User experience (UX) can make or break an ecommerce site’s success. User interface drives customer experience, so if a customer gets confused by a poor design, you have effectively sent a message to your customer that coming back to you will be a bad experience.
For that reason, webmasters should always hold UX to a high standard when designing and deploying code. High-end, sleek UX designs need a good backbone, and that’s where hosting comes into play. With good hosting, your designer can go crazy with the latest graphics, CSS and jQuery coding, and there’s no need to worry about server performance.
Scalability During Traffic Spikes
Most website traffic is seasonal. For instance, if the site sells swimwear, chances are there won’t be much traffic in the winter, but summers will bring a spike in traffic. Black Friday shoppers will slam a server’s performance — if the site owner isn’t ready for the influx of shoppers. So what can a webmaster do? For starters, buy expensive equipment that runs all-year-round — or use an ecommerce host with cloud capabilities that scale up and down with seasonal traffic.
Scalability is essential for UX. Customers expect sleek, high resolution images for each product. These images take a toll on server resources. When traffic spikes occur, the server must be able to handle thousands of requests an hour. The webmaster scales up during these traffic spikes and scales down when paying for resources is no longer necessary. In some cases, the web host has safeguards against traffic spikes and automatically scales up when the servers detect a high traffic payload.
A responsive design is critical for ecommerce mobile shoppers. Mobile shopping sales have doubled over the past few years, and the rise in mobile shoppers continues to increase as mobile technology advances. A responsive design means the website UX scales for the user’s device. This means that a tablet user can view the design on an 11” screen in the same way a desktop user can view the design on a 30” screen.
Mobile shopping can no longer be disregarded as a shopping venue, and responsive design depends on the host as well. The host must be able to support the different coding technologies that allow a fast design to render on a mobile device. For instance, jQuery is critical for mobile development, but it can also slow performance. A reputable cloud host lets you place jQuery files in a CDN for faster performance. Such a host also lets you cache jQuery files, which greatly improves response time.
Security is of the upmost importance for customers, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood parts of running an ecommerce store. It’s the site owner’s responsibility to secure user data, offer SSL encryption, and encrypt sensitive stored data such as credit cards for PCI compliance. With a reputable cloud computing host, the site owner can put security in the hands of a capable support team.
This doesn’t mean the ecommerce store owner won’t have some responsibility in securing user data. However, if there is any question on security and customer data, the cloud team helps educate and mold the site owner towards following specific security standards on the web. The cloud team also keeps the nasties out with the latest firewall and attack-detection software.
An ecommerce hosting provider that supports a creative UX design will help define the success of your website. With great performance backing that slick UX design, the ecommerce store owner can worry about sales and not server hardware.
Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for eCommerce hosting provider Rackspace Hosting.