Site Design

Colourpop Product Photos | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on September 26, 2019

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I was recently shopping on Colourpop’s website, and was specifically looking at glitter gel, like you do. I got to this product called Trippin on Skies, and had an unfortunate experience with product photos. Let’s get into it.

Here’s my first view of this product page. I’m purposely leaving the bit of box at the bottom of this screenshot. The colors of this product make it a bit difficult to translate, but the photography is good. I found myself immediately wishing to see swatches of this product on actual humans.

I scrolled down a bit and I get to this second image of the product, this time with the box. This is great and I think more companies should show the packaging of items that they sell, but I’m immediately disappointed that there isn’t a swatch image. Many beauty brands have realized that product swatches on a variety of skin tones is the way to go, and with this product, I really wanted to see what it would look like swatched on skin.

I am now to the bottom of the photo area of the product listing, and so I think there are no more photos to see.

Unrelated to the main topic here, but what I would REALLY like to see with products like a glitter gel that probably builds as you apply more are images with one coat, 2 coats, and 3 coats of the product on each skin tone.

Luckily, I scroll down a bit more and see a slider of what may be customer images? Colourpop is using Yotpo to collect reviews and it appears that they are also collecting customer images. Clicking on these images shows me that the images above show the use of the Glitterally Obsessed glitter gels, and the center image shows the actual product that I was reviewing.

This is a huge miss by Colourpop:

  1. There should be some indication in the top images about more images, perhaps “scroll down to see this product in action!” or something similar?
  2. Better yet, find a way to incorporate images of this product from the feed into the actual product image area on the page. Tag the image with the creator’s name or handle. Ask them for permission to use the image in this way – perhaps feature on social channels or in a promotional email as well.
  3. Utilize the standardized layout of showing small versions of the available product images and letting the user use the thumbnails to work their way through the options. This would help to keep everything in a single screen – these screenshots are from a 24-inch monitor and so the way this content is spread out seems a bit unnecessary.

Colourpop has good products, and their business seems quite successful, but there are improvements to be made on these product pages.

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I am a new homeowner, and planning to move into said house comes along with a LOT of shopping. It sounds fun, and mostly is, but I have seen some unfortunate e-commerce shopping experiences. One of them is a quick one that I saw recently on

Look at this beautiful area rug! I am into it, and I just had some hardwood floors refinished so I need to find a beautiful way to protect them a bit. However, then I clicked “select rug size” and saw this menu:

There are no sizes. There are no sizes on the size menu!

This appears to be an issue on the site in general, because this rug’s page also has the same problem.

I can’t imagine I am the first person to run into this issue! I truly love that rug and would like to purchase it, but I do need to know more about the size options. Luckily, it should be a fairly quick fix for to implement.


Within one day of sharing this blog post with on Twitter, they have fixed this issue on their website! I love how responsive they were.

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Sephora Stock Issue | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on November 20, 2017

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project. This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links.

I’m back at it with another post, unsurprisingly. Sephora is second only to Amazon when it comes to websites that take all of my money.

I have talked about the sale page on before, outlining the issue of “view all but not really.” They still have this issue.

This issue is with the sale page as well. Let’s get into it.

OK, here’s the sale section. What is that item I see? A Make Up For Ever Nude palette? YES PLEASE.

Out of stock. Grrrr.

As someone who runs an e-commerce site, I know that you don’t necessarily deactivate an item as soon as it runs out of stock. But on a product listing page, it’s really disingenuous to not let someone know that the product is out of stock. Is it a ploy for more page views? I can’t understand why that would be a big concern for Sephora, their business appears to be booming.

It would be simple enough for Sephora to activate “add to cart” buttons on the product listing page, and those buttons would also show items as out of stock when they are out of stock.

Perhaps things that aren’t a game changer but COULD be fixed are not on Sephora’s priority list. I would love to see tweaks made to make their site easier and faster to use.

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The Body Shop | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on April 4, 2013

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

This post was born from a need to replace a tube of The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector that I think I had for around 5 years. It was finally time to reorder, so naturally, I documented the process.


I really like the homepage navigation callout for “What’s Hot” menu choices. These are also available in the top nav bar, but I think the immediate recognition of what is most popular is fantastic. As I’ve mentioned before, I also really like a clear and prominent mention of what I have to do to get free shipping. It’s right at the top!

