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ETpro's avatar

Anyone know of a great looking Web site selling printers and printer supplies?

Asked by ETpro (34594points) August 4th, 2013

Research on how we use the Internet has shown that Web sites need to pass the 50 millisecond test. To save you from having to do the math, 50 milliseconds is just one twentieth of a second, the blink of an eye.

I just booked a job to give a much needed makeover. My rule of thumb in site’s design is that the graphics must do two things in that critical first 50 milliseconds. First, the page needs graphically to inform visitors of the site’s purpose. Second, it needs to build their trust that if they are looking for a site with that purpose, they have found the right one. Right one is a combination of confidence this is a trustworthy site, and that it is likely to have the exact item the visitor came there looking for.

But as I look around the Web at other online toner and printer stores, what I see is essentially graphics free. At the most, the big sites may have the logos for the various lines they carry; HP, Xerox, Dell, Lexmark, etc. Many don’t even bother with that, and show only a list of text links to brands or a series of drop down selection lists letting you choose your brand, printer model, and item desired. Clearly, ease of drilling down to the item one came for is vital. But reading can’t happen in 50 milliseconds. I still think I need to use a graphic to let visitors know what the site is all about.

Most of us have a printer. We occasionally shop for a new printer and routinely shop for supplies for the one we have. Do any of you have a favorite Web site supplying printers and toner cartridges and boasting a look that meets the 50 millisecond test? I’d greatly appreciate any links you might be able to provide.

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6 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Congrats ET.

I’ve used DTGWEB for over a decade. It’s fast enough for me.

I was going to get into some design improvement requesting categories for paper surfaces, but that’s not what you asked for.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Thanks. That’s a great resource. The people at want a fluid design that will work on anything from a handheld device like a smart phone up to a desktop with a huge monitor. It’s easy enough to do with CSS and widths declared in percentages, but not at all easy to make fluid designs graphically pleasing at widely differing screen resolutions. However the slider they have would be just the ticket. I could work in manufacturer logos collaged together with product photos there, show a wide slider on big screens and shrink it down to fit on small, handheld devices.

If your use of that site has brought design improvements to mind, I’m asking now. What were you hankering for?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I book marked this. The thing I find most frustrating about some websites is having to hunt for 20 minutes to find a freaking telephone number.

And I agree….Graphics are #1. I think Amazon does a good job with this. When I went looking for a computer desk the first hook was looks.. The second was price. The third was function, dimensions, etc. The fourth was customer reviews. If anyone of those had failed me I would have just moved on. But yes, the picture got me first.

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III Thanks. Fortunately, they have been in business for ages and have a ton of good reviews. So we’ll definitely show them.

funkdaddy's avatar

@ETpro – I don’t have a site unfortunately but wanted to suggest looking at Responsive Web Design concepts. (here’s a demo resize the screen to different widths), they solve some of the problems you’re outlining and finally have good enough browser support to be used on most sites.

There’s some great frameworks to make it easy

HTML5 Boilerplate – demo’d above
Foundation – linked to the sample templates they provide
Bootstrap – just updated to version 3, but that one’s not ready for prime time yet, I don’t think. Good stuff in the “old” version though.

ETpro's avatar

The demo is a pretty unacceptable compromise to me. I don’t like that the “Aside” jumps from the right column to the bottom of the page as the screen narrows. Something that needs to be in that prime eyeball location needs to stay there.

Here’s a site I did 8 years ago. Without any razzle-dazzle code, it looks reasonably decent and scrunches to fit small screens just fine. Also, since this is a Yahoo! Store, I have a whole set of externally imposed constraints.

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