My company, FRESCO, has just launched a new website for Skylight (a children's support trust). We're particularly proud of it because we believe it represents a step forward in shopping website capability.
What's so special about the site? The key for a good shopping website is easy self management. That's because it's important that it's dynamically maintained, in other words – and to use a real shopping term – the shelves need to be kept well stocked and the presentation of merchandise must be attractive to make purchasing easy.
The Skylight website does this using our Flightdec website platform, which operates a uniquely clean modular structure. In layperson's language, it means that there's no unnecessary complication in the technical engine and the architecture is tested and refined for easy use.
I've always been amazed at how disorganised and static many shopping websites are. It's a common issue for websites that transact, which is an increasingly important function for web delivery. So why is that?
I think the problem goes right back to fundamentals. Smart developers have pondered the basic questions raised by the internet: what is it and what will the ultimate benefits be? There's little doubt that the internet will continue to create massive benefits, especially as we recognise that a website should no longer simply be regarded as a passive 'brochure online'. It needs to be fit-for-purpose, including making purchasing and transacting easy.
For me the internet is 'infrastructure' – connections, in roughly the same fashion as power lines, roads and railways – and that websites could be considered as pieces of 'real estate'. As real estate, a website can grow to any dimensions, but most importantly should be designed and built to perform a purpose. It might be built to be a library, a bank, a shop or whatever. In other words the planning, building and operation of a good website should fit the need.
It seems obvious doesn't it, yet I suspect that most websites are still built to be... well, a brochure online with a 'contact us' page. We see the Skylight website as proof of a better pathway.