How Your Caveman Brain Reacts to Great eCommerce Custom Design
A Case Study in Four 1Digital Agency eCommerce Redesigns
When laying out a modern eCommerce custom design, our experienced eCommerce designers take their cues on how to build a homepage from tribes of prehistoric hunter-gathers. Well… kind of. In 1999, two anthropologists by the name of Pirolli and Card developed the Information Foraging Theory while working for the PARC research and development center in Palo Alto, California. They proposed that web user behavior is not so dissimilar from the strategies adopted by our ancestors when hunting for food. Our brains are sensitized to our intentions, meaning that our perception is skewed to identify information related to our goals and filter out the information that does not pertain to those goals. In this way, it can be said that the user on your website is foraging for the information related to the product that they already want to purchase. They are using the same information gathering tactics that their ancient ancestor might have developed to forage for the species of berries which wouldn’t poison them.
Think about walking into a crowded bar to meet a friend who is already there. You know what your friend looks like. He is male, tall, skinny, wearing glasses and has dark hair. As you scan the crowd, you are already unconsciously discounting everyone your eyes pass over that does not have those characteristics, and focusing in on everyone who does, to check them further. This process of selection is Information Foraging. Your brain is automatically zeroing in on a few options out of many based on what you know your intention is.
It’s our goal, as eCommerce designers, to give every store, no matter the industry, a strong Information Scent. Information scent describes a clear path of cues within the design elements that signal to the user that they are moving closer to their goal. In this case study, I’ll use four examples of 1Digital’s eCommerce custom redesigns to illustrate the two major types of eCommerce design, Product Heavy Design and Experience Heavy Design, how each of these types of sites should be laid out, and how information scent is used in both categories to create highly effective eCommerce custom design.
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