When building or redesigning a business site, it might be tempting to include every bell and whistle available, making it flashy and unforgettable, but the team at eCommerce innovator and web design aficionados EYEMAGINE caution against being too flashy.

“We champion a clean layout and an attractive color scheme,” says marketing manager Cherene Etemadi. “We believe site visitors judge a site with just one glance without scrolling down, and so we do our best to build your brand and your site’s edge above the fold.”

Using eye-catching stories and images “above the fold” is critical given the short amount of time – usually 10 to 20 seconds on average – that consumers use to determine whether a site is worth their time or not.

“To increase the conversion of visitors to consumers, a website must strategically place valuable, fluff-free content without being over-bearing,” Cherene adds.

We recently checked in with Cherene to learn more about EYEMAGINE as well as get advice on the dos and don’ts of smart web design.

Hi, Cherene! Can you tell us about EYEMAGINE? What services do you offer?

EYEMAGINE is an eCommerce innovator that employs a staff of specialized U.S.-based developers who are experts in their respective fields. Our services include: eCommerce design, UI/UX design, eCommerce development, systems integration, Internet marketing, search engine optimization, managed services and more. We have proficiency with multiple eCommerce platforms, open source software, and technologies.

We improve user experience design to put the rubber to the road and create an elegant, effective design that guides your visitors to the destination. From simple eCommerce sites to high-functioning mobile commerce applications, our designs are memorable and impactful.

A handful of past, pleased clients include Disney, HP, Universal Audio, Braven, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and Amp’d Mobile. Our team has won a MySQL Application of the Year award. Links to our recent site developments can be found on our portfolio page.

What sets you apart from other web developers?

We have fresh ideas and valuable experience when it comes to eCommerce development. In a world full of outsourced development and neglectful coding practices, our team of industry experts put wheels on your eCommerce dollars. We pride ourselves in our technical expertise of:

  • Magento development
  • Custom extension development
  • Mobile app development
  • Open source development
  • EDI development
  • Integration development
  • API development
  • HTML5 and CSS3 development
  • Deployment

We understand how important quality and usability are to successful businesses and their customers.

What are some easy ways every business owner can improve the functionality of their site?

1. Eliminate 404 Errors and Missing Assets: By fixing bad pages or missing assets is the easiest way to get started improved performance. Any 404 errors on your site are going to increase bounce rate and lose traffic and potential customers. You can diagnose errors easily with Google Webmaster Tools by going to Diagnostics and then Crawl Errors. 404 errors happen when a user visits a page that has been deleted from the site. So first, try not to delete any pages. For the most part, there’s no need to If you must delete a page, implement a 301 redirect to your homepage or a similar page.

2. Optimize Images: We all want beautiful, high-resolution images on our websites to showcase products in their best light. And today, users most clearly respond to great design and large visuals, which puts greater pressure on a site’s load time and infrastructure. Lossless image compression refers to methods that involve no downgrade in image quality. These are methods that make images “lighter” without making them any smaller, blurrier or less colorful. There are online tools you can use for this like ImageAlpha, TinyPNG, and Photoshop. CSS sprites are tools to combine images into one file to reduce the overall number of image requests, and are the preferred method. A sprite involves bundling small images into a larger file. When the large sprite image that contains the smaller ones is fetched from the server, CSS is then used to precisely position specific parts of the image in the right places on the page while hiding the other parts from view. The result is a page that looks the same as if it had loaded each image separately, but that only required HTTP request instead of several.

3. Use Content Delivery Network: When traffic volume is high, your web server can easily get so blogged down processing asset requests that it may have trouble dealing with the more important functions like presenting the page views and processing transactions. A CDN offloads server request from your infrastructure to dedicate, sometimes global servers in multiple data centers so that your site won’t crash or slow with heavy traffic. This expands your infrastructure capabilities and supports you back end.

What sorts of features commonly found on small business sites do you think are unnecessary or outdated?

