Your assertion that people don’t care what it looks like is one to be taken with a grain of salt. Given two competitors, the one with the more-usable site will win; that factor being equal, the one with the more-attractive site will win.
“Good will”:http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=good+will counts for something, sometimes a lot, and acquiring it is cheap in terms of return on investment. Meanwhile, people miss that point because the development of good will is all capital investment, all the time - in the form of better-trained CSR’s, excellent designers, more-skilled project managers, and all of the overhead those talents require. A stakeholder on a cost-cutting mission won’t go there, because the payback develops over time and is difficult-to-impossible to measure.
At the same time, there are teams that have ineffective project management, and the stakeholder winds up smiling, nodding, and signing off on the engineers’ work - no matter how craptacular it may be with regard to usability - because he doesn’t know any better.
There are two extremes to the problem. I ignored the extreme at the engineering end of the scale because it was out of scope - I was following up on a well-defined problem laid out in my previous article.
Obviously, a place like Amazon needs to hew to the LCD. ThinkGeek does not. This is simply one of the more stark contrasts, but there are others like it.
“E-commerce needs to be usable by everyone” is not automatically a true statement.
That said, there are usability concepts in e-commerce that benefit all potential users:
# Minimize steps and obstacles between the start of the session and the purchase. (Yes, this can be done across multiple user objectives and session scenarios.)
# Ensure that the visitor’s shopping cart is visible at all times.
# Allow removals and additions to be conducted with a mouse alone.
# Respect the customer’s intelligence, but don’t assume they’re a genius, either.
# Ensure that all content is quickly legible, within reason (a subnotebook such as the machine on which I’m writing this comment can easily be declared an edge case, for example).
These are not respected without attention to specific aspects of user experience; template-filling, this is not!