Stitching Together a Seamless Experience
As part of our ‘reimagining series’, we will be examining brands that we believe are falling short in providing an online experience comparable to the quality of their products and the experience that they offer to customers in the offline space. In lasts months first addition we posted an article about Nespresso’s superior product offering and in-store experience and compared it with their global eCommerce presence.
In this months addition we’re taking a look at the 130-year-old master shoemaker Loake. From the regal shaped Buckingham through to the victorian tradesman shaped Bedale I’ve a growing collection from across their 130-year range of styles and my sights set on a few more pairs before I hit my next age decade shaped milestone!
Style, durability, comfort and quality are the reasons why Loake stand out far and above from their contemporaries and why I love them. If you really want to get the experience of what I am talking about you’re best heading down to one of the 5 Loake stores located in the UK. Each of these stores is a masterclass in style and customer experience.
If you can’t make it to one of these stores then you can always try and look through their site. Unfortunately, you might not be in for quite as a good experience. You will be able to navigate through their range easily enough, select and read up on a product without too much of a problem and you can even watch some videos about how they make the shoes, which is great.
But the whole experience may leave you a little unimpressed as the site’s design, layout and functionality is out dated, unresponsive and from our point of view does not align with ours, and we suspect most of their customers, who are increasingly younger and expect more from a visit to an online store.
I sat down with our Creative Directer, Olly, to go through some of the main UX issues on the site.
Ben: So where do you think the site is letting down the brand?
Olly: From a UI point of view, I can see a few key problems with the site;
– The current design doesn’t allow them to properly showcase their beautiful products
– It currently serves an outdated and difficult to use mobile site, rather than being responsive, not accommodating tablet users
– The interface is generally quite cluttered, distracting users from products & key information
– Key elements and call to actions aren’t obvious enough on certain pages
Ben: I agree with what you’re saying. Talk us through what changes you suggest in your approach.
Olly: By introducing more whitespace and decluttering the UI we can create a clearer visual hierarchy. We can also utilise available space by going full-width with the product grid, allowing more products to be visible on screen with larger thumbnails. These shoes should be shown off in all their glory, not as small, non-zoomable images. A good way to highlight the purchasing journeys to use Loake’s ‘gold’ for all purchase-related buttons. Users become familiar with ‘gold buttons’ representing ‘next’ in the purchase journey.
Ben Which is a tried & tested design approach used by leading eCommerce sites such as Nike & Asos. I really like how you’ve made quite a dramatic improvement through what are only relatively minor alterations to the site’s design and functionality. For example on the current product page you’re unable to toggle between the different colours or even zoom in.
Olly: It’s always surprises me how some sites seem to miss simple, yet key principles & functionality but I imagine that its simply down to the site being outdated and limiting.
Ben I like how you’ve pulled in the relevant product shots from Instagram onto the single product page.
Olly: Although I don’t think this is necessarily an issue for Loake, pulling in social content is one way that brands can help to build trust & confidence with their customers.