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Kogan.com is the only international Australian electronics retailer, the work of self-made Ruslan Kogan.
Perhaps the most amusing story in its 10 year history was its application of an IE7 tax in 2012, charging people 6.8% more for using the outdated browser (0.1% for every month the browser had been on the market).
It's not just this that seems unconventional, the site is full of UX quirks (some good, some bad) that I thought I should highlight. Let me know what you think.
Though Kogan isn't the only offender (I've seen this tactic used by Catch of the Day, amongst others), I do think this might be a little misleading for some.
Granted, most will understand what this means ('it's more expensive elsewhere') but isn't it designed to look like a discount?
Inspired or deceiptful? You decide.
I'm not sure I've seen an ecommerce homepage before that has two overlays, a popdown message and notifications.
The popdown wants me to add a Chrome app so I can get deal notifications wherever I am on the web. Seeing as Kogan has never cookied me before, this might be seen as quite a presumptive message to a first-time visitor.
At the bottom of the page, I'm told somebody in Forest Hill has bought a toaster, which allows me to drift off into my imagination for a while.
This sort of social proof is not widely used as an overlay on a homepage, but as a first-time visitor in the UK, I do like that this is tailored to my location. It allays some of my fears about Kogan's UK operations. However, shouldn't I also be directed to Kogan's UK website if my IP has been recognised?
Finally, the advertisement (partly obscured by the Forest-Hill-bound toaster) is pushing Kogan Mobile contracts, which I think is a strange thing to do. Why dilute or interrupt one of your ecommerce properties with an advert for another - surely this is the job of information architecture?
When I click to dismiss this overlaid ad, it duly disappears, but not without launching a new Kogan Mobile window, just for the hell of it.
I found the Kogan homepage strangely cluttered, not helped by too many elements and inelegant category 'cards' with a mix of fonts and pictures that look like screenshots from another website altogether.
Below are the notifications, once I've clicked the appropriate icon in the header. They are obviously not personalised (as I said, I'm a first time visitor and not logged in) so they feel a tad gimmicky, but Kogan is all about low prices (with a direct-to-consumer ethos), so this is a good way to surface popular products as they come back into stock.
Limited quantities and batch orders are a big part of this kind of ecommerce experience and Kogan is right to keep the customer as informed as possible.
Sticky 'go to checkout' UX
I love the way Kogan relentlessly follows you until you check out. Literally. See the GIF below.
So many retailers use a little bag or cart icon in the top right, which though brightly coloured isn't nearly as effective as this sticky element.
Debatably, it gets in the way if you're looking for something else, but I quite like it (on desktop).
There's even a checkout summary and CTA in the footer
Nice use of iconography on product listings
Here's a nice touch that many retailers don't use. Each product photo in the TV category listings uses icons to show what features it has (e.g. HD, Netflix ready etc.).
Although one can filter for some of those features, this tactic still helps users quickly compare products.
Focus on free shipping and fast despatch
It's inspired to have a 'fast dispatch' filter in the product listings (1).
There are also accompanying little red lorry icons (2) that sit next to every product in the listings that has a fast dispatch.
It's also smart that users can add a product to cart directly from the product listing (3), without having to click to view the product page first.
I also like these little Miss-World style sashes that say free shipping (see below).
They're slipped over relevant products in category listings, too.
But is fast dispatch misleading?
Though it's great that users can filter for fast dispatch, it doesn't really feel particularly fast (one to two days).
I'm told that delivery (on top of dispatch) is '3-7 business days for metro delivery or 4-10 days for regional areas'. That's pretty standard within Australia, but surely, given this, fast dispatch should mean 'same day'?
Potlatch recommendations with big prices and rollover
The recommendations tab in the menu (alongside depts, brands and deals) is a useful alternative for surfacing products and allowing users to browse.
This section is better formatted than other parts of the site, with clear imagery and pricing complemented by hover states showing the product title.
As lots of different types of products are shown on an endless scroll, this allows users to scan and perhaps make an impulse buy or two.
Auto-suggest in search is ncredibly helpful for any retailer with a large and technical product catalogue.
When I wrote some 2016 web design predictions at the beginning of this year, I highlighted the dilemma of design conventions.
Though these conventions help a user navigate an ecommerce site, for example, they also serve to homogenise web design.
What I like about some of the features of Kogan is that they are noticeably different, whether you like them or not. The inspiration might well be Amazon - divisive appearance with a UX that is proven to get results.