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Universal Standard is a brand that I do like, but don’t LOVE. I appreciate their mission to dress all bodies in size 0-40, because that isn’t happening enough, but I do wish that there were more items available and that they had a bit more variety in style.

A further exploration of that is for another time. For now, I wanted to briefly explore the size dropdown menu on Universal Standard product pages.

Here is a typical product page. This time for these cute Sava jeans.

On the right are the typical buttons, for selecting your size and then to add the item to your cart.

Here’s where I get confused. How is this the choice that they have made regarding the size dropdown? With so many sizes available, why has no effort been made to abbreviate the effort to find a larger size? There is clearly plenty of space to create columns in order to avoid this.

I was especially surprised to see this clunky presentation of size choices when I saw this “quick shop” feature on a page with a number of products:

This DEFINITELY needs to be replicated on the individual product page. It’s much cleaner and more concise than the incredibly long, space-wasting dropdown that is currently on the website.

Let me know how you would improve this dropdown on Twitter or in the comments below.

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It’s a great time to be a lover of all things makeup. Makeup brands have exploded in growth in recent years, and inevitably, new brands are also coming out at a regular clip. A recent launch was that of Laura Lee Los Angeles, a brand by makeup YouTuber Laura Lee.

I am not a watcher of Laura Lee. I know about her but I don’t watch her channel. I started hearing some things about her initial launch and I went to check it out. Naturally, I can’t look at an e-commerce site without some kind of issue, but I haven’t run into a content issue like this before.

Let’s take a look.

I don’t understand this. This content is a mess of grammatical and spelling errors. (I heard after taking this screenshot that it was actually worse before I got to it. I do know that the original name was Cats Pajama’s, which is grammatically painful.)

Let’s go through this point by point.

  • I don’t like that the product name has a break. I would manually add a break to put “eyeshadow palette” on the second line.
  • Bullet 1 is pretty terrible. It’s like a run-on sentence, but not. Why they didn’t use additional bullets like those used below? It should look like this.
    • 10 highly pigmented, pressed-powder eyeshadows
    • 5 matte shadows
    • 4 shimmer shadows
    • 1 semi-matte/satin shadow
  • Bullet 2. “Smoky” doesn’t have an E, but the whole bullet is problematic. This bullet should read something like this:
    • This palette is extremely versatile; create everything from a light everyday look to a dark, smoky eye
  • Bullet 3. (Which is no longer here on the live site.) Cruelty-free should be hyphenated, and I’m curious now to know if that underlined text was a link to their practices in production and packaging and how exactly they are defining the product as cruelty-free and vegan.
  • Bullet 4, another one that doesn’t flow in any normal way. Update:
    • The luxe palette, featuring the eyeshadows and a mirror, is proudly produced in the United States
  • Bullet 5, more extremely questionable grammar. This could be as simple as:
    • Perfect for use by everyone at every level of experience, from makeup beginners to professional artists
  • Bullet 6. Even the intro to the color list is strange. Here’s where you add the palette name again to boost SEO. “The Cat’s Pajamas palette features the following colors:” would be perfect.
  • Bullet 7. Inconsistent capitalization, and a general lack of clarity. I’m guessing that “domestic” means in the United States, because the palette is produced there. However, is my shipping free if I am in Alaska or Hawaii, or is shipping only free in the contiguous United States?
    • Free ground shipping on orders over $100 shipping in the contiguous United States. Click here for complete information on shipping destinations, prices, and options. (In which the “click here” text would open a pop-up or a new tab or window to a complete shipping information page.

I have said at least a few times before that I believe in the power of editors and copywriters. The impression that a brand gives with terrible grammar and punctuation is very detrimental to my opinion, and I am certain that I’m not the only person who responds to this sort of thing.

This palette is sold out, so perhaps the power of Laura Lee is enough to overcome bad grammar, at least for her followers. I will not be buying anything to go near my eyes from a company that cannot get it together in the copywriting department. This lack of attention to detail is incredibly disappointing, particularly for a brand that is just launching.

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I receive promotional emails from Dr Martens, and almost always open them. I am engaged with the brand and was excited to see a 40% off sale come into my inbox.

Things got unfortunate from there.

I have biggish feet, so I choose WOM 10 from the dropdown menu for size.

Why is the 9 there? I don’t wear a 9, I wear a 10 in Dr Martens shoes. I click the X next to the 9 to remove results that only apply to size 9.

Doing this unchecked both 9 and 10, so now I have all of the results again. This is INTENSELY frustrating to experience, and without being able to quickly skim which shoes were available in my size, I was over the shopping experience very quickly.

I hope that Dr Martens can get their website filters sorted soon, so that my next shopping experience is less frustrating.

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2015 AAA Renewal | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on August 3, 2015

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Click here to read last year’s frustrated post about trying to renew my membership to AAA.

It is that time again, and I went online to try and renew my membership to AAA. In addition, it occurred to me that my husband Will isn’t on the plan, so he would need to be added. Let’s try this again!

