Next topic: Selecting Colors, Backgrounds, and Borders
Returning to our discussion of using color to build your brand, the color scheme you choose for your eBay listings (and consequentially, your eBay Store) plays a major part in developing a strong online presence. If you use eBay´s Listing Designer or the templates offered from third-party listing services, you´ll find that they all come with a variety of options for choosing background colors and border designs. They make it easy to incorporate your design theme and color scheme into every listing. Think of your signature color and the logo you´ve designed when browsing the options available in these listing services, and choose a style that complements your brand image.
When designing pages, you want to make a template background selection that won´t compete with the items that you´re selling. As you browse the designs available, note that many template designs use borders with cute or clever designs of baby blocks, flowers, and other themed images. While it may be tempting to use these designs, make sure that your customers´ attention remains focused on the item you´re selling. You don´t want to distract them with a busy border or patterned background. If you choose a fairly neutral template with a solid background and simple borders, you´ll be able to use it for all your listings, adding to the desired consistency of design that builds brand identity.
"Above the fold" is an old newspaper journalism term that has been reappropriated in the Web design world. Think of the way that the most important headlines and photos are laid out on the newspaper front page to fit above the horizontal crease. This allows the viewer to see as much essential information and images as possible in a single view. In Web design, above the fold refers to the amount of the Web page the user views on the screen without having to scroll down. For eBay listings, keeping important information above the fold is particularly important. You want your potential customers to get as much information as possible within a single view of the screen.
When you go into any eBay item listing page, the view you´ll immediately see above the fold is eBay´s own information with the title, item number, seller information, and bidding information.
Just as newspaper readers are less likely to continue reading a story that goes below the fold, the same holds true for scrolling and eBay customers. Remember that it´s as easy for a potential customer to click off your site as it is for him to scroll all over your page. You want to keep his attention on your item until he has become engaged in what you´re selling. You need to do everything in your power to keep his hand off that mouse until he´s ready to click the bid button.
One of the inherent flaws in using the standard eBay sell form is that the layout places the text first and images at the bottom. Buyers find it irritating to have to scroll down to the bottom to see pictures of the item. And when they have to do so, the seller also runs the risk of the dreaded "click factor." Using HTML to embed photos into the item description partially solves this problem but tends to increase the necessity for the user to scroll down even more.
The best solution to this problem is to utilize tables in your item listing. An HTML table allows you to lay out your item listing with images and text side by side. eBay´s Listing Designer and other third-party listing design tools all offer the table option. Table usage is Web-standard practice. If you hire someone to custom design a template, you should be sure that she includes HTML tables in your listing templates.
Tables increase the usability of your listing. With the effective layout technique, potential customers can see the images and read the description at the same time, with minimal scrolling and clicking. It´s the combination of the visual cue of the image with the information of text that keeps the viewer engaged with your listing. This prevents boredom and click-aways and inspires purchases.
Naturally, some eBay listings end up being longer than a single scroll of the screen. This is where it becomes important to determine a hierarchy of your information-in other words, present the most important information first, followed by extra details, and then your conditions of sale.
Bear in mind the importance of creating a hierarchy of information so that the most persuasive text and images stay above the fold.