Latest UX tips and tricks with Matt Isherwood author of ‘Designing eCommerce Websites’ (episode 220)

Matt Isherwood is the author of “Designing eCommerce Websites – 66 Guidelines, A UX Design handbook for Great Online Shops”.

Over the years Matt’s worked at the BBC and onefinestay, and now specialises in working with growing startups.

If this all sounds a little familiar… it’s because back in 2017 we had Matt on the show (episode 111) to talk about the first edition of the book. Now in edition 2 it’s grown from 54 guidelines to 66! So well worth getting your hands on edition 2.

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Design Online Experiences

Matt is a UX designer, working mostly with start-ups and a select few larger clients.

As a UX designer, Matt focuses on how to make websites resonate with brand messaging and style but more importantly with how users interface with them. As part of his design process, Matt will typically study how users behave when they are using a client’s website. Using that evidence based information, Matt will then redesign the site, optimizing and tweaking what wasn’t working for customers in real time.

Matt’s book is a good starting point for designing a great eCommerce site. Extensive references also make it a great jumping off point for people who want to go deeper.

What’s New?

Since the 1st edition publication of his book, Matt says two things have come to the forefront in terms of evolution—mobile and video. For 2019, Matt says getting caught up in these two areas will help ensure your businesses web presence stays sharp.


In addition to connecting with mobile devices in a near constant state, consumers are beginning to become more and more comfortable making purchases on a mobile platform. Matt shares some of his top mobile tips:

  1. More expensive or complex products and products that require a high level of customization and are typically a one off purchase will convert at a much higher rate on desktops. On the other hand, cheaper goods like clothing have conversion rates equaling out or even tipping in favor of Mobile.
  2. Integrated payment systems like Apple Pay can help make mobile a preferred option for users who like a streamlined checkout experience.
  3. Minimizing the number of taps (or clicks for desktop users) to get a customer through to checkout is crucial for conversion.


The role of video in eCommerce is growing significantly. And retailers are paying attention. More businesses are trying to incorporate video into their content. Matt is a fan, but warns that it’s important it be done properly. His tips for creating compelling video content:

  1. Simple videos that answer a specific question or need and have high value content will be more important in 2019 than ever before.
  2. The best videos are specific to where they live on the website and to what they are trying to do. Homepage videos for instance, should be quick loops—as little as 15-20 seconds. Product detail pages on the other hand are a great place for more detailed videos.
  3. Any click on a website represents some level of commitment from the user. Matt points out that taking that leap can be harder, so indicating the length of video content can put people at ease and get more people clicking.

Listen to learn Matt’s top tips for optimizing the online retail customer experience in  2019

Order Confirmation Pages

Even though they are typically last on the list—a well designed order confirmation page can save businesses a lot of potential headache in the customer service department. Matt says that paying attention to what customers are complaining about will help smooth over issues that are likely to crop up down the line if they don’t get nipped in the bud.

Businesses should think of the order confirmation page as an opportunity to reassure the customer about their purchase. Everyone second guesses themselves occasionally and the opportunity to let a customer see any mistake straight away not only streamlines customer service questions but provides a good deal of comfort. When you are ready to design your order confirmation page, the best approach is to brainstorm the major customer service complaints and design the page to specifically address those concerns.

Delivery Options

With people working longer areas and workplaces getting fed up with receiving so much personal mail, people are more regularly opting for pick-up or delivery to a third party location. Matt recommends waiting until your customer is in the basket stage before presenting that option. He points out the potential problems come up if those options are presented earlier.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Create great and consistent content. While the returns may take more time, the SEO benefits will build up for people willing to have enough discipline to create and post regular content.

Tool Top Tip

  • Wunderlist – simple to do list app that toggles easily between mobile and desktop.

Growth Top Tip

  • UX Design! If you haven’t done it, run a user test to see how people are spending time on your site in real time.  Stop functioning on your assumptions and get real data.

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