SOUQ.com is an e-commerce site serving the Middle East region. It has been called the “Amazon of the Middle East” and like Amazon it serves as both a retail site and an online marketplace, where third-party vendors offer a variety of products in a competitive environment based on price, selection and availability.

The project management team realized they needed to focus on the user experience design in order to align business goals and the experience of both its users and its sellers. For the sake of brevity we focused on the product page and how we might design a better experience for the millions of daily users at souq.com.

Project overview

I was asked to consider the product page as a design exercise. So I will frame this review with two assumptions typical of this page type.
As a user:

I want to learn more about this product to determine whether it fits my budget, needs and preferences. I want to purchase a product.

And as a stakeholder:

We want to increase the number of add-to-carts relative to page views for the product detail page.

During the UX design process I:

  • Completed a heuristic evaluation of the current product page with and emphasis on:
    • Task orientation;
    • Information architecture;
    • Design consistency and UI standards
  • Developed high-fidelity wireframes depicting the functional layout and userflows to illustrate user experience improvements and enhancements
Add confirmation wireframe

Be helpful

Here are some of the suggested improvements based on my heuristic evaluation to meet our goals:

Multiple opportunities. The new information architecture and user flow would present cross-selling opportunities soon and group relevant, related content together using a better balance of information density and white space, and overall more white space. By presenting cross-selling items a lot soon ( thinking “Related products”, “Recently viewed”, etc. ) we would increase conversion rates by prioritizing those items and reducing the importance of Reviews for those looking to others for more product information.

Information design. Changes to the IA would present useful information to the user a lot sooner. Better organization of content and consistency across different page types would help reduce any cognitive load issues and offer information to the user when it’s needed.

Support. All information related to customer support is hidden at the bottom of the site. Live Chat or placing a contact number would help to increase trust between user and provider, and could influence shopping behavior.

Text for support ( and payments ) makes sense in this context. Factor SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application in the world, with 2.4 billion out of 3.3 billion phones[1] and the highest penetration in emerging markets, here’s a chance to capitalize on behavior commonly used in the region. Again an opportunity to build trust and engagement, like having a trusted friend on the other end of a SMS to answer your product related questions.

Outcome

This was an excellent design exercise. We had the opportunity to improve and refine the usability and experience of a well-traveled, global site with both the user and the business goals in mind. As this was a super specific review, it was still easy to go down multiple avenues of research and to question the influence changes to this type of page would have on other parts of the user flow, like optimizing the missing “Item added to cart” confirmation page by adding cross-selling opportunities.

Thanks for visiting.