Visual artist e-commerce site redesign
A redesigned Doug Naugle Fine Art website launched in August 2012.
The artist and I worked together to solved several usability issues for site visitors as well as content management issues for the site owner.
Visitors were confused at how they could buy prints of Doug’s paintings, and they did not understand the difference between the “Store” and “Gallery.” Paintings were duplicated across the site with no easy way to move from the gallery to the store.
Also, the e-commerce plugin that was being used on the site was bulky and difficult to understand. Visitors were bypassing the store completely and contacting Doug directly about how to buy original artworks and prints. Doug needed a simpler e-commerce solution.
Doug wasn’t blogging. He uses Twitter and Facebook much more often to share his work. He needed an easy way to share his photos. He also wanted it to be easy for his visitors to share his art.
I removed both the store and the gallery and moved all paintings into one project gallery managed by a single custom post type, so site visitors only had one place to view artworks.
I removed the e-commerce plugin. Sales of artworks are now handled through Gravity Forms and a plugin that enables the site to plug directly into PayPal. The custom, dynamic form allows visitors to choose the size and quality, then it calculates the price and shipping, and sends the information to PayPal to complete the transaction. Doug receives notifications in both the dashboard management and his email.
Because of the delicate nature of original artworks, I created a form specifically for those interested in purchasing the original art. The artwork only displays the form if the original is still available for sale.
I updated the WordPress theme in order to use custom post types. The post type “project” manages all artworks, and Doug only needs to manage his works in one place. In order to simplify content management further, all artworks are displayed using preset featured image sizes, so Doug just uploads an image and saves the project. There’s no need to insert the image into a post.
I created a number of meta fields in each post type to help Doug manage his artworks. Meta information records the artwork’s title, size, medium, price, and whether the original artwork is still available for purchase.
In order to help Doug easily share his work across social platforms, I replaced some old social sharing plugins with one — AddThis, and put tracking in place so we can see how visitors are using the tools.
I put sharing tools on each artwork that allow the visitor to choose which social site they want to share the art on. I advised Doug to set up a Pinterest account, and showed him how to share his art on that platform and gain visibility.