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Reader Reviews of Web Sites

REVIEWED by TWO Reviewers:
Web Site: Gift Squared.com

In the original submission, web site representative J. Cowles says:
We offer an online gift store catering to individuals who need gifts fast and easy. Customers can interact with our store and purchase with credit cards, products are delivered to the address that is entered. In the past year e-commerce has revolutionized the way people shop. We offer a safe secure way to save time and money. Customers can rely on us for their gift shopping needs. If you need a gift fast, please see us first!

* Reviewer #2 says: The first impression of the site appears cluttered, and the cyan in center of the page does not blend well with the red,white and blue on the heading. One does not expect to find very high-end gifts on this site, and that is pretty much what the site is about. The presents vary from about $5 to $130 (with one artificial rose that plays a love tune in it). This is not shopping at a pricy store, but the impression on the first page could be more inviting.
__ The comic-sans font is used on the gift pages which is not appropriate to invite the trust of your viewer, especially when your asking them to load a shopping and give credit card info. A plainer or more trustworthy serif font would give a better impression.
__ The Asian and Business/Travel sections looked more appropriate and appealing, probably because there is a better selection of gifts.
__ Speed of Loading: The images are small enough to download quickly, however some images didn't come up on His or Her pages. (I didn't wait long, but on other pages the small images came up right-away on the left margin.)

Navigation: The site is well organized and one can move around logically -- the links connect quickly, and the gifts are arranged by price which is convenient for the viewer.

The navigation names along the left side of home page could be separated better to see individual titles. All words run together on a long string. One  can figure it out easily, but it could be done more thoughtfully.

SPAM: There is an ad to click here if you want to make your boring desktop more colorful. I clicked on upper right X, but the rectangle didn't close, it connected me anyway. I don't have extra time today for these games, so I was annoyed. Then some eye catching photos came up (surfer wave) and the word Free caught my eye. I had the feeling it's a gimick because it didn't give me the choice to pass it by, so I didn't get involved in downloading a free webshot for my "boring" desktop.  My desktop is extremely interesting, thank you. If  message had been more positive, and I may have been enticed.

Hope these thoughts help you site. Good luck.  
Sincerely, Edie G. in Palo Alto

* Reviewer #1 says: The basic colors of blue and red against the white background are easy to read and do not take away from the contents/message of the page. I noticed that the loading time is a little slow on the first page, but all the pictures appeared and the links worked on most pages. (There were jpgs or gif files here and there that were broken. )
__ One suggestion would be to target the purchase item in a seperate window. This would allow the browser and potential customer to view the item in another window while the "add to cart" button and other items are still in the viewer's sight.
__ Another idea to make the page look more esthetically appealing is to center the "Login Information" table (by nesting it within a larger table) and transfer over your great-looking logo from the first page to the top of this page. By placing your logo on each page, it will help add "uniformity" to your site. I think this site is fun and catagorized in an easy to follow fashion.
Maureen Tereza

* WD&R Comments: All good observations, Maureen. Thank you very much for your input.
Overall we found the site to be
__ It's becoming a real problem these days with so many money-hungry ecommerce sites -- it seems to be a free-for-all in terms of interface design. The customer use pattern and procedure of a shopping cart is probably the most demanding of all user interface challenges. This one we didn't care too much for. But we're not going to pick on just these folks.
__ Anyone who deals in shopping carts needs to do a lot of hard research to build a cart that works for their product line. The biggest problem is, so many ISPs and Portal sites are offering canned or stock shopping carts hoping on dragging in as many users as possible just for the revenue. Did you ever try to put a square peg in a round hole? That's how we feel trying to fit a product into a cookie-cutter shopping cart.
__ Take the lead from the big boys: we recommend that if you're going to have a shopping cart, study and emulate the most popular sites on the web, say, Amazon.com. If it didn't work, they wouldn't be doing it, right? The important point here is to build an ecommerce transaction interface that is at least similar to what the surfer might already be used to. That way there aren't nearly as many possible snags in a smooth flowing transaction.
__ Yes, Maureen we do agree with a need for continuity through the use of the logo. But we would rather advise against nested tables. This technique is akin to frames and can cause some problems if not very carefully crafted.

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