and visual clutter all can serve as obstacles that discourage e-commerce site visitors from becoming buyers, says Tom Funk, vice president of Timberline Interactive, a web design, marketing and consulting firm.

He will speak about site design issues at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference 2011 in a session entitled “Web design smackdown: "How good is your design instinct vs. testing?” from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Feb. 15, and also offer live critiques of retail web sites on Feb. 14 between 4:15 p.m. and 5 p.m.

In the Feb. 15 session, Funk will guide attendees through examples of issues that arose during retail site redesigns.  Via text messages, audience members will vote for the best ways to fix those problems, with speakers then revealing what approaches were taken. For the Feb. 14 live critiques, Funk hopes to show how to knock down some e-commerce site obstacles that stand in the way of conversions.

“I love to see clean, clear, fun, visually powerful sites that boost the visitors’ enthusiasm for the brand and all the great stuff they sell,” Funk says. While he supports what he calls traditional, old-school design concepts—big, attractive product images, for instance—he is not averse to new ideas. “Emerging trends I am excited about include more dynamic Ajax features that display on click or mouseover, integrating with Facebook Connect and designing for mobile commerce.”

Internet Retailer’s editors asked Funk to speak because he specializes in e-commerce marketing, user experience, and web site development at Timberline Interactive, whose clients include Lake Champlain Chocolates, Gorton's Fresh Seafood, King Arthur Flour, Garrett Wade and Vermont Bicycle Touring. Before joining Timberline, Tom spent six years as web manager at The Vermont Teddy Bear Co., and sister brands including Calyx & Corolla and PajamaGram.

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