website design

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OK, this is a two-fold post, as I take issue with the website, which is my usual, but this time I add in frustration over the actual product design.

The first issue is with the website. I received an Instagram ad for Bird Collective and I went to their site to look at their offerings. I immediately liked the state birding t-shirts, but soon found a big issue.

The top 3 shirts in the screenshot below have a hero image showing the BACK of the shirt! The 3 shirts below have images showing the front.

This is incredibly confusing and inconsistent. A clothing company showing different angles of the same type of product is breaking a cardinal rule of product presentation.

OK, so onto the actual shirts. Why is Bird Collective showing the backs of some shirts and the fronts of others?

Because those cute state-themed shirts have this on the front:


Why does anyone make a cool shirt and put the cool stuff on the back? Bird people are INTO birds, so I don’t think they would take issue with the reason you would buy this shirt being on the front.

In addition, “New Jersey Birding” is not a group you can join, that isn’t a logo that would make sense. It’s just there.

Also, what is the additional cost of printing on both sides? I imagine it would have been cheaper to produce tees only printed on the front.

This is a huge miss. If anyone reading this knows why this would be done, please comment or tweet me and let me know.

In conclusion, here are my recommendations for Bird Collective.

  • Find a way to sell the state-themed shirts that is more up-front about the fact that the majority of the design is on the back.
    • Create a hero image that indicates that the main design is on the back
  • Rethink the design of the state-themed shirts for future production. Identify why the design was created that way to begin with. The other shirts on the site are not printed on multiple sides so switching the state-themed shirts over for future production runs should be considered.

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I’ve become more acquainted with Wayfair since purchasing a house last year. Recently, I was drawn in by an email promising me deep discounts on area rugs.

It worked and within minutes, my husband and I had chosen a rug for the living room and I started the checkout process.

It wasn’t long before I got to entering my payment information. You’ll understand my surprise at seeing this choice of font in the space for me to choose the expiration dates for my credit card.

What is even happening. Every other font on their website is clear and easy to read. Why isn’t the font shown elsewhere in this screenshot also in these dropdown menus?

I was shocked by this and immediately took this screenshot.

Then I got my confirmation email…

It is unreadable. I work in e-commerce for a store that isn’t even close to being as big as Wayfair, and I find myself feeling lots of sympathy for what HAS to be a mistake. It is a mistake, right?

I don’t know if it is possible that my browser is using this font as a replacement for another one, I almost hope so, but still, this is massively frustrating.

I’ll be sure to send a tweet to Wayfair about this – and hope that someone else has already noticed this issue.

UPDATE – They might have had someone else already report this issue, as my shipping email looked much better! I hope this means that they got the news that the other font was a mess.

{ Comments on this entry are closed } Design Issues | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 22, 2019

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My parents have a newish puppy, and when I visited recently, became acutely aware that the toughest toys ever are necessary for even a 12-pound Boston Terrier. More interest in finding toys that will take longer for him to destroy led me to

I have some thoughts based on the screenshot above.

  • Logo
    • I find it a bit hard to read and wish it was bigger. I do understand that with the other choices made in the header that there is not much room to increase logo size.
  • Header Offers
    • I absolutely understand the reasoning behind putting information about free shipping and a discount in the header so that it appears on each page, but there is a LOT of information here, and it might be too much for someone to stop and read instead of skipping to the shopping part.
  • Need Help/Phone Number
    • If the phone number is in white font over a black background, why have the messaging above it in grey? It seems like a weird time to suddenly be subtle.
  • ‘Top Picks” and “Hot” Flags
    • Something else I think is crowding the situation and isn’t necessary. I think that if a customer has made it to a website called, they probably have an idea of why they are visiting. There is already so much happening in this header, I think the labels could be sacrificed and the customers will still be able to navigate without issue.
  • Show (number) Dropdown
    • How is there not an option to show all?! If not show all, there should be a review of the average number of items per category to determine the best options for how many items to view per page. I can attest from years of experience in e-commerce to knowing that many people prefer an option to view all results.

Here’s another screenshot to discuss another dropdown:

  • “Sort By” Dropdown
    • What does “position” mean here? There is absolutely no indication, and it is the default option on this main page for “chew toys.”
    • I am also not sure that Product Name and Color are best used as sorting tools in a dropdown, I would rather see a filter on the left side to choose a color or a product type.
    • Price is an obvious choice here, but I would like to see options for “Price Low to High” or “Price High to Low” instead of relying on the small arrow to the right for the customer to control that function.

That’s all I have on this for now. I love this website – toys that take your dog longer than 30 minutes to eviscerate are good! I am, however, generally always interested in creating the most value in terms of customer experience with the least possible amount of clutter on the screen.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments or tweet me!

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Bluemercury, Part 2 | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 13, 2014

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Click here for part 1 of my experience with Bluemercury from January 23, 2014.

As I always do, I tweeted the last blog post after it went live in January – alerting Bluemercury to the major flaw in their free shipping countdown. I received a few tweets back:

It’s always lovely to receive feedback of this nature. I sent a follow-up email, as requested.

Barbara from Bluemercury got back to me with a response that wasn’t too specifically tied to my suggestions, but indicated I would get a blue box sent my way.

I was tagged on Instagram when the box was packed and on the way. I loved this way of letting me know that a box was on the way.

The box arrived a few days later, and was I not right about how great this packaging is?

Matching tissue paper.

It was filled with samples, which was lovely.

So, a big thanks to Bluemercury for sending the box. Of course, I had to go back and check to see if any of the issues I had brought up on their site had been addressed. I assumed that the shipping calculator issue would have been the first thing to fix, since it was obviously broken.

Surprisingly, as of March 12, the shipping calculator in the header is still broken.

