website design

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OK, this is a two-fold post, as I take issue with the website, which is my usual, but this time I add in frustration over the actual product design.

The first issue is with the website. I received an Instagram ad for Bird Collective and I went to their site to look at their offerings. I immediately liked the state birding t-shirts, but soon found a big issue.

The top 3 shirts in the screenshot below have a hero image showing the BACK of the shirt! The 3 shirts below have images showing the front.

This is incredibly confusing and inconsistent. A clothing company showing different angles of the same type of product is breaking a cardinal rule of product presentation.

OK, so onto the actual shirts. Why is Bird Collective showing the backs of some shirts and the fronts of others?

Because those cute state-themed shirts have this on the front:


Why.

Why does anyone make a cool shirt and put the cool stuff on the back? Bird people are INTO birds, so I don’t think they would take issue with the reason you would buy this shirt being on the front.

In addition, “New Jersey Birding” is not a group you can join, that isn’t a logo that would make sense. It’s just there.

Also, what is the additional cost of printing on both sides? I imagine it would have been cheaper to produce tees only printed on the front.

This is a huge miss. If anyone reading this knows why this would be done, please comment or tweet me and let me know.

In conclusion, here are my recommendations for Bird Collective.

  • Find a way to sell the state-themed shirts that is more up-front about the fact that the majority of the design is on the back.
    • Create a hero image that indicates that the main design is on the back
  • Rethink the design of the state-themed shirts for future production. Identify why the design was created that way to begin with. The other shirts on the site are not printed on multiple sides so switching the state-themed shirts over for future production runs should be considered.

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I’ve become more acquainted with Wayfair since purchasing a house last year. Recently, I was drawn in by an email promising me deep discounts on area rugs.

It worked and within minutes, my husband and I had chosen a rug for the living room and I started the checkout process.

It wasn’t long before I got to entering my payment information. You’ll understand my surprise at seeing this choice of font in the space for me to choose the expiration dates for my credit card.

What is even happening. Every other font on their website is clear and easy to read. Why isn’t the font shown elsewhere in this screenshot also in these dropdown menus?

I was shocked by this and immediately took this screenshot.

Then I got my confirmation email…

It is unreadable. I work in e-commerce for a store that isn’t even close to being as big as Wayfair, and I find myself feeling lots of sympathy for what HAS to be a mistake. It is a mistake, right?

I don’t know if it is possible that my browser is using this font as a replacement for another one, I almost hope so, but still, this is massively frustrating.

I’ll be sure to send a tweet to Wayfair about this – and hope that someone else has already noticed this issue.

UPDATE – They might have had someone else already report this issue, as my shipping email looked much better! I hope this means that they got the news that the other font was a mess.

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I discovered a strange anomaly today on the US Postal Service’s website, and had to share.

For business reasons, I had to research how to get an account to pay the post office for processing a business reply mail card.

I then got further down the page and found the forms to use in order to enroll in the program. Great.

The first form is a PDF. It is not set up so that complete it online, which is aggravating – although I guess it doesn’t really matter, because as you can see under the steps, I have to submit this IN THE ACTUAL MAIL. Now, I know this is the post office, but I just changed my personal address online without issue. I am stunned that this requires forms sent in the mail.

However, it got weirder when I clicked on the second link for the other form I had to complete to apply for an account.

The nice PDF from before is gone, replaced with this really unfortunate form. In addition, the only way to manage this is to fill it in online and then print it out and mail it in, with the previous form.

  1. Why are the fonts so many different sizes?
  2. The row numbers fields do not need to populate like this. It should offer one line, with an option to keep adding lines as necessary.
  3. Why isn’t this a PDF like the other form?

I then scrolled down and saw this:

This form hasn’t been updated since April of 2012. That explains a lot.

This is obviously a huge miss by the USPS. I am certain that fewer and fewer companies have needs for pre-paid mailings, but this is still a service that is offered, and should be dragged into slightly more modern times.

There are obviously major issues with inconsistency in how this process is designed. Here’s how I think it could go:

  1. One form encompassing all information they need to create a CAPS account.
  2. If they insist on the customer printing and mailing said form, it should be generating a PDF of the completed form, in a format that is easy to read and process by whoever is receiving the form and processing it at USPS.
  3. Or, they could just let people submit their applications online, which seems like a much smoother and faster option.

