Deconstructing The Home Depot is actually a little ironic as they are the people who build things. But I love the Depot and want to take a closer look at a website that has both sucked me in and frustrated me over the past few years. Here are 15 observations from the current site:
1. Obviously, visitors to this site are most likely looking for a product for their homes, so delivery method is important, but I think it might be better closer to the cart button and it would free up that space at the top for another feature. In combination with the utilities bar at the top and excessive white space, it’s just clutter.
2. The logo and familiar tag line have the extra white space around them to emphasize them, but I think that white space is less of a design function and more of underutilized prime real estate on the site. I’m not talking about cluttering things up, just emphasizing something else a little more.
3. The utility options bar at the top is useful for users and doesn’t scream out, which makes it fit well for it’s intended purpose.
4. I like that The Home Depot includes and personalized and local section for users. It makes the users feel that the company cares for them by focusing on what is most accessible for them.
5. Because users will have a good idea of what they are looking for, the search prominently placed in the center of the top of the page is appropriate and useful. There is no mistaking what the purpose of that bar is, and more savvy users will be able to refine their searches by utilizing the drop-down that as a default says “SEARCH ALL”.
6. I really like the versatility of the dominant photo slideshow. Not only does it feature specific products or product lines, it gives the option of shopping for those specific products right away by clicking a “SHOP NOW” button. (8)
7. In addition to featuring product and giving immediate access to the product pages, the main photo contains an inset that demonstrates what users can do with the products. As a company that prides itself on helping its customers with their projects, this is a great addition. It also increases sales of those featured products by showing them in action and building confidence in users who may not have come to the site looking specifically for paint or other featured items.
9. With so many product available through HomeDepot.com, looking for specific ones is a daunting task — not to mention providing clear options and categories on a website. The many categories are clear and have specific options by rolling over each category. The downside to so many items is each itemized category takes over the entire page.
10. The thumbnails of the slideshow make it easy to jump ahead or go back to each feature. I like this arrangement and am planning on something similar for the page I intend to build this spring. It’s clean, neat, and accessible. I think it might be helped by small descriptions underneath instead of categories. For instance, “Appliance Sale” instead of just “Appliances” and “Getting inspired by stunning colors” instead of “Paint”.
11. Another plug for in-store pick-up is here just at the fold. It’s emphasizes that if a user needs the product immediately, they can buy online and go to the nearest store for pick-up. Might be pretty important for some users.
12. A clickable ad for last-chance sale items balances out a wide divider between featured items above the fold and featured items below the fold. I like this method for the change of pace opportunity. It give a great stopping point for browsers (people, not internet facilitators) and nice delineation for serious shoppers.
13. The “Most Popular Products” section below gives users a chance to see what’s “trending”. I’m not sure if it updates daily or more or less often, but a great feature for Depot junkies like me. The thumbnails make it easy to scan without having to take time to read each individually, and larger font for pricing and starred reviews scale keep it brief, simple, and honest.
14. A line of featured current season products is visually appealing for those shoppers that are still on the homepage at this point and looking for a specific category.
15. Another line of features coming season products serves the same purpose as 14, except for those planners and shoppers that are looking ahead. Deep on the site to show it’s not as important right now, but taking an interest in devoted customers still shopping at the homepage. (I must admit, I’ve probably moved somewhere else in the site, but might make it back and down here after looking elsewhere in the site.)