---- Why don't shopping carts have usability built in ?
rachel123 - 3:36 pm on Sep 21, 2009 (gmt 0)
@louponne Not entirely sarcastic. I was trying to make this point:
If you see a light at the end of the tunnel and somehow you've been able to see a solution you just might have found a great market opportunity! I'm serious, you might have seen a new way to approach the solution so study it.
The store/cart I have built is _very_ simple and there's no way I have the resources to complete it with all the fancy features a good cart needs nowadays. However, it has very good usability :) It's extremely easy to manage the products, orders, etc. Now, I know that part of the reason that the usability is good is because the app I have built is extra-simple. But still...
You are already looking at the problem. If you were to add features, where would you put them? Would they clutter your interface? Or would they be installed separately? If installed separately, is the process for installing them intuitive? How do I get from here to there? Where do I find the instructions for using the new feature?
The programming task to make a viable open source cart user-friendly (nebulous idea!)is more complex than you make it out to be in your OP.
If a feature is missing, you can add it. However, if the usability is bad, it's not ... usable.
You can add features, you're a developer. Many store owners don't have that expertise. But they can play around and learn an interface, even if it's so horribly laid out it makes their eyes bleed.
Honestly, in the apps I've used, I've never had a problem figuring out how to manage products and categories, and few clients have either. More often the difficulties lie in customization of advanced features or in web design/incorporating the cart into existing web design.
Whenever you are investing time and money into a new open source project you are taking a risk. Perhaps the investment will pay off. Perhaps not. I think the focus is more on feature lists than gui right now, because the feature list is what is going to attract users. No one knows what the user interface is like until they install, and they install because of the feature list.
A greenhorn cannot do the same without a programmer's help and might not be able to foresee issues with one cart over another and chooses one based on either someone elses input (like a programmer's or website designers), price, or because the closed their eyes and took a guess. (Gosh I'm tired of cleaning up these messes.)
:) This is one of the places where my thinking is backwards and I know it. I am scared of the big red "Easy" button for shopping carts. The intimidation factor of the interfaces at least sometimes prompts a greenie to call a programmer/designer from the get-go. I make money and they avoid a mess.
And after all that, I think you may be right, and the open source apps may really focus on intuitive interfaces soon. But if you want it, don't wait for them to do it. Open source moves slow. :)