My first menu choice was Skin Care/Top Rated.

Other than not seeing the relation between the description and the section name, I really like the simple and unobtrusive headers.

After adding some face wash to my cart from the Top Rated section, I used Shop Ingredients/Hemp as my next menu choice. I REALLY like the Shop Ingredients option. I think this is especially appropriate for The Body Shop.

The header on this page (the section header, not the overall site header) is great, showing a group shot of the collection, and a great description of the Hemp line of products.

I don’t find much fault with the individual product pages. Super clear, great product information. Reviews are easy to find, and the page takes into account that I already have something in my cart and tells me how much more to spend to get free shipping. I love how right underneath that, it’s also telling me how much I WILL have to pay for shipping if I don’t reach the predetermined free shipping amount.

Added to my cart. Pretty basic, and really selling that free shipping option.

I decided to check out the full shipping page, and WOW, I love this. The information given here is really precise and detailed. This is when they will be processing orders, this is how long each step takes, this is an explanation of the information you will receive—I find this very impressive.


This was my cart. Simple layout, easy to add additional items, there is information on the loyalty program, and as before, an indication of how much more to spend for free shipping. I had what I needed so I decided to pay the $5.95. I certainly will not forget that any future purchases from The Body Shop will have free shipping if I spend more than $50. I do wish that the link to the shipping information was not grouped in with the Verisign logo. I had completely missed that and my proofreader caught it. I completely glossed over it, and when I went back to click it, it opens the shipping info in the same window, which is a pet peeve of mine. Don’t make your users leave the page from which they buy things.

Three customer types! However, my issue with guest checkout is this: Since you have to hand over a bunch of information to make a purchase, why would you not simply create an account? It’s maybe 1 or 2 additional fields. I’m guessing there is enough data regarding page abandonment when people think they have to create an account to justify telling them that they don’t have to. As always, wishing I had access to statistics.

I see this all the time now, and appreciate the step to make my order more shipping-friendly.

All of the checkout information is on one page, which is expected at this point. I especially like this more than the tabbed versions I see where it makes it difficult to look back at your previous steps. I do wish there was a link to that amazing shipping information page in the shipping section, or a pop-up containing it, because it is incredibly helpful.

I do not understand how a website that has been so well-designed wouldn’t give you the option to also print a receipt. I see that I’ll receive something in my inbox, but I don’t think the effort for a printed receipt is too tricky.

I really like the social sharing option for shopping. It’s more of a “why not” than a “why” at this point.

Here’s my email confirmation. It is clear here that if I did not create an account during checkout, I will have to rely solely on emails to track my order. This is another instance where I wish I had access to a company’s data on how many guest checkouts they have in comparison to those with accounts.


My package arrived 6 days after my order was placed.

Although the box seems to have taken a bit of a hit during transport, I’m still pleased. I also really like the customization on the outside. I had to go back to the website to find out what Wood Positive meant. The site says that The Body Shop is committed to growing more wood than is used in their packaging.

Here’s the open box. Note the folded packing list, which arrived in fine condition. The customized packaging continues on the inside as well.

Here’s a shot of the interior printing on the box.

I found this stamp on the packing list. Someone with a number packed my order with care. I find this to be a good way to suggest personal handling without the issues that might come along with sharing someone’s name. This hasn’t stopped Neiman Marcus though.

Here is a helpful message about product delivery and easy instructions on finding return information.

There should be little bubble hearts around this image, because this packaging was SO nice. Yes, that is basic brown paper, but The Body Shop has taken the time to very securely wrap my items, and add a little extra touch with the logo sticker. This is what this project is about. The Body Shop has taken completely standard packaging materials and made me really happy because of the extra effort to treat my purchase this well.

The last image from the package opening experience. My not-too-delicate items, packaged in a lovely cocoon of basic brown packing paper. Sure, I like fancier wrapping too, but The Body Shop has made their mission to not be wasteful with packaging very clear, and they’ve done wonderful things with the packaging materials they have chosen.

Report Card

Other than some small issues, The Body Shop performed incredibly well. I will definitely be going back for more!

