Banana Republic Web Reflection

To begin I should tell you how I chose Banana Republic as a site to review. The days of me wearing BR and rocking croakies with white mid socks are long behind me. Rather, I was browsing through a mall catalog trying to find stores that had design patterns I wanted to use for my version of Mirror. When I clicked on the product page of Banana Republic I knew I had found a winner. Coming from a brand that I associated with college kids, it had a mature vibe to it and the architecture of the site was phenomenal. Throughout all my user research a common theme held true; users wanted to know exactly what they were buying.

Immediately, on the product page of the desktop site, the price in red catches your eye and then it is quickly followed by to the star reviews next to it. Once you know how much it is and if it is a good piece of clothing overall, you can quickly see the details of the piece of clothing. An example of perfect product funneling. Looking at the mobile site the designers did a great job of keeping all the functionalities of the desktop site without seeming over bearing with features. My favorite part of the page is towards the bottom where the slider reviews are located. This is something that I have been trying to incorporate into my personal design of Mirror. I think this gives clear, immediate feedback to the user. Something that new shoppers are always looking for.

As I continued to browse and I began adding things I liked to my cart my attention shifted. I loved the popup that confirms you have placed an item in your cart. A majority of my participants felt that they needed reassurance when shopping because they would sometimes be confused if they saved an item or placed it in cart. Keeping with the theme of suggesting recommended pieces of clothing the cart pop up includes other items users can quickly add to their bag.

Once I was ready for checkout I proceeded to the cart page. Outside of having the normal design patterns one would expect they added a few touches that I believe sent it over the top. First is the prompt to sign up for a member credit card and save 20% on orders. I love the constant push to get the user more intwined into the site while still providing value at each turn. Secondly, the progress bar showing how far the user is from free shipping is a small feature that has a profound impact on users. Peoples desire to pay less sometimes causes them to pay more. Not wanting to have to pay for shipping triggers many users to add more stuff to their cart ultimately raising their total higher.

All in all for a company that I saw as being more antiquated in their styles, Banana Republic had some of the best UI design patterns and functionalities I had found on my research for Mirror. As the saying goes don’t judge a book by its cover.

Aero Engineer, UX Designer, Personal Trainer, and model.... I wear many hats.