1. Auto-play Videos: If not done correctly, auto-play videos can harm your online strategy. It has been noted time and time again that some consumers don’t like disruptive videos that begin without being prompted by the user. There is definitely a correct way to do videos, but this feature can become bothersome to the user and distract from other site content. Auto-play videos play on the idea that your site visitor isn’t doing anything else on their computer aside from viewing your site, which is usually not the case. It creates overall disruption, which will inevitably lead to site abandonment.

2. Irrelevant Elements: More often than not we will visit a website with tons of great elements, but can’t reason what value they would bring to the visitor. Instead of increasing the visitor to consumer ratio, they are instead downgrading the user experience. So businesses must always consistently edit and review their website and really keep what is necessary and eliminate the unnecessary fluff.

What site components do you think businesses don’t spend enough time on or overlook?

Some online shoppers will avoid doing business with you if you can’t back your product. What seems like a no-brainer for online retailers often goes overlooked: offer a refund or return policy. Build trust with the customer and drive conversions by letting them try out the product.

How often should a business consider redesigning their site?

There is no singular concrete number as to when one should consider redesigning their site, despite the fact that most marketers suggest two to three years. There are many factors to consider before you take the leap and invest into redesigning your website, some of which include web traffic, visitors to checkout ratio, your competitor’s site, does your website take advantage of new technologies and is your business changing. If your business is at all struggling with these factors, consider investing in a redesign. Most importantly, don’t wait for a problem to arise, simple tweaks and upgrades can be much more cost efficient than a full redesign so consider being conscious of these problems and attack them before more problems start to arise.

What is responsive web design and why should businesses care about?

Responsive web-designed sites grow to fill a specific need: with a multiplicity of screen sizes (tablet, phone, laptop, desktop) a solution was needed that allowed for an optimal experience on every device. Responsive sites don’t have any fixed width, so their layout will reflow to whatever viewport they’re displayed in. In other words, if you’re viewing a responsive site with your browser window stretched wide, it might look different than if you resize your browser window to a small width. If you were to view that same responsive e-site on your tablet device, it might look slightly different again; if you then glanced at it on your cell phone, you might find the site has yet another layout.

Embracing responsive design in eCommerce allows an online store to be tailored perfectly to the customer, no matter how they access the site. So instead of a customer awkwardly squinting pinching and zooming when they get to your mobile commerce site, they might be able to experience. Think about how much easier checking out on a cell phone could be, for instance, if eCommerce customers didn’t have to hunt for the checkout link and tab on tiny text links to estimate shipping.

Responsive design is no longer a next phase thing. It’s a right now thing. Learn how it works from frontend to backend with our free guide to responsive design.

What are some of your favorite new innovations in web design and promotion?

1. Single page design: A poorly designed website or an eCommerce checkout system that requires excessive clicking and multiple steps in due course can lead to consumers’ abandoned shopping carts. It has been concluded that 73 percent of people stopped an online order because too much personal information was being ask from them. The solution to this problem? – A single page design that requires the bare minimum of information, cutting out all of the fluff.

2. Flat design: the minimalist approach called flat design takes on the foundational components that can include color, shape, and typography to project a meaning. This approach gives the web designer the freedom to add more functionality to an eCommerce site without the extraneous design elements. Flat design also benefits the consumer with quick viewing and a clear call to action. Although flat design provides a very aesthetically pleasing look, it can easily cause frustration in users who are not familiar with the changes which, if not carefully tested, can quickly lead to shopping cart abandonment.

3. Photo Navigation: With the exponential success of Pinterest in the last year, we’re seeing a greater preference for a visual shopping experience. Photo navigation offers products to be displayed in a grid-like feed that incorporates the ease of online shopping, without sacrificing the fun of window shopping. This eCommerce web design trend for 2014 is being seen everywhere. Online shoppers are noting their preference of text being displayed as a feed, while pictures and videos are best presented as a grid. In the past year alone, several dozen online shops have integrated the photo navigation design trend into their eCommerce website, if not completely.

Follow EYEMAGINE on FacebookTwitterPinterest and LinkedIn.