Simple and effective navigation for retail?

12 Jun 2009 - 11:31am
7 years ago
2 replies
1269 reads
Stew Dean

I thought I'd call upon the experience of the wide audience for this one.

I'm looking for views and examples of what people consider good solid retail
experiences for sites that sell a range of products. What I'm focusing on at
the moment is the way to get to browse to a product group (search and facets
are at the moment out of scope although there is overlap).

Which sites do you feel do a great job of providing the user a way to get to
a product group quickly and effectively?

I have list of the usual suspects and am not overly impressed by Amazon but
quite like sites like and Crate and Barrel. I'm looking at a UK
audience but not limitiing my self at UK examples. I'm looking for examples
of simple but effective navigation.


Stewart Dean


12 Jun 2009 - 1:28pm

I like how endless's search driven pattern but it's more for shoes. The left filter interaction is all over the place now:

I wouldn't say Amazon is great but they definitely are doing a lot of things right. I guess I don't need to say further than to direct you to Jared Spoon's talk at 'An Event Apart 2009' that he has made available:

I like Threadless for many reasons:

14 Jun 2009 - 12:21am

You'll do fine so long as you remember that things can logically fit
in many categories. My new video game belongs in BOTH electronics and
toys. If you try to pidgin hole everything into one group, when the
case can be made for it to be in more than one. Some people won't
find it.

This is, incidentally, my biggest pet peeve with most music software.
The Mars Volta is Metal AND Jazz! Static-x is Metal, Techno, AND
Trance! Sites tend to be better about it. But my iPod knows not what
multiple genres are.

Don't be my iPod.

That is the single biggest mistake you can make, next to only
providing a search bar. Which you shouldn't do. Search is great...
if the user knows what they want.

However, you can remove most 'search-for-something-specific' users
with a good search system. Try to correct spelling if you can. List
off common misspellings at the very least. (I wonder if eyeQ wishes
they hadn't named itself that?)

What should be left are users that are poking about looking for
things they might like, or that someone they know might like. Which
means, like amazon, the more ways you can give them to find related
or unrelated items the better.

Think more about WHAT amazon lets you see and less about HOW they let
you see it.

If you can give them items that others who bought what they are
looking at bought somewhere, that is big. But you most likely can't.

Next best thing is to do some of that by hand, and do some of it
completely at random, and some based on what the user has already
been through.

If they are looking at video games, show them accessories for the
system they are looking at. Show them other games from the same
genre. Show them something completely not related. Or so meta-related
that it takes them aback.

That last one is hard to do. If the game is "Lego Indiana Jones" if
the links to items somewhere on the page look something like this, you

- An Indiana Jones lego set
- Lego Starwars the game for the same system
- A second controller for the system
- Indiana Jones DVD box set
- A rubber Snake
- A WWII shooter for the same system

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