My suggestion to add something here letting the user know that the item will be gift-wrapped for free (with perhaps an indication of what the lovely packaging looks like) has not been taken either. Even if a photo wasn’t being added, an indication that the item will be wrapped would be nice here.

The grammar and punctuation review hasn’t been completed either. Still hanging sentences and inconsistencies between language and buttons.

In the past year and a half, I have managed the re-launch of an e-commerce website with 3,000 SKUs. I know the struggle of making these things work, there’s always a quirk to deal with. However, the fact that the broken shipping calculator hasn’t been fixed is ridiculous. The other things I’ve brought up are more style suggestions than anything else, but the shipping issue is a basic function that is broken, and should be addressed immediately as it is incredibly confusing to customers.

I will follow-up again to see if these issues are addressed on


If you’re a brand who would like to be included in the brand experience project, please send me an email.


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Bluemercury | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on January 23, 2014

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

Click here for part 2 of the Bluemercury brand experience.

I placed my first order with Bluemercury a while back. My apologies for having no idea when it was, I cannot find a confirmation email for my initial purchase. It’s not often that I would go to such a niche site to buy things, because I can get so many of my products from either Amazon, or use Ulta or Sephora. The reason I went back to Bluemercury was because of a blue box.

Check this image from the Hyperbalist to see the Bluemercury blue box that I am talking about.

The blue box inside the package I received was so gorgeous and lovely that I still have the box. I store my light scarves and handkerchiefs in it, and I placed the order with Bluemercury because I expected another blue box. Let’s see how this all worked out.

Shopping Experience

The homepage is well-designed, for the most part. I believe that there could be a lot of consolidation in the menu options. I really love the little shopping bag that takes you to the cart, I think it’s darling. There are also a lot of spaces on the homepage for different items and such to be promoted. It’s a good use of the space, although I wonder how many shoppers are going down so far on the homepage before they’ve used the search feature or the top navigation to move on to their intended item.

I used the Brands dropdown menu to go straight to Mario Badescu, the brand I came to find. I really like this feature and wonder if more sites should embrace this sort of menu in the site navigation.

Here is where the site starts to get a little wonky for me. I’m taken immediately to a Mario Badescu brand page, which is great. However, the tab says “view all” and I’m not viewing all. The tab should be re-named “all products” unless the “view all” is the default option.

After clicking “view all,” I was treated to a 5-6 second wait with a blank screen (seen above) before the items appeared. An indication that the items are loading would be a good addition here.

I’m fine with the presentation of items here. The name of the item, the image, and the price are super clear, and you can either access a pop-up quick view, or click “view details” for the product page.

Here’s the quick view. I see no issues with this, other than a missed opportunity to ask for a product review. In addition, the stars with “in stock” right underneath without space could suggest that these 2 things are somehow related.

On the full product page, my issue with a missing call out to write a review is resolved, as is the “in stock” mention.

Instead of a pop-up telling me I added to my cart, I am actually taken to the cart. I have no major issues with this page, but I do think the “continue shopping” button could be moved to above the list of products in my cart.

I then noticed that there’s a message telling me I’m $7 away from free shipping. I find this odd because it very clearly says in the navigation that I don’t get free shipping until I hit $25.

After adding a second bottle of facial spray, I do in fact confirm that the message in the header is backwards, and telling me the wrong number. I am not $14 away from free shipping. I am actually now $11 away from free shipping. This obviously needs to be fixed.

After all of that drama, I would appreciate a message at the top telling me that I have qualified for free shipping.


Samples are always a good idea. I have definitely purchased products after having samples. The samples are coming from the manufacturers, it costs next to nothing to add the weight to the box, it’s a win-win-win.

This page is pretty straightforward, but the line breaks on the right (see “gift wrapped” and “quantity”) are bugging me.

My pet peeve for no link to a pop-up with shipping information is poking at me here. I appreciate the descriptions on the shipping data, but the ground information is not helpful. Especially because the actual shipping page has a convenient ground shipping map with information on how long a package will take to get to you based on your state. Put a link to a new window with this shipping page!

Back to the blue box issue. I am expecting it because I’ve received it in the past. But I see no mention of it here, and no option for gift wrap.

Other than a lack of variety in the payment methods, I had no problems in this area.

Nitpicky, yes, but please have someone review sentence structure and punctuation. Don’t tell me to “then click Place Order” when the button says “place your order.” I just want there to be consistency, and also, if the idea is that you are trying to be high-end, things like this do matter.

I like the confirmation email. It’s super clear, it gives you lots of opportunities to contact Bluemercury if you have questions or concerns. Billing, shipping, returns, it’s all there. Good job.


I was really excited to receive my Bluemercury box. I didn’t buy products that were lifechangers, these are Mario Badescu products that I was refilling, but I really wanted that blue box.

The box was not customized, but the tape was, so that was fun.

From previous brand experience project posts, you know that I am a stickler for good treatment of the packing list! This one was nicely folded in half, right on top of the box. Props to the box for having a fold back lid as well.

They are messy but I do enjoy the crinkly package filler. It’s also much better for the earth than some packing peanuts.

Unfortunately, disappointment was in the box along with my products. The magical blue box is missing from my order. I have no idea if they have phased the blue box out of online orders, or perhaps there is a purchase minimum for inclusion of the blue box? I would love for someone from Bluemercury to let me know what happened to the best online order packaging I had ever received.

I haven’t scored in a while and it was more difficult than I remembered. The overall experience was fine, right, because I placed an order for certain things, and they ended up arriving to my home without any issues or problems. There were just a number of issues I had during the process that frustrated me, and definitely need to be adjusted, particularly the free shipping countdown situation.

Have you shopped, or gone back to a site to shop again because of a past experience? Did it live up to your expectations? Leave a comment!

Click here for part 2 of the Bluemercury brand experience.


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