UI/UX: What makes a Good Fashion Website
As a Fashion Ecommerce Agency, we have designed more than a hundred online fashion websites. Designing a Fashion website is different from other industries because Fashion isn’t transactional. Customers pay for more than just the product’s features. They pay for the experience and aspiration. The emotions a website evokes in them play an important role in making them take out their credit card and place the order.
So what really makes a good fashion website? Of course, the website needs to be user-friendly, mobile responsive, quick to load, but there is more to it. But there is more to it.
From our experience, we have figured out few ecommerce website design principles that when put in action result in a visually compelling and clearly differentiated online shopping experience that’s not only functional, visually compelling, but also converts.
Let’s talk about some of those principles here. Irrespective of your ecommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, Shopify Plus, ASP.NET, BigCommerce etc, the 5 characteristics below stay true.
1) Good Fashion websites use negative spacing to their advantage
The user interfaces of fashion websites have generous usage of white or empty space. Why? Because empty space or negative space on the website (on both – mobile and desktop) represents luxury and exclusivity. Designers use negative space just as how a musician would use silence between musical notes.
On the contrary, the fastest way to kill the design of a fashion website is to clutter it and fill empty space with icons, call to actions, banners, etc.
2) A Good Fashion website has a comprehensive brand identity
Consistent visual branding is important in all the industries but if there is one industry in which it’s absolutely mandatory – it would be fashion, especially when it comes to designing user experience of a fashion website.
So, if you want to build a compelling fashion website, you need more than just the logo. You need to know the color palettes, the font used for headings, paragraphs, icon sets. The background colors of the products need to be defined in advance. Packaging plays an extremely important role in increasing the perceived value of the brand. Without a complete brand identity and set visual guidelines, your brand will keep struggling to achieve a consistent shopping experience.
3) Photography first
Many fashion brands, especially start-ups make the beginner’s mistake of starting the design process before their product photography. They design the entire shopping experience with placeholder images that are often from other brands. As a result, the website looks great with placeholder images but as soon as those images are replaced with actual photography, the website starts to look visually inconsistent. So, make sure you share actual product and lookbook pictures with the UI/UX designer before she starts designing your website.
4) A Fashion apparel website needs to be visual
Another quick way to kill the experience of an apparel website is to make it text heavy. Fashion website design has to be minimal especially from the textual standpoint. Add more text than necessary, and your traffic will start bouncing. Understand that Fashion inherently is visual (and not textual).
Hire a good copywriter who can convey your brand’s messaging and product messaging in the least words on your home, product and about page.
5) It should be unconventional
The design of an apparel website can’t be templatish. Your website should look remarkably different. When your customers land on your website after visiting your competitor’s website or mobile application, it should look better and refreshingly new. Please note that unconventional websites are designed on top of unconventional brand identities, which brings me back to my first point about the importance of investing in a comprehensive brand identity done by a professional graphic designer who has experience in Fashion.
A good fashion website is unconventional, clearly communicated and has a consistent visual language with the effective use of negative spacing.
I am the Founder at ILoveFashionRetail, where we design & develop e-commerce websites & mobile apps for fashion retailers. We also help fashion brands grow their online sales & traffic. My essays are featured at Forbes, Moz, Fairchild, FIT and more. Contact me.