In a bold move to offer its customers the ultimate e-commerce experience, kalahari.net has embraced a new web design philosophy called User-Centred Design.
This major shift in methodology sees South Africa’s pioneering online retailer placing a renewed focus on the site’s user experience.
The ongoing process will ultimately result in a new look design, the first itineration of which is now live on their website.
This process is being spearheaded by the newly appointed head of product and design for kalahari.net, Rian van der Merwe, an eBay veteran in User Experience Design, previously based out of San Francisco.
“kalahari.net has experienced dramatic growth and its visitors are becoming increasingly web-savvy. Our shift in methodology was prompted by our desire to offer kalahari.net shoppers the ultimate online shopping experience," says Van der Merwe.
"User-Centred Design is gaining traction globally because it has proven time and again that it makes websites easier to use, which of course makes customers happy. Simply put, we’re optimising our service around the needs and goals of shoppers, instead of forcing them to change their behaviour to accommodate us."
He moves on to explain that User-Centred Design is a systematic design process that goes beyond the creation of pretty visuals, to deliver real customer and business benefits.
“The new kalahari.net will make it easier to see, browse, find and buy from our extensive catalogue of approximately 13-million products.
"Initial changes to the design include new navigation, cleaner pages and a renewed focus on implementing the site based on web industry standards, which has many benefits – such as faster page loading,” he continues.
“The user experience field in South Africa is still very much in its infancy, but we’re finally starting to see more product managers and designers focused on this area.
"I’m excited about the talented product and design team we’re building at kalahari.net, and I’d love to see more designers join in the conversation that the local user experience community is having on Twitter, at local meetups, and so on.
"We need to spread these ideas so that more local companies can start incorporating user experience design methods into their everyday work," he advises.
As a consumer champion, kalahari.net endeavours to consistently offer value for money and consumer choice through the wide range of products available on the site.
“Yes, competitive pricing and our product mix are as vital to our success as they are to any retailer, but user experience is a pivotal element in the mix. It shouldn’t be ignored. Monitoring the user experience is an ongoing task and ultimately results in improved customer activity and retention,” concludes Van der Merwe.