As always, I am interested in comments on this post and also suggestions for sites to shop on in the future for the project. Thanks for reading!


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Product Review: Aura Paint by Benjamin Moore.

by Jamie Sanford on January 6, 2010

I have recently been slacking on a number of things, including this blog, because I have spent much time dealing with a recent move into another apartment.  One of the things I was most looking forward to in this moving adventure was the chance to paint some new colors on the walls.

The first wall that was painted in the apartment was completed with a Zero-VOC paint that I picked up at Lowe’s.  I picked the brand because I liked the color, there weren’t really other factors involved.  I really loved having paint without fumes, so I went back to the same brand to paint my bedroom this past week.

Unfortunately, I was unaware of the mystic qualities of grey paint that make it so paint that looks grey in one place looks like baby blue on the bedroom wall.  As I wasn’t convinced of my defeat, I went ahead and used a sponge roller to apply texture with a dark grey paint over the (alleged) light grey color.

Still looked blue, even started to look more blue when my husband came home and asked why the room was blue.

We tried texture in another color to add a third color to the wall in order to balance things out, but we ended up with what I can only describe as “country kitchen,” which is not in my taste at all.

I consulted with my trusted advisor, Google, to amend the situation.  A quick search of “best paint for paint coverage” resulted in many recommendations for the Benjamin Moore Aura paint line.  I checked out the site, and although using the Interior Paint Chooser suggested that I use the Natura line of paint, I decided to pursue Aura as it was the one I had read about and also mentioned “extreme hide” on the site.

As a side note, the Benjamin Moore website also has a great color-selection section on the site that allows you to pick a room with similar furniture, etc, as the room you are intending to paint, and you can then try the paint out in that room.  We had wonderful luck with this tool and soon settled on 546, Courtyard Green.

It’s nice, right?  I think so too.

A different experience was having to go to an old-school, non-chain hardware store to pick the paint up, as we don’t have Benjamin Moore stores in my area of New Jersey.  (I’ve heard from my good friend Alex that Benjamin Moore stores do exist, I am just not that lucky.)

I digress.

So on New Year’s Day, I got started on covering first the wall to which I had already applied 3 layers of paint, and right from the beginning, it was a beautiful application process.  Very smooth and I could tell from the first coat that the coverage was really excellent.

Slight downside that I noticed right away – this is not a Zero-VOC paint and there are some fumes.  They are minimal though.  As I mentioned, Benjamin Moore has Zero-VOC paint available, but I put more emphasis on the coverage of previous paint jobs.

I continued painting, other priorities and circumstance resulted in my bedroom painting project taking 3 days to complete (not full days, mind you, partial ones).  I am not 100% convinced that the Aura paint can cover a wall in 2 coats, without a primer coat or another darker paint color on the wall first.  The grey/blue paint that I started with acted as a great primer and let the Courtyard Green start on a darker surface.

Realizing this was a good thing, as I was able to use the grey/blue reject paint as a primer coat underneath the unpainted walls (we weren’t painting on naked drywall, these walls were covered with a white flat paint that had been applied by the apartment management company).  When this primer coat was in place, the Aura paint was well-saturated after 2 coats of paint.  I believe that part of my problem might have been that the Courtyard Green isn’t too dark, if I had been trying to go from white to yellow, I’m fairly certain that 2 coats would have been more then sufficient in terms of color saturation.

Here’s a really low-quality phone photo of the wall.  You can still see how beautiful the green is!

So, all in all, I’m really happy with the Benjamin Moore Aura paint that I purchased for this project.  It was quite expensive, costing around $60 for the gallon, 3 times more than the paint I had previously used successfully in my living room.  However, the colors I was able to review on the Benjamin Moore website and in person on the hardware store color wall were beautiful and I would certainly go back to Benjamin Moore products again.  I would hopefully NOT be in a rescue situation for my wall the next time I’m buying paint, so I’d probably lean to Natura (have also heard good things about the Affinity Colors from Benjamin Moore) for my paint needs.

I’m pleased with the results of this project, it was a long week of painting, being disappointed, painting some more, making another plan and finally finishing.

Do you have a paint brand that you are loyal to?  Do you do your own painting or do you leave it to the professionals?

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