12 Jun Getting to the Point: Applied.com’s Redesign
Website design is a tool in your kit to drive your DigitalBranch. Like your other marketing activities (like email marketing, customer service and SEO) website design is done to serve your business objectives and reflect your business’ unique selling proposition.
In looking at competitive websites, we ask one very big question: does this design help their website visitors accomplish what they want? What are the roadblocks? What are the distractions? What can cause confusion?
Applied.com went through a design relaunch nearly a year ago.
See the before.
And see Applied today.
The change is night and day. The previous design was highly text-focused and had a lot of competing information. If you tried to answer the questions above, in brief, you’d get: “no” and “where to start…”
Here we’ll show five key lessons what are solid takeaways for user-friendly and business-focused design.
Lesson 1: Let them Shop
Maybe the biggest roadblock of the past design was to browsing and shopping. While there was text to say “Order Now” – there were a number of choices and filters before we could start seeing products available. The new website rethinks that entirely: there’s a clear search bar (and doesn’t ask the user to select if the search is “exact match” or not), the main area features a huge product image (see more about banners on websites in our article Banners and B2B), and product categories are clickable to shopping pages.
Lesson 2: Information Organization
Information has been organized. There’s a clear menu and hierarchy of information. For example: on the previous site if you wanted to find the product categories, you could look at Products in the very top navigation, in the left navigation, as well as a product catalog in the bottom right. On the updated website, the main navigational information is bucketed into clear areas:
- the top gray bar is “My Account” information – login, registration, order history, etc.
- The next section is a white bar, that is all about Applied.com: that’s where the logo, resources, marketing pages and customer service lives.
- The next section is a bar dedicated to shopping: with the ability to “SHOP CATEGORIES” “SHOP BRANDS,” quick order and search.
Lesson 3: Show And Tell
Where the previous design had a lot of text, the new Applied site uses images and visual cues to sell the site. “Browse and buy” is replaced with a search bar with magnifying glass and instructions on how to search (by keyword, brand or part number). Popular categories are shown with big, clear and appealing product images, as well as a concise category name.
Lesson 4: Setting a Color Scheme
Another change: the color choices have become much more limited. The previous design used a bright blue and bright turquoise. The new design is much more subdued – with shades of a green (dark, light and and gray) used throughout the site. This allows a few things to happen for the user:
- creates visual cues that are consistent: buttons, and icons
- doesn’t compete with colorful product images – and let’s them “pop” on the page
- keeps the design clean, sophisticated without coming across as too “modern” or “young”
Lesson 5: Let them Read
On the previous design site, while there was a lot of text, it wasn’t necessarily easy to read. You want your visitors to be able to quickly scan the site without a “deep dive” read. But you also want them to be able to easily read what’s on the screen if they want to get into the details. Applied made a few changes to the text to really help their users out:
- Bigger fonts
- Better spacing between lines of text
- Making sure the text and background color combinations make it easier to read. For example: white text against a dark green background in the updated design is much easier to read than white text against a bright turquoise background.
We’ll keep tabs on the Applied.com site – watching and learning from what the competitors are doing, and seeing how these changes can be translated into concrete, business-focused actions.