nicolas leroy

An awesome iPad application by Become.com

August 30, 2010

Most CSEs now have an iPhone application, but few of them have launched a dedicated app for the iPad yet. When Nextag and Pricegrabber launched their own iPad apps, those apps were mostly the existing iPhone apps adapted to the bigger screen of the iPad. As a consequence, while being quite efficient, they were also pretty boring and didn’t really take advantage of the iPad form factor and touch capacities.

Become.com was in a different situation, with no mobile product launched yet. I suppose it was a tough call to decide to launch an iPad application as a first mobile product, but it certainly helped them to use the full potential of the device. What makes this application such interesting? It forgets the standard iPad / iPhone GUI patterns, takes benefit of animation and touch (like pinch and zoom) and for a long time makes a shopping engine fun and enjoyable to use!

When launching the app, you are welcomed with a list of shopping domains illustrated with big photo-realistic images ; you can scroll the screen to discover the various domains. In my opinion, the domain pages and browse experience can be improved; but the search is simply great: the result pages is displayed as a mosaic of products, displayed in a variety of sizes (randomly it seems). You can pinch and zoom product images, bookmark favored products by using drag & drop… ShopTop is an option to visually compare bookmarked products, or put them above a picture chosen from user’s images : a first glimpse of what could become a very powerful tool to see how a product could fit on you or in your appartement. You have to try it to see how good it is !

I was happily surprised to see such a good application from Become.com, as I’m not a big fan of the user experience at the main Become.com site. For me, this iPad version is far more polished than the main site; and hopefully this is a sign there are changes going on at Become.com. Congrats Become team for such a great app!

Homepage of the iPad application

iPad application - homepage - Become.com (Aug'10)

Search result page

iPad application - search result page - Become.com (Aug'10)

Bookmarking products

iPad application - bookmark product - Become.com (Aug'10)

Product page

iPad application - product page - Become.com (Aug'10)


10 commentaires

[...] Most CSEs now have an iPhone application, but few of them have launched a dedicated app for the iPad yet. When Nextag and Pricegrabber launched their own iPad apps, those apps were mostly the existing iPhone apps adapted to the bigger …More [...]

joe kubiniec
on Sep 09, 2010 / 4am
"I was happily surprised to see such a good application from Become.com, as I’m not a big fan of the user experience at the main Become.com site."

--ergghh.....
;)

The iPad app is indeed top of the line. Very well done.


Joe Kubiniec
Director, User Experience Become (former)!

nicolasleroy
on Sep 09, 2010 / 8pm
Hi Joe,
Thanks for your comment, and sorry about my note regarding Become.com UX ;) I suppose I'm not fan of the "shop" vs "research" idea, and the fact "research" results "only" give a Google-like experience.
Nicolas

Andrew
on Sep 10, 2010 / 5pm
Excellent post Nicolas. And awesome application Become! Really interesting that you can zoom in / out with the pinch function. Further promotes the point that merchants need quality images to succeed on these shopping engines.

nicolasleroy
on Sep 10, 2010 / 6pm
Thanks for your comment, Andrew. I've often been jealous of retailers sites that propose awesome product photos (i.e: Zappos...). Good to see CSEs that use this potential and take benefits of those visuals. In the interest of their users and the conversion towards the merchant sites.

John Doe
on Sep 16, 2010 / 3am
Excellent review! Do you have the URL to download the app?

nicolasleroy
on Sep 16, 2010 / 1pm
Hi Joe,
The app is available on iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/become-com-online-shopping/id386033450?mt=8
Nicolas

goziri
on Sep 23, 2010 / 11pm
Your review is great !! Very thoughtful and original!

Naos
on Sep 26, 2010 / 9pm
Good idea, awsome execution. I like paper-like items idea. It could be done as a website with CSS 3 easily too.

[...] engines who have launched an iPad app have replicated the user experience of their core site (with the exception of Become); this cannot be a successful strategy as the tablet and touch-screen experience require a very [...]