Man at a desk wearing a button shirt showing his hand writing in a journal in front of a laptop that has what could be a product title, subtitle, and description on the screen

I see clients get this wrong all the time. It sounds so simple, but apparently it isn’t! As I work to figure this out, I’ll post my observations.

Here’s examples I’ve come across in client product catalogs:

When I bring this up, here’s excuses I get in response:

Here’s an official blog post with practical advice for product descriptions, which supports using short and long descriptions normally – short and long descriptions of the product they are looking at.

What should a short description be?

It should be between the size of a subheading and a small paragraph – one to three brief sentences. It may be a good idea to break sentences into separate paragraphs. If no data feeds are used (often required for advertisement networks) then a single bulleted list of no more than five points may be used.

If the theme or theme framework supports using the short description like an excerpt (displayed on shop page, categories and archives), then it clearly must fit that purpose.

There can be stand-in(s) for the short description. An alternative I’ve come across is one or more custom field being used for the short description, or using categories, tags, or product attributes as means of highlighting the overview information. That seems unnecessary, but could come in handy for themes or theme frameworks that provide better design controls with these, or on sites which contain historic data that we’d rather not bother merging.

Let’s ponder a user story:

So is it worth a short description taking up valuable space on the page?

Absolutely! This provides a high level description of a product secondary to its name and price. It commonly sits adjacent to the product title, price and the add-to-cart area.

For example; if a product’s technical name is “SuperBiotic Plus 30” then its short description could be “Our flagship pro-biotic supplement in a 30-day supply bottle”.

Coming-up: Product images and the three that every product must have!