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Growing desire for e-commerce functionality

UK web designers are increasingly required to include e-commerce functionality in the sites they build for small business clients, according to research published by software company Actinic.

Between 2003 and 2004, the percentage of sites built by web designers that included e-commerce functionality rose from 17 per cent to 23 per cent.

In the same period, the average price charged by a web designer to build an online store for a client fell from £3,825 in 2003, to £2,293 in 2004.

This downward pressure on pricing may be related to a move towards in-house development by medium-sized companies, with smaller businesses becoming increasingly important to web designers.

Chris Barling, Actinic's CEO, said: "The proportion of websites enabled for online selling has really shot up compared with last year. As the market both gets bigger and more competitive, it is important for designers to keep costs down and deployment speed up."

The research also shows that, overall, web designers agree that e-commerce packages allow you to develop online stores faster and easier.

While Microsoft .Net is still the single preferred server technology for most web designers building online stores, its popularity has declined by 14 per cent since last year, to 34 per cent.

Taken together, UNIX-based operating systems - including Linux - overtook Microsoft-based systems as the e-commerce platform of choice among web designer, rising to 40 per cent.

Macromedia Dreamweaver remains the most popular site-building tool, used by over 80 per cent of web designers.

Chris Lamle, of Northstar Design, said: "With the growing pressure on web designers to deliver more for less, I foresee continued growth in the use of packaged solutions in order to maximise time and cost efficiencies."

Sources: Actinic, The Register

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