Website usability is the holy grail to gaining and keeping consumers. If an individual visits your site and is unable to locate what they are looking for, they most likely will not return to the site, meaning this is a possible sale your brand missed out on. To combat this phenomenon, many websites feature a user-centric design. This week we will take a close look at the usability of the Aj Crimson website versus that of three of its competitors. To test usability, 3 respondents were asked to visit the website and complete 5 tasks. The 5 tasks were:
- By looking at the homepage, can you tell who the target audience is? Describe who you believe this site/brand is for.
- Navigate the website to locate a brown lipstick. How long did it take you to locate it?
- Can you locate where to sign up for the brand’s newsletter? How long did this take?
- Using the search bar on the website, type in “Foundation palette.” Were the results relevant? Were they what you expected?
- Are you able to view the product on a model? Are these images helpful?
Overall, respondents were able to easily navigate the Iman Cosmetics website. They each stated the target market is a mature woman, and the ages ranged from 25-45. Finding the brown lipstick took a bit longer than expected (about 3 minutes) because the site has a number of lip products that the respondents had to sift through. Each respondent was easily able to locate the newsletter, and it is conveniently listed at the bottom of the home page. This site does not sell foundation palettes but it did recommend foundation products instead. The one con my respondents had is that the site does not readily show the product (foundation or lipstick) on a model. There are videos attached at the bottom of the page, but they noted that they would prefer to click on a photo to view it.
Black Opal also had a few “bugs” in its usability. All three of my respondents used the search and typed in “brown lipstick.” To their surprise, nothing came up. Once again, they had to sift through many products to locate the one they were looking for, taking them anywhere from 2-4 minutes. When they searched “foundation palette” they were also directed to an empty results page. They noted that even if the brand does not sell palettes, they expected to see a suggested product (i.e regular foundations). The respondents each defined the target market the same way as they did the previous brand but noted that it was specifically for women of color. One respondent mentioned this brand may extend to women of 50 years of age. The bottom of the site has a “hear from us” where respondents were able to sign up for the newsletter. They noted that if they were not actively looking for the newsletter signup, they would have overlooked it because it blends in with the typical “bottom of the web page” items. Although the site features photos of customers wearing their products with the words “SHOP” on the website, the photos do not tell you which product(s) they are wearing nor do they link customers to the page to purchase. My respondents noted that this may frustrate customers because the widget does not complete the action expected of it.
My respondents had varying opinions of the target market of this brand. They felt that it was for women of color, but targeted a younger group of women since the homepage features a lot of bright colored cosmetics. Generally, the age range was between 20-40 years old. Once again, searching “brown lipstick” in the search bar concluded with an empty results page. However, searching “foundation palette” resulted in two palettes, which is what they expected. Sacha Cosmetics does allow consumers to view their lipsticks on a “model” but it looks as if its computer generated, so my respondents noted that they still would not trust this to assess the color. Although the faces to view skin tone for foundations are also computer generated, my respondents stated that they can trust these images more due to the depth of the tones. Finally, none of my respondents were able to locate the newsletter signup on this site.
Overall, I found that these brands are not optimizing keywords within their websites. Consumers should be able to see at least 2-4 suggested products even if the brand does not provide exactly what they searched for. AJC Beauty needs to take note of this, and the brand should also ensure that all products can be seen in use on a human model. These photos will help to gain the trust of consumers. Currently, AJC Beauty has a pop-up newsletter subscription message once a user enters the site. Although this may annoy some visitors, they never have to wonder where to sign up at.
Iman Cosmetics. Retrieved from http://www.imancosmetics.com/
Sacha Cosmetics. Retrieved from https://sachacosmetics.com/