corwinm — 2012-02-09T16:00:36-05:00 — #1
Time to put up my site for review and see what people think, as I just finished a pretty extensive work on it, it's still very new and I don't have much traffic yet.
It's a shopping comparison and price alerts site. The idea is simple, I want users to be able to find products and current prices everywhere and have the ability to get email alerts when a lower price is available for a product they are interested in.
What I'm mainly interested in is functionality review, how easy it is for users to understand how the site work, find the products they want and understand and use the email alert option. Of course if you have any other tips or suggestions I'd be happy to hear.
Don't be nice, be truthful. If it's not a site you would check out when you want to find the best price for a product, I want to know why. As I like to say "I'm trying to improve my site, not my ego"
The site is: http://idealchooser.com
Would love to hear what you think,
ralphm — 2012-02-09T19:44:32-05:00 — #2
My first comment is that when I land on the site, it's not really clear what it's for or how it works. I can guess, of course, but I recommend you make a really clear statement about what it's for to reassure visitors that they are in the right place. If it's not fully clear what the site is for and how it works, I tend to have no trust in it and leave very quickly. You can't rely on FAQs etc. to help with this.
Hello! iDealChooser is an easy way to [insert details here]. Just [simple get started tip here]. So give it a try, and let us know what you think!
Just a rough suggestion.
jimrohades — 2012-02-10T00:52:39-05:00 — #3
i like the neat appearance of the website. it's easy to navigate too but it would be better that shoppers would be able to know some description of the products. the picture doesn't show the actual size of the product. so for me, i would suggest that you put under details or maybe another column under description of the products dimension, size, available colors etc.
flix — 2012-02-11T12:23:37-05:00 — #4
You absolutely need a few popular products and images on the homepage. Forcing users to choose categories, then subcategories, then brands etc. guarantees you a huge bounce rate.
I'm not sure why the navigation tabs are on the bottom? Unless you have a specific reason otherwise, it should definitely be at the top of the page.
On your contact page, clicking on the main logo does not take you to the homepage. It appears that it behaves like a submit button.
corwinm — 2012-02-11T16:50:38-05:00 — #5
Thank you for your tips guys. I really appreciate the help.
Ralph: I thought about it, actually had some more text on the home page, but people kept telling me nobody reads it anyway. I'm not sure which is the better solution.
Jimrohades: It's a good idea, a bit hard to implement because I have many different data providers and merchants, so there's no consistent way for me to get that information. I'll try to think how I might add something like that.
Flix: Great review! I'll think of a nice way to improve the homepage, it's not that simple because a potential shopper can look for anything like TV, shoes, furniture, so I'll need to come up with a good way to do that. I also guess you are right about the navigation buttons, you are the second one who mentioned this to me, I'll do it. Also great catch about the contact us button, I can't believe I missed it. Will be fixed as well.
Thanks a lot guys, these tips really help. More comments will be appreciated of course.
ralphm — 2012-02-11T19:06:14-05:00 — #6
Most people don't read street signs either, but it's still important to have them there, as there will always be someone visiting for the first time who needs the information. It won't be annoying to those who already know what the site is about, but it's needed to help new visitors understand what the site is for. The first thing I always look for on a new site I encounter is some clear information about what it's for. If I don't find it, I usually leave.
In your first post, you went into some detail about what the site is for. That always concerns me, because it suggests that, if we went to the site without that introduction, we wouldn't know what it's for. This should be a red flag to you that some explanation is needed on the site itself.
This (or a version of it) should be on your Home page (preferably with a link to more detailed information):
belsnickle — 2012-02-12T04:31:09-05:00 — #7
I also agree with Ralph, at the bare minimum you need a mission statement on there that both sells your service and serves as an extremely bare-bones FAQ. People(I did this) shouldn't be loading the site and going 'the hell is this for?' It's very off-putting and discourages digging deeper. I actually skimmed what you wanted to do and didn't read your description of the site before going there for so I wouldn't be seeing it as anything but what it was.
You also, with the current lay out make some promises of functionality to the end user you aren't keeping. For one any words floating up top like you currently do with 'Thousands of merchants', 'Millions of products', 'Price drop email alerts' are generally links. They read at the very least as places you can click for testimonials or, in the case of the second one, a browse-able catalog, it makes it needlessly confusing that they don't do these things.
Now for the personal problems that no one other than me will probably have. What's with the rounded corners? Why does everyone still think those are a good idea? They really are just unnecessary code that doesn't add to the visual appeal(and actively hurt in your case, see pills comment). You also don't need the unused space for the background, it limits what you can do with the page content and since the whole page is about selling product you don't need to have people feeling like something is missing, I keep finding my eyes drifting upwards to the shadow effect on the border like something should be happening that isn't that's just making it that much harder for me to browse the page. Finally, the likes button should be in the footer, no where else. I understand that it's a big plus to trying to sell your site but let it be something that doesn't draw from the site in the process. You want people to Like the site because they like the site not Like the site then forget about it because they got mentally redirected to Facebook for an hour.
