Car Design Page

October 3, 2007

So our crack team of three founders have a ton of coding, Internet, used car, and entrepreneurial skills but we admittedly lack in one area that is rather critcal to a successful web company….design.  To this point, our lead (and when I say lead, I mean only) developer Eric has knocked out the majority of the design, other than the logo that Logoworks cranked out for us based on our other founder’s concept.  I think Eric has done a rather admirable job on the site and its very respectable for this stage.  That being said, each new design initiative is a major project for our team and takes many more man hours than if one of us had true design skills.  We drool over the Internet design by masters like Dan Cederholm, but we just don’t and probably won’t possess those kinds of design chops anytime soon

Our design “problem” creates some interesting discussion within our team as we have to even the balance between what changes are necessary design-wise compared to product development for less design centered ideas.  I thought the blog readers might find it interesting to see what we are currently debating in order to get a glimpse into what we are thinking/doing on a daily basis in addition to selling cars.

Every vehicle on our site has a Car Detail Page (CDP) that shows all of the details for each vehicle.  I have a personal affinity at the moment for the Range Rover Sport, and its CDP can be seen here: Land Rover Sport.  Eric will tell you that Range Rover’s are junk (he’s a Honda guy), but I love their look and would love to upgrade to one once I get rid of my Chevy Avalanche.  The CDP is an extremely crucial page on our site, maybe even more so than the homepage, as the majority of our traffic enters our site currently through CDP pages.  Many of our cars are listed on Craigslist and these cars link directly to their corresponding CDP’s.

Thus, we want the CDP to convert our traffic into qualified buyer leads.  We feel that our current CDP design is somewhat confusing for a few reasons.  The spacing below the pictures of the vehicle and the condition and option reports below it are way off and we’ve found that a lot of our visitors don’t ever realize that all of those juicy car facts are waiting for them if they scroll down the page.  Moreover, there is no sort of education about Evenlevel and someone unfamiliar with our site gets dropped into a CDP page and has no idea about how our process works or even where our used cars come from.  Additionally, if a customer gets to a CDP page for an expired vehicle, we’re not doing a sufficient job in telling them that the vehicle is in fact expired and then taking the next step and directing them to active vehicles that fit their search criteria.

All of the three founders have taken a crack at some form of the redesign and I started mine yesterday afternoon.  I spent about 4 hours on it and I think that another 3 or 4 hours of work today and I’ll have a version that I like…pending approval from the other two founders.  The worry is that we spend too much time on this and not enough time on other critical features.  But for the time being the CDP redesign is at the top of our list.  I’ll let everyone know once we’ve rolled out the latest version. With all of the creative energy going into the CDP, it is starting to feel like the car design page more than the car detail page.

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