Scrolling explainer homepage with admirable focus
Befitting a new website for a new service with a unique proposition, the Shazop homepage is an educational scrolling experience (see end of article for full screenshot).
The page is admirably focused, top-and-tailed with a call to action (‘Start Shopping’) and little else to distract the user from quickly gaining an understanding of how the service works.
Conforming to the trends we examined in our 2016 web design predictions post, there’s notable use of centred content, sharp imagery, high contrast, big text, ghost buttons, hover states and big iconography.
On mobile, however, the top result in Google for a brand search ‘Shazop’ is not this homepage, but a category page with product listings. Whether intended or not, this gives a nicely streamlined journey for mobile users, removing a click in the process.
Transition elements a nice antidote to sliders
Shazop uses a creative approach above the fold (where space is at a premium) to highlight key features with transition messages. These are elements that fade in and out using opacity styling.
This is a lovely way to get rid of the hated slider (the disappearance of which is another web trend) and catch the eye.
Please excuse the small GIF – check out the transitions on the Shazop homepage yourself.
Promises are a nice touch
Shazop is in beta and I like the way it handles this, making it clear on the homepage that further categories, brands and features are to come.
You can see the aforementioned iconography.
An indictment of Twitter?
As expected in fashion and ecommerce, the homepage includes an entreaty to ‘Follow us on social’. Brands such as Net-a-Porter have made hay with social media, as the peer-review element of fashion conspires to drive sales.
Shazop includes Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram icons, but not Twitter. Yes, Twitter isn’t as visually led as these networks, but it’s still surprising to see a fashion brand miss is off the list. It feels like an indictment of the sales potential via Twitter.
Category and product pages
100 products per page but a lack of clear headings
Clicking the ‘Start Shopping’ call to action on the homepage takes one to a filter-able product list that displays the dresses category. This isn’t made clear (dreses is not highlighted in the top menu, for example) and initially I thought every available SKU was being displayed.
Making it clearer which category we’re in (with a header tag) would help users orient themselves here.
The page defaults to showing 100 products, ordered by recency. This is a great tactic, as many of the products and discounts are time-sensitive, and the user is also encouraged to scroll through items, which is a boon for mobile shopping.
A good bit of UX, an up arrow appears when you scroll down the list, ensuring the user understands where they are on page.
Favourite products and receive discount updates by email
The ability to create a wishlist is a standard feature in ecommerce now, but Shazop compellingly uses the data from this list to update users by email when their items are discounted further.
This opt-in automated email should drive plenty of traffic and re-engage loyal customers.
Filters work well but could be improved
The filters are effective and I like the option to manually enter a min or max price.
However, the filters could be improved by prominently displaying which have been applied. At the moment, the dropdown buttons simply display a number, indicated the number of filters applied.
To see which ones are selected, you have to go back into these dropdowns to examine what has been checked.
Additionally, the aforementioned lack of clarity that the user is in the dress category (in this example) does undermine the filter somewhat.
Product view defaults to in-page pop-out
I love this feature. Clicking on a product gives you a quickview pop-out by default, though there is the option to open this window in a new tab with a further click.
This enourages rabid browsing.
At the moment the product pages are limited, which is understandable given the site does not sell directly, but makes revenue through referring visitors to retailers.
They simply include one photograph from each listed retailer and a link. Listings do tell you when an item is sold out, with the ‘Shop Now’ call to action changing to ‘Check Stock’. This sold out notice isn’t always accurate however – I checked one listings and there was only one size that was missing.
On mobile, too, there was a UX problem for me; I found it very difficult to click the ‘X’ and dismiss these product pop-outs.
My difficulty exiting product pop-outs on mobile
Site search results not responsive
Site search is ok, but could be more intuitive with no results, for example, when I miss the ‘n’ from ‘Stella McCartney’.
On mobile the experience is not great, because the search results are not scaled properly for the smaller screen, with some pinching and sideways scrolling necessary.
Once you’ve searched on mobile there’s also no icon to take you back to home (i.e. unfiltered product listings), with the only option the browser back button, which actually takes me back to my Google search.
Search results don’t scale properly for mobile
Navigation clunky on mobile
It’s nice and easy on desktop (there aren’t many pages), aside from the ambiguity around category selection, but on mobile I had real problems accessing the burger menu (in fact I couldn’t, and I’m sure it wasn’t a problem with my iPhone, as in the screenshot below you can see I have managed to zoom in on the feature by pressing in that area of the screen).
Combined with the site search problems on mobile, there’s definitely improvements to make.
However, I like the clean and clear, black and white header menu on desktop and the ‘Join Shazop’ and ‘Login’ ghost buttons (seen above in category page screenshots).
Difficulty with the burger menu on mobile
Again, a pop-out form is used here and it’s simple to fill out.
Once I’ve logged in, some good features are revealed. My name appears in the top right, with a dropdown allowing me to invite friends, request brands or to view my saved items.
Here’s the bombshell though, once I registered and tried favouriting some items, I found they were not saving to my saved items page (I was using Google Chrome FYI). Given that the email updates around saved items are an attractive functionality, it’s disappointing this didn’t work.
Shazop is only just in beta, so there’s a lot to be done, understandably.
If it can continue to curate the right products, make them easier to save and browse on mobile, allowing fashionistas to pay the right price, this will be a great site.
Of course, if it gets very successful, might the department stores eventually have smaller price differentials? If so, Shazop still represents a good place to browse a great range of designer names with ease, before moving on to retailer websites.
The Shazop homepage