Btw; why no space for visitor based monetizing options? Let your design at the very least be able to be modified to include low impact ads even if you don't intend to add them. Having that flexibility may make it easier on you in the future to add things without changing the feel.
Now for the good stuff, it's not a horrible first draft. It works, it knows what it is and wants to be. It's clear you value how it looks but that may be the biggest problem for you at this point. You're putting too much into the design aspect of the site and it's selling the functionality and feel short.
corwinm — 2012-02-13T12:38:33-05:00 — #8
Good point Ralph, I accept your very well explained argument and I'll look for a nice way to add this. I appreciate the time you took to explain your point in detail, it convinced me to do that.
Great review Belsnickle so many good ideas and things to think about.
I'll move the nav bar to the top so it won't feel upside down.
You surprised me by saying it's slow. As I spent a lot of time making sure it isn't. From my testing, the first page always loads in less than 4 seconds and a search is limited by 8 seconds, usually less. The only exception to this is a very complicated search which returns almost no results, resulting in a more in depth search with more providers, this is pretty rare and should still never pass 12 seconds. Do you have more details of what took you long too accomplish?
Interesting idea about making the top sentences links with more information, I added that to my "to do list", I'll think of some way of implementing it nicely.
Thanks a lot for the great feedback from everyone. If you have more I'd love to hear it.
belsnickle — 2012-02-13T17:01:04-05:00 — #9
Both the main page loading and the search execution. At the time I was running an audio stream and had someone else playing a game in the other room, both of which probably had an impact but, with my ISP I generally have a good speed rate so it's more or less an average-low speed rate at that point in time.
The other thing to note that I didn't think to mention at the time is that you'll probably get a lot of mobile phone traffic considering the site exists for price comparison and that's the most obvious time you need it, so doing away with things like pop-out menus certainly wouldn't hurt.
gregory1 — 2012-02-16T06:25:42-05:00 — #10
I too felt like "ralph.m", it may because the homepage is not having any content. If you add some text about the service it will be easy to understand.
austinbirdman — 2012-02-16T13:06:47-05:00 — #11
I see there are a lot of previous posts, so I'll keep mine quick and to the point.
I just recently finished purchasing a new t.v. and computer (after our house was robbed), and spent quite a bit of time shopping online to get the right products. I would not have used your site. Here's why:
I could not sift the tv results by any meaningful categories. There are hundreds of tv options. While shopping recently, I was comparing very specific models - HD 1080P 46" and 50" plasmas. If you can't deliver results with that specifity, the site will not be useful to consumers, of tv's anyway.
The results for tvs also delivered tons of peripheral tv products. One look at that and I (as a prospective customer) am out of there. I don't have time to wade through an ineffective database engine. There are so many good options that will allow me to zero in on what I want, why wade through the a bunch of peripheral items (and wrong tv sizes, and wrong tv types)?
If I want to browse a lot of items, vs. conducting a targeted search, then like most consumers I will go to sites that can guide me with recommendations, reviews, and articles, but I won't browse through a chaotic jumble of products.
I also did not have confidence your results were comprehensive. I just recenly purchased a Dell tablet PC for my daughter, but Dell was not an option in your tablets category.
The price category only sorted from least expensive to most expensive - should go both ways if you're doing it.
It's very cool you can hook into all this information - very impressive. But without targeted categories, it's not of use to a consumer.
My recommendation would be to experiment with one very popular product category and zero in on the user-friendly categories needed to make that work. And if you can't do that, I'd move on.
corwinm — 2012-02-16T14:20:42-05:00 — #12
Thanks for the great reviews.
Belsnickle, I'm hoping it was your internet traffic that was slowing you down. I think that's the case because it doesn't match my own tests and other comments. About the mobile devices compatibility, I pay close attention to it. On any mobile device, the mouseover popups will be seen as buttons and an identical functionality will work.
Gregory, thanks for strengthening Ralph's suggestion, I accept it and will add it on my next site update.
Austinbirdman, thank you very much for the detailed review. You missed part of the intended use I was planning for my site, this is not your fault but mine, since users misunderstanding the functionality means it wasn't presented well. For example, check out this page:
link which you get by running a search for "HD 1080P 46" LCD", this is exactly a list of all 46" 1080P LCD televisions, you can easily add the model and see even more exact results. You can make your search as specific as you like. I am not sure how to make it more intuitive, I'm far from being a UI expert, I would be happy to get more suggestions from you or anyone else if you have an idea.
Regarding the categories, these are just a general idea, far from being comprehensive list, just few "search ideas", you can easily type "dell tablet" and get a very nice selection of Dell Tablets as well as all sellers and prices when you pick one. Again, I see why the current presentation is misleading and I'd be happy for suggestions of how to make it more user friendly and intuitive.
