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Wire and Twine Analysis 4 May 2010

Posted by sbrashear in Design, e-commerce, Websites.
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Wire and Twine is boutique clothing site with a bit of mercantile thrown in for good measure. The clothing is designed by “a group of designers, coders, screenprinters, photographers, artists, moms, dads, and down-to-earth people,” according to the ‘About Us’ page. The screen-printed shirts are eclectic with various references to popular culture, from technical renderings of a Wii Controller and one of the first Compact Disc players to typographic designs from Subtraction.com.

The site uses WordPress. It is simple and easy on the eyes. However, the simplicity of the design belies a navigation nightmare. The home page opens with a featured product, just below the Wire and Twine header and navigation tabs. As the largest visual elements it attracts the eye. A user can scroll down through what appears to be other products arranged in a grid. And this is where the navigation nightmare begins. Nestled in next to three products is an image of three very small figurines of some sort or another. Underneath it are the world Our Studio Blog. There is nothing to differentiate it from the rest of the products except for the words themselves. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to why it is there and perhaps that is the intention. At the bottom of the grid is the newsletter sign up form.

Unless you know what you are looking for and, for that matter, looking at, there are few clues that describe the site’s purpose. The header simply reads” WIRE&TWINE. A subhead might be appropriate, expanding on the header. The tabs at the top are equally unhelpful. Simply labeled MENS, WOMENS and KIDS, doesn’t work. Not only are they missing apostrophes they don’t help further define what the site is selling. The picture of the featured product does help, but there should be more in the type that also hints to what the site is selling.

To improve its site Wire and Twine should make better use of the navigation tabs at the top. It should add and About Us tab, a Contact Us tab and Blog tab. It should also create a customer service tab and, perhaps, a sizing tab. All these options are available, but they are at the bottom of the page. Adding them to the top of the page would not impact its design. It would give users multiple places to find the different pages.

As it is a WordPress site most of these changes are simple, as would it be simple to remove the gray-blue background of the body on the home page so that it matches the other pages throughout the site.

Wire and Twine does make it easy to shop. It gives shoppers several views of its products even if those views are sometimes redundant. The option to view larger images is nice as well. The shopping cart is easy to use and find once a shopper has put something in it, a shipping estimator is also a nice touch.

Wire and Twine site is a bit of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Its design is simple, but its navigation leaves much to be desired. There are simple tweaks to the navigation that would make the site far easier to navigate, especially if and when it gets larger. The navigation problems will be amplified if the site expands.

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