Short and sweet
September 12, 2005 7:46 AM   Subscribe

Site design: what are, in your opinion, the best-designed ecommerce sites out there? Either from a graphic design or a usability viewpoint.
posted by Leon to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Amazon and Dell.
posted by xammerboy at 7:54 AM on September 12, 2005

Best answer: has the slickest little shopping cart that I've ever seen:
posted by spock at 8:05 AM on September 12, 2005

Response by poster: xammerboy: my fault, I should have been more specific. Amazon is the opposite of what I'm after - it's product range is unfocused and the interface is cluttered and unpretty. I'm after "does one thing fantastically", rather than "does a bunch of stuff well enough to get by". (All IMO, of course).
posted by Leon at 8:18 AM on September 12, 2005

Best answer: I like LL Bean. Compared to their main competitor, Land's End, I find LL bean to have a pretty good UI.

I like some of the small touches, like being able to see each garment in every colour in which it's available. Plus it updates your select colour every time you preview a different colour, so when you finally decide you want to red sweater, red is already selected as the colour for the item to add to your cart. Which seems logical, until you go to other e-com sites that don't do it.

I think of them as doing "one thing", as unlike Amazon, they just sell clothes (mostly). But they do have a very large catalogue of items, so in a strict sense they don't just sell "one thing". I don't know if I've ever seen a single-item e-com site, other than beggarware.
posted by GuyZero at 8:28 AM on September 12, 2005

Best answer: I dispute that the "big boys" site are the best models... with them you have to juggle usernames and passwords, and it typically takes 5 pages to check out. I rarely have time for all that. The closer a site is to a one-page checkout, the happer I am. Usually it's the small-potatoes guys who are in that corner (cigar shops, RC parts, etc).

But I do like the Amazon product review feature; it's definitely its strong suit.

My other pet peeves are
* Poor product images (click to enlarge and you get a 200 x 150 px graphic)
* Product searches that incorrectly return nothing
* Sites that don't return me to the area I was looking in after I've added something to the cart

I guess it's hard to explain what to do right when I only remember the annoyances.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:52 AM on September 12, 2005

Without question, McMaster-Carr. It seems simplistic at first - just a list of the many categories of hardware product they sell - but try the order builder, the product finder, the bookmarking system. They've got the "contact us" information right under the logo, phone number and all. The product pages have lots of extra informations - here's one at random.
posted by nicwolff at 8:59 AM on September 12, 2005

Best answer: As far as a site that is focused on its core mission, I like ModernPostcard's site. Although you actually have to go through the order prep process to experience it, it's pretty slick and painless. In addition, they offer all sorts of aids to help you design your own art (including ICC profiles for their presses, for proper color management)
posted by Thorzdad at 9:00 AM on September 12, 2005

Best answer: For a site that sells something that's generally hard to shop for, check out Blue Nile (for diamond rings). Really good experience.

Also see some resources for more thinking about online experience...
posted by mark7570 at 9:38 AM on September 12, 2005

I disagree with those saying Amazon ain't all that. It is. Its somewhat ugly and unintuitive, but it does so much you can really just browse around that site like a bookstore (via the '... also bought...') links and find some intresting stuff, and I'm willing to be that feature drives more sales too. But software like that isn't really practical for most people...
posted by delmoi at 10:40 AM on September 12, 2005

One coworker of mine is a big fan of Upton Tea.
posted by of strange foe at 11:16 AM on September 12, 2005

I do find Apple's site easy to navigate and winning awards.
posted by filmgeek at 11:54 AM on September 12, 2005

Response by poster: strange foe: your coworker should check out Mighty Leaf, too.

Thanks to all who replied, by the way - all your answers are very much appreciated.
posted by Leon at 1:02 PM on September 12, 2005

Gap's new ajax site is getting a lot of press at the moment. I really like the 'outfit builder' functionality.
posted by blag at 8:35 AM on September 13, 2005

Best answer: Threadless.
posted by waxpancake at 2:55 PM on September 13, 2005

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