February 11, 2010, 12:00 AM

Good navigation leads shoppers through an e-commerce site

Like highway driving, getting shoppers to the right products—without any unnecessary side trips—means creating well-marked pathways, says web design consultant Larry Becker of LarryBeckerWeb.com.

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Like highway driving, getting shoppers to the right products-without any unnecessary side trips-means creating well-marked pathways, says web design consultant Larry Becker, head of LarryBeckerWeb.com.

But creating good navigation through an e-commerce site is not easy because designers often don`t understand how shoppers actually use the site, Becker says. Successful navigation requires mastery of the three primary types of navigation-product organization, product selection and page signage. The key to merging all navigation needs is collaboration among designers, developers, marketers and other relevant stakeholders.

In today’s e-commerce shopping world, moving shoppers around a site is considerably more complicated than getting them there in the first place. As shoppers become more educated in navigating web sites, they expect more and they expect a fast track to the desired products.

Becker will share web site navigation tips at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference, Feb. 15-17 in Orlando, in a session titled Navigation: Don`t let your customers get lost.

Thomas Parkinson, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Peapod Inc., also will be featured in the session, offering perspective from a retailer with a huge, ever-changing product assortment. Peapod is No. 47 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name).


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