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Stationery brand Ryman has launched a revamped version of its website this week, with the retailer aiming to make much more of its online presence. 

The website has been completely redesigned, while an improved product management system will be used to manage and control stock across different channels. 

I've been seeing how the new website looks from a user experience perspective...

Homepage

Here's the old Ryman homepage, which was pretty cluttered: 

Ryman old1

And the new version, a much cleaner page with more white space and much clearer navigational links and clearer merchandising. In addition key areas, such as the search box, the shopping basket link, the free delivery offer, and the store finder are more prominently displayed.

ryman1

The result is a homepage which is much easier to understand and navigate from for visitors to the site. A big improvement. 

Navigation and site search

The main navigation menu has been placed on the left side of the page, and the site uses large drop-down menus to display product sub-categories.

This allows users to see all of the menu options at once without the need for scrolling, and helps to provide a shortcut to the product pages they are seeking. 

ryman2

Once customers arrive at category and sub-category pages, plenty of options have been provided on the right of the page for users to filter and narrow their product selections

Providing effective and relevant filtered navigation improves the user experience, as it reduces the amount of cognitive effort required, and makes it more likely that they will find a product that suits them. 

ryman3

The site search function works well and returned accurate results for the terms i tried out, as well as providing the filtering and sorting options to allow customers to refine their search results. 

Product pages

The new product pages contain much more detail than on the previous version. Product photos, even for smaller and lower priced items, are all high quality and provide the ability to zoom in and see products from different angles. 

ryman4

The key information that customers will look for is all there; delivery charges and details, product specifications, stock levels etc.

While the 'add to basket' button is in a prominent position, but I think this call to action could be made to stand out more clearly with better use of colour and contrast, and perhaps a larger button. The call to action should leap out at users. 

Shopping basket & checkout process

As mentioned before, the basket link is prominently positioned and catches the eye with a basket icon and a summary of the price, which drops down to provide a summary of its contents. 

The basket page is clear and easy to edit, though again the call to action could be clearer:

ryman8

Registration is compulsory on the site, which can be a barrier to purchase for customers. The length of the new customer registration form makes it even more of a potential roadblock for customers: 

ryman10

Once customers are past this point, they will find a checkout that has been well-designed and easy to use.

A clear progress indicator has been provided, a prominent phone number should provide some reassurance to those customers that need it, and the process has been enclosed with all navigation removed to avoid any distractions for customers. 

ryman11

Conclusion

There are a few improvements which could still be made, such as removing the need for customers to register before checkout. This example from Jared Spool of a major site which made $300m simply by removing the register button should make retailers think twice about this.

Registration aside, this new website represents a massive improvement on the old site in terms of user experience which should reward Ryman with increased conversion rates.

Graham Charlton

Published 15 July, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Mike Essex

Mike Essex, Marketing & Comms Manager at Petrofac

Much better, although the product pages seen very tall with such big images before the core text starts. From an SEO perspective that gives quite a low relevance to the text and could be bad for customers with lower resolution screens who may not even see the start of the text without scrolling.

about 6 years ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

Mike The Product Page screen shot that Graham showed above - is not the default - which DOES have text on the right where that 2nd image shows above. Graham's shot shows what happends when you mouse over the image and get a zoomed-in one , that sits on the right, covering the product text.

about 6 years ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

They used to have a blog... it's now gone...

The end of social media as we know it... :<)

about 6 years ago

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