Play.com

Splendid helped one of the UK's leading online retailers deliver a new user experience to drive traffic and increase user engagement.

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Play.com is a Jersey-based online retailer of DVDs, CDs, books, gadgets, video games, DRM-free mp3 downloads, and other electronic products, as well as clothes and accessories. Founded in 1998, Play.com was one of the first online retailers targeting the UK. It is the second biggest online retailer in the UK market, according to traffic monitor Hitwise, and it is in the top 50 globally.

They have over 7 million registered customers and they wanted to re-design the whole site to create a better user experience, increase sales and provide a platform for future functional developments. Splendid were the agency who delivered this user experience project.

The project licked off with a series of future thinking Proof Of Concepts projects with Microsoft that explored different aspects of the user experience and how it can be enhanced with new technology such as Silverlight, integrated Instant Messenger and social shopping. These projects were used to drive commercial and user experience ideas that would be rolled into the re-design of play.com.

Over a period of 12 months we worked through an iterative cycle of projects, each targeting an element of the tactical site redesign while in parallel working on a "play.com 2.0" long term redesign. The project started with extensive research, competitive analysis and multiple usability testing sessions with users to get a benchmark for improvement and start to highlight the key areas for improvement.

The objectives were;

  • Revise the site information architecture and navigation structure to allow more content sections and easier navigation between sections
  • To develop the search aspects of the site to allow filtering and refinement
  • To increase conversion and sell through of related products

The revised visual design was a crucial aspect of the project as research had shown that users were very loyal to the brand and felt it was their own, a very personal and friendly brand. We couldn't lose these aspects but had to address how the brand was expressed online to enhance usability and the page layout.

These two work-streams then gave us a roadmap of work to be delivered over 12 months; instead of the "big bang" approach we had staged delivery of new functionality and design spread over this period. This had the added benefit of giving us ongoing live data on the results of changes that could be fed back into the next round of design.
All interaction design, usability design and visual design undertaken by Splendid working with the play.com team in London and on-site in Cambridge.

Usability testing was by Flow Interactive

"I hired Splendid in 2007 to work on numerous design and user experience engagements within Play, after being brought together by Mircosoft for a Microsoft-led POC in 2006. Paul and his team were a real joy to work with. They were all down to earth, understood Play's needs very well and were able to demonstrate both a solid grasp of future trends for us as well as the ability stay grounded in the practicalities of our day-to-day trading environment. They were great listeners, and consequently made working in a collaborative environment an exceptionally easy and fun thing to do. It was also clear that this corporate culture at Splendid was not just endorsed, but led, by Paul's and the Splendid management team's stewardship. I would work with them again in a heartbeat."

Paul Zimmerman Commercial Director, Play.com

Next project

www.play.com

Project lead Paul Bishop

For more information please call - +44 (0)20 7395 4800 or email info@howsplendid.com

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