Let me know how you would fix this antiquated system on Twitter.

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DogTuff.com Design Issues | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 22, 2019

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My parents have a newish puppy, and when I visited recently, became acutely aware that the toughest toys ever are necessary for even a 12-pound Boston Terrier. More interest in finding toys that will take longer for him to destroy led me to DogTuff.com.

I have some thoughts based on the screenshot above.

  • Logo
    • I find it a bit hard to read and wish it was bigger. I do understand that with the other choices made in the header that there is not much room to increase logo size.
  • Header Offers
    • I absolutely understand the reasoning behind putting information about free shipping and a discount in the header so that it appears on each page, but there is a LOT of information here, and it might be too much for someone to stop and read instead of skipping to the shopping part.
  • Need Help/Phone Number
    • If the phone number is in white font over a black background, why have the messaging above it in grey? It seems like a weird time to suddenly be subtle.
  • ‘Top Picks” and “Hot” Flags
    • Something else I think is crowding the situation and isn’t necessary. I think that if a customer has made it to a website called DogTuff.com, they probably have an idea of why they are visiting. There is already so much happening in this header, I think the labels could be sacrificed and the customers will still be able to navigate without issue.
  • Show (number) Dropdown
    • How is there not an option to show all?! If not show all, there should be a review of the average number of items per category to determine the best options for how many items to view per page. I can attest from years of experience in e-commerce to knowing that many people prefer an option to view all results.

Here’s another screenshot to discuss another dropdown:

  • “Sort By” Dropdown
    • What does “position” mean here? There is absolutely no indication, and it is the default option on this main page for “chew toys.”
    • I am also not sure that Product Name and Color are best used as sorting tools in a dropdown, I would rather see a filter on the left side to choose a color or a product type.
    • Price is an obvious choice here, but I would like to see options for “Price Low to High” or “Price High to Low” instead of relying on the small arrow to the right for the customer to control that function.

That’s all I have on this for now. I love this website – toys that take your dog longer than 30 minutes to eviscerate are good! I am, however, generally always interested in creating the most value in terms of customer experience with the least possible amount of clutter on the screen.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments or tweet me!

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Bluemercury, Part 2 | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 13, 2014

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Click here for part 1 of my experience with Bluemercury from January 23, 2014.

As I always do, I tweeted the last blog post after it went live in January – alerting Bluemercury to the major flaw in their free shipping countdown. I received a few tweets back:

It’s always lovely to receive feedback of this nature. I sent a follow-up email, as requested.

Barbara from Bluemercury got back to me with a response that wasn’t too specifically tied to my suggestions, but indicated I would get a blue box sent my way.

I was tagged on Instagram when the box was packed and on the way. I loved this way of letting me know that a box was on the way.

The box arrived a few days later, and was I not right about how great this packaging is?

Matching tissue paper.

It was filled with samples, which was lovely.

So, a big thanks to Bluemercury for sending the box. Of course, I had to go back and check to see if any of the issues I had brought up on their site had been addressed. I assumed that the shipping calculator issue would have been the first thing to fix, since it was obviously broken.

Surprisingly, as of March 12, the shipping calculator in the header is still broken.

My suggestion to add something here letting the user know that the item will be gift-wrapped for free (with perhaps an indication of what the lovely packaging looks like) has not been taken either. Even if a photo wasn’t being added, an indication that the item will be wrapped would be nice here.

The grammar and punctuation review hasn’t been completed either. Still hanging sentences and inconsistencies between language and buttons.

In the past year and a half, I have managed the re-launch of an e-commerce website with 3,000 SKUs. I know the struggle of making these things work, there’s always a quirk to deal with. However, the fact that the broken shipping calculator hasn’t been fixed is ridiculous. The other things I’ve brought up are more style suggestions than anything else, but the shipping issue is a basic function that is broken, and should be addressed immediately as it is incredibly confusing to customers.

I will follow-up again to see if these issues are addressed on Bluemercury.com.

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