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Reflex New Media has built the new Web site for department store Harvey Nichols.

Reflex New Media has built the new Web site for department store Harvey Nichols. Created entirely in Macromedia Flash, it gives details of the store's branches in London, Leeds and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Providing information on product ranges, services and even store layouts, slickly-flowing animation greets the user in each of the food, living, beauty, and interiors sections and the restaurant. Visitors can choose which soundtrack will accompany browsing, with music from funky, chilled, party or dance genres.

High quality photography, panoramic QTVR store views, and even tours of in-store eateries complete the visitor experience, which reflects the atmosphere and styling of the stores themselves. Further sections give details of new branches due to open in Edinburgh and Manchester — all to attract new clients to the world-famous store.

The project, which cost £300,000 and will see Reflex maintaining the site for a further five years, could eventually incorporate e-commerce facilities. It will be updated four times each year, in correspondence with the changing seasons of fashion.

Neil Lamont, managing director at Reflex, says: "Harvey Nichols had ideas about using the internet on a business level, but in terms of using it as a marketing tool it wasn't originally their main focus. It had to be fairly comprehensive in order to reinforce their position in the marketplace." He adds: "At the moment there's not a business case to start using e-commerce, but that's not to say it's not a future possibility."

The current site is fundamentally a brand support operation, and includes a plain HTML version, as well as the more luxurious Flash offering. Early on, however, they were wary of losing the site's navigation underneath a deluge of animation.

"We wanted to make the navigation on the site very clear and easy to use," says Lamont. "It's not the technology that should be apparent, it's what you're trying to communicate and the intelligent application of the tools."

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Published 8 February, 2001 by NMA Staff

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