Bluefly.com: E-commerce Analysis
Bluefly.com is visually a very busy site. The top level navigation or text links for your ‘shopping cart’ in the top right hand corner and even the ‘my account, ‘login’ or ‘register here’ in the middle of the page are very easy to miss. The reason being that the site keeps rotating a couple of image ads, that fly in from the right with very little delay between them, in the middle of the page and it’s really distracting. I had to pause the ads so that I could look at the rest of the site and not be distracted.
Once the ads were paused, I noticed the primary navigation bar is blue and has white text that blends too well with the two shades of blue that the designer used. The navigation bar includes the Bluefly image link in the left hand corner that serves as a back to the homepage link for anyone that wants to start back at square one — this is a standard feature on most sites. A search box is also included at this level, but on the right side and it has an additional search filter that lets the user select a category to search under. So even though the search box is another feature that I have been seeing on a lot of e-commerce sites, the additional filter at this level is new. Below this, the primary navigation has nine categories: women; shoes; handbags & accessories; men; trends; new arrivals; sale; designers; and B*Fly. Like the other e-commerce sites, this primary navigation bar shows up on all the pages of the site, and it doesn’t matter if they are first, second, third level, etc. However, when you click on a top category you are taken to a secondary level page and a progress bar is applied to the left hand column. From that point on, selecting a designer or category via the left hand progress bar takes you to a level three page that displays a breadcrumb to show you how you got there, and the additional filtering options you can apply to narrow down your search. Like other sites, it seems to want to take you into the site as far as you need to go while letting you see how you can back out. Another standard practice that Bluefly uses and that I want to note is the graying out of areas that are not that important or currently not in use.
As for the application of images, they are used everywhere on the site as ads. Different types of font are also used on the ads, for example the Gucci ad that rotates on the home page uses a font that has ligatures. Based on the images, it also appears that women are the primary audience and yet the site does have a primary navigation category called ‘men’ and a ‘Men’s Monach Sportswear’ ad on the home page. Either men are really using this site, or the women who visit it are shopping for boyfriends and husbands. And,
Regarding social network links to facebook, twitter and even “follow our CEO on twitter” are placed at the bottom of the site, similar to Overstock.com. It appears that for e-commerce sites, the social network element is not as important as helping the user find a product they want to buy.
After spending a lot of time on the site, it has too many fonts, too many photos and too many colors. The blue seems to pick up a variety of colors from the photos and it makes the ads blend with the site.