In July 2010 Realitus were awarded the an IMA award for the design of The Watch Hut e commerce website. The Interactive Media Award (IMA) is the most prestigious of international awards for web design. The reason is that the IMA does not focus on coding issues, but addresses user focused criteria that impact on how effective a website from the customer’s perspective.
The website was designed substantially throughout November and December 2009 and then technical issues and development flaws ironed out with Netsposure, the site’s developers. The site launched in June 2010 and the award was made only six weeks later in July 2010.
My starting point was a rather frightening set of challenges. I first realised how much detail there is in some watches, how many technical features, stylistic considerations, sizes, colours, materials etc. not to mention price bands, and brands. You then have to multiply that by six thousand watches to arrive at the enormity of the task. And the question facing you is ‘create an interface so that people can navigate through all of that and choose the right watch within three clicks’. I realised that a selection and purchasing interface for The Watch Hut was going to have to incorporate some new and very radical ways of doing things.
So, when I redesigned www.thewatchhut.co.uk I had to find a way to provide, in a single simple view, all you need to locate, explore and examine any of 6000 watches, from Tag to Swatch and everything in between.
The design initially focused on the the product page. This is like no other purchasing interface on the web. It is a purchasing dashboard containing all the information you could ever need from: 3D video; large images, specs, ordering information, advanced navigation and filtering – everything in a single view.It tells you by the second how long you have to order the watch for next day delivery, it shows packaging options and technical specs and it does it in a clear and neat interface.
But the key to the design is in how simple it is to use it all. Moving from a home page the site dynamically generates landing pages collecting together all watches defined in any way the user wants. You can start by looking for any single attribute from the brand to the colour to the price – whatever you want and the site then presents you with all those watches in a single landing page. But it also gives you a really cleaver set of tools to allow you to hone your selection. It is possible to start with a view of six thousand watches and with two or three clicks on a filtering panel on the screen, eliminate all the watches that do not fit your view or your preference, leaving you with a personalised selection of watches all fitting your own choices from style to function to affordability.
The judges at The IMA have endorsed this approach with a massively impressive set of scores. From a maximum score of 500 the site scored 468 points, scoring:
- Design: 92
- Content: 97
- Feature Functionality: 98
- Usability: 96
- Standards Compliance & Cross-Browser Compatibility: 85
There were 57 entries submitted under the ‘E-Commerce’ category in the 2010 award year from around the world and the award has been made to only four sites, with the Watch Hut being the only UK site honoured.
The award is published online though the IMA website at Interactive Media Awards Winner 2010 – Outstanding Achievement for The Watch Hut