They have updated their homepage, and it does look much more modern than last year. I am noticing the MUCH smaller social callouts, which I don’t understand at all. Why hide them?

I click the handy “renew” button in the upper right corner. There are a LOT more options at the top there, last year it was “login” and “my account.”

Hmm. This is the exact same page as last year, which suggests that the homepage update was only that. A homepage update.

I successfully enter my info and click “login.”

And here we go again.

  1. There is no way here to change the plan I have, either to upgrade or downgrade.
  2. There is no option to add another person.

I know I said “renew,” but this is ridiculous. This design is awful.

I decide to click “renew” and see what happens.

Seriously? I am sent to a different website to have my payment processed, and the page I am on says absolutely nothing about what I am purchasing for $84.

How can this be their system?!? This is a major service in the US, and one with limited competition (I know many car companies offer roadside assistance, but as far as I can tell, AAA doesn’t have any major competition offering the services they do.)

I clicked the cancel button. I am so, so irritated with this system. I decide to click around and see if there’s a way for me to do this another way.

I decide to go to “join” instead.

This page is the same as the one I looked at last year. It is still terrible. The footer looks different, but they have chosen a heinous blue font that is completely unreadable on a blue background. Come on.

I go ahead and fill in my information and indicate that I want to add another person.

I skipped a screenshot of the previous page, where I had to enter my husband’s name and birthday. This page is an improvement over the renewal payment page, at least I’m still in the realm of AAA here. What I don’t understand is why the words “encrypted and secure” are in a tiny font (is it a secret?), and I click to read what it says, hoping for a pop-up box, since I certainly don’t want to leave the page where I might have entered my personal information. I am, not surprisingly, disappointed, since the link opens another page, in the same tab.

Why. Why is this not information that could be in a pop-up box?

While we are at it, the AAA website is also in desperate need of a copy editor. The “certificate identification” isn’t clear, and the word “online” is randomly capitalized, and why mention the site identification authorities and not just name the ones you use?

I closed my browser window after this. I am undecided on renewing my membership.

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Missing The Mark #3 | NY DMV

by Jamie Sanford on April 1, 2015

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I have been told recently that my use of a GPS Device (a Garmin) is ridiculous since my phone has a map functionality. (I bought a new car last year that has a lot of phone integration but not a big navigation screen.)

I should have listened to myself and kept using it, since I managed to get a ticket in NYC last week for using my phone to access the map while driving. I should have stuck to the Garmin.

Anyway, I accept that the officer was uninterested in the fact that I showed him the map, so I ended up with the ticket. It is OK, I accept the ticket and will totally pay it and not use my phone as a map in the car anymore.

This is where it goes downhill. I received the ticket in the morning, and then tried to log on to the NY DMV website in order to pay it in the afternoon, thinking that it would be in the system so I could give them my money easily. It turns out that this isn’t the case.

Going to the direct link they gave me to “e-plead,” it seemed like all I needed was my information and the ticket and I would be able to pay the fine without issue.

On this page, I chose to enter my name and birthdate, since my NJ driver’s license number isn’t the same length as the NY licenses. I entered everything correctly and clicked “submit.”

Fast forward to 5 days later, and I’ve been experiencing this error every single time. I was told by someone else (who doesn’t work for the DMV) that since my ticket was handwritten that it might take a few days to show up in the system, but come on. It is 2015. This is ridiculous. You’ll note that this error page in NO WAY indicates that your ticket might not have been entered into the system yet. Today, I decided to click the link to contact the Traffic Violations Bureau.

I called this number and went through about 5 different menu trees, then managed to be put on hold for over 15 minutes, all while having to endure a repeated torture of steel drum music.

The jig is up, New York, I am fully aware that I am NOT in a tropical locale with no cares in the world.

So when someone picks up to talk to me, I clearly state that I’ve been trying to pay my ticket online, but that I keep getting an error. She asks me for the ticket number and the day I received the ticket. After making me hold again, she comes back with a simple “It isn’t in the system, you should pay it in person or send a check in the mail.” Absolutely no mention of a delay, when it might be available to pay online, nothing.

What the hell? This seems like a MASSIVE issue within the NY ticketing system. I was initially shocked when I was handed the yellow carbon copy of the ticket I received, with all of my information written on there by hand. Who does that in 2015? I cannot possibly believe that the NYPD doesn’t have a computer in all of its cars for this reason, especially traffic cops who are giving tickets out all day.

Anyway, so now I do not know what to do. I was not given an envelope to pay this ticket by mail, and I don’t really want to pay that way, since I will not have proof of payment until the check is cashed. This is why I wanted to pay it online. I am not in NYC enough to have an opportunity to go pay it in person.

This system is in dire need of a review and revamp. I do not think I would be writing this post if they had posted something on the website about a delay between receiving the ticket and having it be available for payment, but at the same time, the back of the ticket says I only have 15 days to pay it. How long can I wait for this to come available online? So late that I should have just sent a check?

NY DMV webmasters, please feel free to contact me if you would like me to consult on how to fix this dated and frustrating system.

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