The new Twenga
Twenga has launched a beta version of its upcoming new site, currently limited to the french market. At first glance, the new site has a much better look&feel, really professional compared to the “amateurish” current version. New logo, clean layout, trendy colors, rounded colors and gradient background… Difficult to not like this new design, compared to the current one :)
It seems this new version is *only* a cosmetic change of the same feature set. However, this change greatly enhances the search experience of Twenga, and make a lot of existing features more understandable / discoverable / simply appealing. When looking at this beta version, I’ve been several times surprised seeing a feature that I thought was new, looked at the “old/current” site, and see the feature already exists!
In terms of feature set, the only difference I have spotted is the unavailability of the Questions&Answers service on the new version, a service that Twenga launched (also in beta test) last January. Experiment not successful? Will be available later with the new design? Time will tell.
Here are below a few notes regarding my experience with the new design…
- I usually don’t really like north ad placement, maybe because the integration with a site header is rarely successful. The new Twenga header is nicely designed around this ad placement… I feel there is not enough space between the logo and the ad, but I think that will be fixed once the “beta” label is removed.
- The total numbers of stores and products available in the Twenga index are displayed above the logo, a way to show how comprehensive the shopping engine is.
- Huge drop-down menu to list all categories, each main category being illustrated with small images : I like it!
- Interestingly, “Travel” has its own section in the header when the Flights / Hotel / Car Hire could have been put in the category menu, as holidays categories are (under the “Loisirs” category). It seems Twenga prefers separating those live categories, maybe because the user experience is really different?
- Maybe not completely aligned with its tagline (“Twenga, le moteur de recherche de shopping le plus complet” / The most comprehensive shopping search), Twenga has decided to have a homepage pretty heavy when they could have chosen to go with a simple search form (à la Shopzilla).
- Still, this homepage brings significant value for the customer: popular products, back-to-school products, price drops, a carousel for top products…
Search result pages
- Three columns layout with faceted navigation on the left-hand side, main column with offers, and a tiny column on the right that contains a skyscraper ad placement, and a strangely placed personalization module. Not convinced by this layout: the right-hand side column seems too narrowed for me to be used at its full potential.
- The design of the faceted navigation is interesting: visually very close to the results, light gray background to contrast with the white background of the offers…
- This faceted navigation is pretty advanced with multi-filtering, panels to display all values (really huge for the “categories” or “brand” filters!). Maybe due to all the features available, I feel the interaction is quite complex. I.e: I don’t like the need to press an OK button when selecting one or several values…
- I feel the display of results is a weakness of this new design. It’s very difficult to put in words, but I feel the information is not correctly distributed in the space available… Is list view by default the right choice, considering crawled offers may not have a lot of info to be displayed?
- However, the extended view on product display is quite nice, with price history.
- Also the tags available on each offer or product are really interesting to quickly navigate inside the site. Those tags were invisible in the previous design, I feel they are still not easy to spot (or to understand) in the new design.
- Two columns layout with personalization module and LREC ad placement on the right-hand size – why couldn’t such layout be applied on search result pages, rather than the three-columns layout???
- Nice product page with a lot of information, but presented in a clear way. Price history, videos (retrieved from YouTube), international price check, for the most “unusual” features.
- SEO is clearly a strength of Twenga. Quite logical most URLs remain untouched with this new version