99p Store Website: A Reflection Of the Project
Overall, I think my project was very successful. I mainly stuck to my original website plan; only changing things which were affected by Webnode’s functionality. I thought my plan was extensive but lacked detail in targeting customer groups such as young people and mothers; it only generally aimed at customers. I stuck to the letter when following my website structure plan, however I had to dramatically change my page layout as Webnode restricted severe change to its templates; I would have had to put my own CSS in place and that would have been inappropriate.
Further changes to my original plan include the use of Twitter over RSS. After consideration, I felt that Twitter was more appropriate as it allows for higher customer activity. Customers are able to follow us on a social networking site and see all of our latest news be advertised; an easy method of marketing. Also, as advised, a 99p Store was very unlikely to generate large numbers of news items so RSS really was not needed.
Another change included adding user forums on each product page. This allows customers to interact with the website, and meant they had an opportunity to leave their opinions of a product for other customers to see. If I had time I would have added a poll into each sub-category’s product listing page, so that customers could vote for their favourite products.
The website is generally strong in meeting both the website goals and its user’s needs. All of the functionality I wanted in place, such as signing up to brochures and the shopping list, are in place and would certainly meet the customer needs as they can easily manage their shopping interests with minimum fuss. If it was too much work for our customer’s to take an interest in the website then it would lose a lot of customers. I believe each person has a right to interact with a website, however sometimes this is realistically not possible. For example, some enterprise businesses fully stick to emails and phone as dedicated channels of communication and fully restrict their websites to direct users to communicate in an appropriate way.
Webnode helped me launch the site quickly. The template meant I instantly had webpages there and ready to go, whilst its search facility took the need to make one away although the search facility is quite weak. Webnode also allows a user to catalogue items easily. This was appropriate to my project; however the way in which the items were catalogued contradicted my site map and the designed information architecture structure of the website. This was unfortunate, as you could easily control what items were published to a page by using filters; an excellent management system which fits in with my project. This represents that Webnode is an ideal CMS for any small-medium business who wants to expand to e-commerce; it has all the tools to get the project up and running, namely the Lists feature and Paypal widgets.
The website has many advantages. Firstly it has hit many of its goals and customer needs; it would provide the functionality of a normal e-commerce shopping website to its users whilst directing them to the company’s primary commerce format – in store purchasing only. The colour scheme is consistent throughout, and corresponds to the corporate colour scheme.
The page layouts are logical; clearly separating content from each other whilst grouping related content. I believe the layout of the category pages (e.g. Stationary) is a good representation of this. It makes appropriate use of text alternatives, such as one the Products page. Furthermore, each page has useful buttons on the side, such as “View Our Latest Brochure” and recommended/new products; designed to catch the customer’s eye.
The website has some disadvantages, however. A prime example is the colour scheme and its application in places. I felt I had to get some text alternative in place so on the Products page all of the links are buttons. I feel the two colours clash a little bit, and it may be irritable for certain types of customer who suffer any kind of visual distress.
I would have liked to assess Webnode as a tool before planning the development of the website, however I could not find the time and as a result I had to alter my plan after making it. Luckily this hasn’t affected the success of the website too much, and I still feel I have done an adequate job.