From the study of website user experience, I have a better understanding of how UX impact branding and customer online behaviors. In this post, firstly I will share my insight about how customer shopping behavior change, then I will share my analysis on UX walkthrough study for Zara.
Customer Shopping Behavior: Past V.S.Now
Basically, customer shopping behaviors have been changing all the time. 20 years ago, we didn’t know we could shop online because online shopping didn’t exist at that time. Customers usually captured promotion information from TV ads, newspaper, posters, magazines, or just visited the store.
Now, when people want to shop, the first thing they usually do is SEARCH. According to the digital study, 94% of online shoppers conduct research before purchasing and 61% of online shoppers use search engines to discover information when shopping online. (compete.com)
In the past, people evaluate a brand only based on its product and service. Most time, the touchable product and service are the primary way to perceive a brand value. Now, as online shopping get more common, product and service are just parts of branding. In addition, customers are much smarter than they were. Thus, they will set a high standard bar to evaluate a brand. They would perceive a brand from its online shopping experience, its valuable information, product & service, customer review, and etc.
Since there are so many online shopping choices for customers, sometimes a great website user experience can turn new customers into loyal customers. However, a poor website user experience will destroy the relationship with customers.
User Experience Walkthrough Analysis for Zara Homepage:
A Little Background:
I am neither a developer nor website designer. I am a market person who loves marketing and branding research. After the user experience study, I want to apply my learnings to a real case study and evaluate a website user experience for a real brand.
The homepage is the front door of each website because it impacts on users first impression of the brand. If the homepage is attractive and accessible, users are more likely to stay on the page and take further actions.
I like Zara, so I pick this brand to study. In this part, I am not to going through all the pages because it will be too much. Thus, I will only focus on the homepage and give a brief analysis.
Homepage User Experience:
Zara homepage is a clean and short web page. All the menu highlights are on the left of the page. They are short and easy to read. The top right of the page displays a quick search bar and log in. At the bottom of the page is social media channels. The most outstanding content on the page is huge and attractive fashion image slides.
Good User Experience of the page:
- A simple menu allows users to know the main product categories for the brand and to give a clear direction for users.
- A quick search bar allows users who have special needs to find the related product effectively
- The page content is short, so users don’t need to spend time on scrolling the page all the way down.
- The huge fashion slides immediately catch users eyes and grab their attention. Each image is clickable and linking to the related page.
Things could be improved:
- Overlapping: part of the image slides are overlapping with the menu bar, and it is a little distractive.
- No sub-menu: the menu is simple, but it doesn’t show any more details under each main category. It would be better to add a short list on each main category to help users understand what it is about. This way could help them to make choice easily.
- Oversize Slides: Yes, I admit that a huge image does catch user attention. However, the image is way too big to enjoy. I have to scroll down the page to view the full image.
- Some terms are hard to understand: To be honest, I don’t really understand the word “TRF” on the menu. I am not a fashion person, so I have limited knowledge to guess the meaning of TRF. It will make some users feel they are stupid. It would be better to use a common word or add a “full name” next to the abbreviation.
- Move Social Media Icon: The social media icons are at the very bottom of the page. It is not to see if users don’t scroll the page down. Thus, it will lose many potential sharing opportunities. It would be better to place social media icons on the top or the side of the page.
My Redesign Idea:
- Show a short list for a category. When users click on the category, it will display the list automatically.
- Add a “()”next to the “TRF”. It will help users understand what it is standing for.
- Narrow the image and change the way to present.
I reduce the size for each huge image to give an overall view for users. It has six images on the page includes sales, new arrivals, woman, man, kids, and accessories. Subjects can be changed based on marketing objectives. Each image should be clickable and link to the right page. Make the size appropriately can let users really enjoy the whole image.
Moreover, I change the way to present the image. Currently, it is an automatically slide show on the page. The image will move and change to another one every 1-2 seconds. If you miss one big slide, you have to wait for a few seconds until it shows again. Sometimes, users will lose their patient. They don’t want to wait for it, and then they leave immediately.( Yes, I did wait for it, and I don’t like to wait)
The may purpose of people to come to your site is to shop and make right choices, not to review the slide show. Instead of showing the “interactive” slides, I put those key images in a very simple way to present to users. It will allow users to make a quick choice and save more time.
- Move the social media icons on the top. If you want people to like your social media page and share your website publicly, you have to let them able to find social media icons easily. Moving those icons to the top of the page can motivate people to click.
- Add “Sign Up” at the bottom of the page. At the bottom of the page, I add a “sign up with us and get 10% off for your first order” to motivate new users to sign up and place their first order.
With this new design, everything shows on one short page, and users don’t need to scroll the page. It is simple, straightforward, informative, and easy to access.