Thanks again for all the reviews, this thread was giving me many things to think about and many improvement ideas for my site and I really appreciate your comments.
austinbirdman — 2012-02-16T15:05:16-05:00 — #13
corwinm - wow, yes, I totally missed that. I just tried the site the way you suggested and this time, I found the results quite useful. Here's what I did differently (following your suggestion) - perhaps this could help you give directions to new users:
- typed in Plasma 46
- typed in Panasonic Plasma 46
- cut and paste one of the model numbers I saw into the search box Panasonic VIERA TC-P ... etc - this didn't work so well
- cut and paste just Panasonic VIERA 46
- Finally, I clicked on one of the links, expecting to see a vendor's listing
- BINGO: Instead, a screen came up with 8 listings at different vendors
Getting people to step 6 should be your objective. Once I got there, I was really happy to see 8 listings - they popped up super-fast, I recognized the vendors, and I was ready to use the site as a resource for checking prices.
One suggestion: The initial listings I saw from steps 1-5 above were a bit confusing. Because of their design, I expected each result there to be an individual product listing. It did not occur to me until I got the results from step 6 that I would see the individual product listings (at different vendors) only when i clicked on one of the links generated in steps 1-5. I might have figured this out faster if the language on the first results screen directed me to see X number of price offers, and perhaps also if the price info on that first page said "Average price" - something like "Avg Price: $892 - 8 vendors".
I still had trouble with a few trial searches. I simulated looking for a 50inch Samsung LCD tv, and the initial results were all for 46 inchers.
But now that I see how the site functions, it looks much more promising.
corwinm — 2012-02-17T12:25:16-05:00 — #14
Thank you Austinbirdman, I'm really glad to hear you changed your mind once I explained better what my site does and this really made me realize I need to make it more obvious to new visitors.
I just deployed a new version, implementing many of the suggestions I got in this thread, at least the ones that were quick to implement. My to-do list is still very long. I would be happy to hear if you find it better.
Thanks again for all the great reviews, my site definitely looks better now thanks to all the helpful comments and I have more ideas of improvements to work on.
wolflin_media — 2012-02-17T19:51:43-05:00 — #15
Goodlooking site, but a little vague. Tough niche to go into (with the advent of local sites and Groupon), so my only recommendation would become a little more clear and really develop your unique selling advantage. Adage for consideration: only the #2 and down compete with each other; #1 focuses on themselves to do what they do VERY well. Cheers
system — 2012-02-19T04:55:36-05:00 — #16
Nice site-good idea!!Just need a pic. on all items....Good luck!!!
brownsugar — 2012-02-19T15:47:38-05:00 — #17
the layout is fairly easily to follow
the color choice isn't great (purple on white?) but at least it is original
when i select "more details" on the item it takes me to an empty page.. I dont think the "more details" page is complete yet
there are also a lot oof missing images when searching.. try to search for "xbox" to see what I mean
otherwise itis a pretty good site
wilcoxa — 2012-02-20T18:46:51-05:00 — #18
The site is very simply laid out, but when i was on the site i didn't really know what it was. I like the idea but I think you need some products that customers are familiar with on the homepage so they know what it is all about. and honestly I wasn't impressed with the overall color of it. Just didnt make me want to buy anything through the site. Possibly try some different theme colors out, and find what fits best for your customers and for what you are trying to accomplish. On the other hand, like i said, it was very easily laid out for me to navigate around which is very important, especially today. Overall, Nice job.
corwinm — 2012-02-21T12:26:49-05:00 — #19
Thanks for the review guys.
Wolflin, Groupon and deal sites aren't my competitors, their MO is finding you deals which you can take if you are interested, mine is to find a specific product you are interested in, get you all the sellers, the lowest prices and alerts for price drops. I'm not sure what you meant by "become a little more clear and really develop your unique selling advantage"
Brown Sugar, you surprised me, empty page when you select "more details"? That I haven't seen before, do you know what you did to get this? I haven't seen this before and I didn't see any error at the logs, so I'm really not sure how you got this.
About the missing pictures, yeah I know it happens sometimes and I'm trying to find a way around it. If a provider doesn't supply a picture, I don't show his products under "product search" the problem is that sometimes providers supply an image, but this immage is just text, like "no image" or "submit image" and my code currently has no way to detect it. I'm trying to come up with a creative solution to this.
Wilcoxa, what's wrong with purple and white? Seems like nice, not to painful on the eyes colors. Any specific suggestions or thoughts of why you don't like it?
Thanks again for all the reviews, each one really helps. I appreciate it.
psuedo — 2012-02-22T06:49:18-05:00 — #20
When I first went to your site, I was expecting ads on the home page and "Deal of the Day", type things. Most websites like these are flashy and yours is bare. I am not saying it is negative, but really I do not know what to think about it lol.
Welcome to iDeal Chooser, here you can find the lowest prices anywhere for any online product and get instant price drop alerts. Just type what you are shopping for and let iDeal Chooser find the best offers for you.
This statement is a good start, but when I read it I do not absorb it if you know what I mean. It could be the text or the layout. Maybe if it was something like:
iDeal Chooser is the source for online deals!
Why use Ideal
.Instant Price Alerts
.Best Deals On The Web
. Something Something
Etc.. Maybe using pullet points to let people know what you are about and how you can help them would attract people to use the search function.
You might want to experiment with more colors... The site kind of looks like a blog when you first land on it, but once you get to using it, the site is smooth and user friendly.
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