Paul Rouke
Founder & Director of Optimisation
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21st Feb 2011

3 min

Recently I was very privileged to be asked to provide some industry commentary for an article which was to be printed in an Internet Retailing supplement going in the Sunday Telegraph.

Click the cover to view the full supplement as a PDF.
Internet Retailing Supplement Cover

The 16 page supplement was published on 20th February 2011 and features articles on the following:

  • Retail opportunities in the age of the multichannel customer (pg 2) – Ian Jindal, Editor in Chief at Internet Retailing
  • Switching on to mobile retailing (pg 4) – David Smith, Managing Director at IMRG
  • The importance of good website design (pg 5) – by me, inc. comments from Max Childs from Scene7
  • Good service: its all in the delivery (pg 6) – Garry Farwell, Head of Supply Chain, Royal Mail Marketing
  • Going multichannel: builing around the brand (page eight) – Jonathon Brown, Head of Online Selling at John Lewis
  • Making your online security pay (pg 10) – John Wilson, Editor of
  • Getting to know you: consumer insight (pg 12) – Neil Mason from Foviance


Below is an extract from the article I contributed to, including 3 key tips for retailers.

Paul Rouke's commentary on the importance of good website design

When a retailer or brand comes to design their website, thinking about the needs of the end user is of paramount importance.

If you’re a retailer, the question isn’t: ‘Do you have a website?’ It’s: ‘What kind of website do you
have?’ In 2011, after all, a brand without an online presence isn’tjust unthinkable. It’s suicidal.
Paul Rouke is from PRWD, a consultancy which provides a range of usability services for websites, intranets and business systems.

“A well-developed retail website, which has been developed with the end-consumer in mind, has the ability to transform a business,” he says.

Good experience
And this, ultimately, is the key point: end consumers should never be underestimated. “End consumers are the most important part of website design,” says Paul. “However good your website looks, it might fail when it comes to being a good experience for them.” The best way to overcome this is through ‘user-centred’ design: i.e., involving the people who will be accessing the site right from the start of the design process, via market research and focus groups, etc.

Top tips for retailers

1. Think like an end user
Whatever your site sells, you need to understand the requirements of your end users from the very start of the design process — so undertake focus group and market research, etc. Otherwise, you may encounter issues after the design process has been completed

2. Learn from your rivals
Undertake competitor analysis. No doubt there will be existing retailers in your industry selling online; and, potentially, there may be a number of things you can learn from them.

3. Define usability goals
Ask yourself about the different goals your consumers have. Some will be looking to find an item as quickly and as efficiently as possible and make a purchase. Others will want inspiration and ideas and be able to compare products side by side. Others will want to log-in and check the status of their order.

Finally, a quick thanks to Ian Pollard, Account Manager at RedEye International, for locating the pdf of the supplement.

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