A large number of web shops exist today, but it remains a question how effective these web shops are, i.e. realize a significant increase of profit by selling products and/or services on a global scale. Some of the reasons for not being effective are identified to be the struggle of a small to medium business to achieve a strong brand identity in addition to the use of obsolete technology, bad design choices, complex navigation and the fact that no project plan was followed in order to design the web shop. A business that is not accurately or completely reflected on the web may result in a poor outcome. In this research, we aimed at providing means that can help small to medium businesses to set up a well defined web shop that correctly reflects their business.
Web design methodologies can contribute to the proper design of a web site, i.e. content categorization, content representation, navigation and structure of a web site, by collecting and modeling all the necessary information and functionality which need to be included in a web site. Therefore, applying a specific methodology to design a web shop, can lead to a better web shop and as a result allows to achieve its objectives better. This thesis suggests that the audience driven Web Semantics Design methodology (WSDM) which has as a priority the target users, in combination with a Web Content Management System (WCMS) framework can produce an efficient and practical solution for designing web shops which will come closer to achieving their goals. On the one side, the WSDM design methodology will guide the developer through the steps of user classification, requirement specification, information modeling and navigational design, all of which are important factors contributing to a good design. On the other side, a Web Content Management System will facilitate the implementation of the design into the virtual representation of the business without necessarily requiring from the developer any level of programming awareness.