AOL Shopping US redesign


 

Read on TechCrunch:

In the midst of the recession, consumers are either cutting back on spending or actively looking to reduce expenses. And with retail sales plunging during March, decreasing by 1.1% compared to February, it looks like retailers are in for the long haul when its comes to the virtual drought in consumer spending. What better time for AOL to completely overhaul the design of its comparison shopping site, AOL Shopping, to promote recession-friendly deals, coupons and sales to consumers across its site. Coincidentally, Yahoo’s comparison shopping site, Yahoo! Shopping, has the same features, but wrapped up in a different interface.

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Both sites offer competitive deals, coupons and sales for consumers. But Yahoo!’s is more user-friendly because of superior search filters, search suggestions in the search box, and the ability to see results in a grid view or list view. It appears that AOL is playing catchup to Yahoo! in adding the recession-friendly features. They may also be trying to play catch up to Yahoo!’s number of visitors. According to comScore, Yahoo!’s shopping site received 23.4 million unique visits in March with AOL only receiving 5.4 million uniques in the same month.

A few thoughts about this redesign:

  • I like the fact each category page (Electronics, Kids, Home&Garden…) has its own design – different colors, different typos, different background… Very unusual, but very sensitive.
  • Search result pages:
    • List view by default, but the 4 first results are displayed in grid view – again, very original, I suppose a smart answer to get more offers above the fold and get higher click-through rate. Interesting.
    • At the same time, the North ad placement, the header, the navigation bar + the sponsored links make the results appear quite low in the page…
    • Good URL management: searching for “snowboard” leads a SRP with flat URLs “http://shopping.aol.com/snowboard-products/” (makes me think of this 2002 article about user-centered URL design: nice example with those result pages)
    • Very good quality of results for “snowboard“: result pages showing 4 offers for “bingings” category, 4 offers for “snowboards” category, 4 offers for “boots“, 4 offers for “bags“… Very good experience.
    • Compared to category pages, search result pages are greyish / brownish – not really appealing, but good readability.
  • Product page: all-in-one page with product specs / offers / reviews. HUGE product photo… Overall, really nice experience.
  • Strong emphasis on Deals / Coupons section on the whole site: on the homepage, the category pages, the search result pages… and in a specific section.

Overall, a redesign that contains really nice ideas! One week after the release of PureShopping, the AOL Shopping redesign shows shopping engines can still innovate in terms of user experience!!

Category page (Camera, Photo & Video):

Category page (Home Appliances):

Search result pages:

Product page: