Shopify store UX and mobile speed.

WordPress Mobile Speed

Updated: December 2019


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While we’re not selling jewels, the Shopify aesthetic at Awe grabbed our attention. The UX and speed leave a lot to be desired, but the feeling is good enough to make up for it.

Is it a cliché store design? Yeah. But that may be the expectation. If you get too creative (expressive noise), you won’t make sales (confusion of choices). People can’t find things when convention isn’t followed.

Four sample web pages from Awe ecommerce:

1. above ABOUT PAGE

2. above CATALOG PAGE

3. above HOMEPAGE

4. above PRODUCT PAGE

This site is a common Shopify example. They throw millions of bucks making their services fast loading. But silly designers still slow down Shopify pages with apathy. It could load in under 1 second. Instead, instead it’s 3 seconds. Is that horrible?

It depends upon the audience. If they are a mobile audience – YES. It’s a waste of bandwidth from being careless or apathetic about speed strategy. Speed is the first hurdle to a good user experience. UX is about hospitality.

UX observations of these Shopify pages:

COLOR

Color is the biggest influence of quality and habitat cuing after speed. “Does it feel good to be here?” The large images set an elegant mood with female lifestyle inference. They use white space and solid colors. Elegant themes generally have higher usage of blacks and metallic colors. We could say tan is gold with no reflections and gray is silver with no glint – and that is believable. It has a blackish footer. We’ll judge this site theme as elegant. It looks like their specialty is gold and silver – so that works.

Sliders

Sliders don’t work unless they tell a story. A single non-moving image is better. Is this a picture story? We can’t tell – but we guess not. Mere glamour shots. The slider was “present” and the designers couldn’t resist not filling it. We’ve written about this:

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/what-slider-is-the-fastest-loading/

And this caustic collection in this free PDF format:
http://pagepipe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/sliders.pdf

Some core web UX philosophy: Avoid sliders unless they tell a captioned 3- or 4-panel story. The imagery better be good. No image links. No rollover pause control. This flub disables the story – a negative feature.

Almost always, we’re anti-animation. No moving parts on a web page. Why? Have you ever tried to read a page with a fly walking around on it? Distraction.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t experimented with motion. But the attention trickery is usually a UX failure.

These pages have minimal animation – but no animation is good. It’s often a content-cramming ploy.

HERO IMAGES

Our reference about building big hero images that are fast loading:

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/the-fastest-alternatives-to-heavy-jpeg-images-for-page-speed/

There won’t be a test. So skim them.

LOGO

Logos are overrated. We like the simplistic classic balance of this clever logotype. Clever is usually badness. No icon or symbol wasting space in the header. That’s good.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/why-changing-your-logo-wont-save-your-web-business/

NAVBAR

We’re not in love with double layer navigation bars. Bad UX. One or the other gets ignored. It’s a trend or a fad. Is it a solution? It shoves everything down the page a little further. Vertical waste is negative. We don’t like the dropdown menus that cover content. Is there no alternative?

IMAGE SWAPS

Do we like the gimmicky photo image swaps on rollover? No. It’s hiding the content. It may be cleaner but it doesn’t promote product understanding. We’d rather have a magnifier show product detail.

POPUP

Do we like the annoying signup popup offer? Nope.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/faster-and-free-alternative-to-optinmonster-wordpress-plugin/

They’d have better UX with static signup in the footer or embedded in the body content. And faster-loading pages, too.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/speed-up-mailchimp-for-fastest-loading-wordpress/

CHAT

The coolness feature of the day. Iron boat anchor and it’s live in a few minutes. We tested it. It says Jill will answer but Sharon did (Screener of Incoming Calls?) and she’s a real person. This costs money. She disappeared for 25 minutes when we asked her location and if she worked for Shopify. And she promised to “answer any & all questions.” Disappointment.

But usually chat is fake.

Then Real Jill came online and said she was the only one in the office on the holiday and was swamped. Now that’s the real story. We told her she deserved a raise.

REFERENCE: http://pagepipe.com/dumping-livechat-for-speed/

Is Shopify bulletproof?

No. You can easily overbuild slow sites there, too.

Godspeed-

Steve Teare
performance engineer

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