The first step in developing any eCommerce application is to interview the user base to generate a list of features to be included in the application. This comprises the important input for defining the capabilities of the application.
There are two sets of users of shopping cart applications: site administrators and end users who purchase items using their Web browsers. After interviewing end users and administrators, application requirements such as the following may be generated.
End User Requirements
End user features that facilitate the enjoyment of Internet shopping might include the following:
- Users should be able to use the eCommerce application from any Web browser supporting HTML 3.2 (or later) and cookies.
- Visitors new to the site should be able to register by themselves. Users will be differentiated by unique user identifiers.
- Transactions should be secure. That is, a basic authentication mechanism must be built into the application to prevent unauthorized persons from making transactions on a user's behalf. Secure socket layers (SSL) or other encryption mechanisms are typically used to thwart the access of sensitive information (such as credit card numbers) sent to the server by Web browsers.
- Site visitors should be able to purchase goods or services via the electronic store.
- Users should be able to view a complete list of specified items available through the site.
- Users should be able to search for items by related attributes. For example, visitors might search for CDs by artist, album title and/or genre or search for books by author, title and/or ISBN number.
- Site visitors should be able to search the database using relevant keywords to identify items of interest.
- Users should be able to select items of interest and add them to their shopping carts for future purchase.
- Visitors should be able to modify the quantities of items in and/or delete items from their shopping carts before checkout.
- All selected items should be shipped to the user following purchase.
- Users should be able to view the status of items they have ordered.
- Large numbers of users should be able to use the application simultaneously.
- The performance of the application should not degrade with an increase in the number of goods or services offered.
Administrators who manage the site have specific requirements of their own.
- Administrators should be able to manage eCommerce applications using Web browsers.
- Data managers should be able to delete users.
- Site administrators should be able to change the status of goods purchased by users after items have been shipped.
- Administrators should be able to view all user transactions.
- Site managers should be able to view all transactions for the day.