12 May, 2010

The New Site


We're messing about with graphics and design elements for the new and improved VO web site. Kyle made this image, which I think is great.

Site development is coming along nicely and we're hoping to have the new version up in about 6-weeks. There will be a lot of added functionality and features, including re-stocking notification via e-mail and more shipping options. Are there any features or functions on other web sites you've seen that we should consider?

34 comments:

Joe said...

"re-stocking notification via e-mail"

Thank you thank you thank you.

J ustin. said...

Do not let us click Add To Cart unless there is stock!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I usually hate sites that make you set up an account, but I order from VO often enough that it would make life easier if I had that option.

Ryan

Anonymous said...

I like the new image by Kyle.

The bottom bracket height seems to be quite high, though. Is the lack of a downtube some sort of new design that emphasizes the effects of play-ning ?

Nate Knutson said...

Not really specifically what you're asking, but could you put up some cross-section pics or diagrams of your rims? I think most people buying a rim are curious what's in there.

For the site, I have no idea what works best for a retailer web site, but what I'll say is that I think basically every wholesale distributor site out there needs to stop what they're doing and copy QBP's site in terms of hierarchy layout, searchability, and they way they assign each product category (hubs, freewheels, etc) their own data fields (spoke count, cog sizes, etc). I think some smaller distributors make the mistake of not seeing the benefit in keeping the way their products are presented , instead thinking it cleaner and simpler to just put everything in it's category and keep the database elements as stripped down as possible. However, it takes work to look through a bunch of product listings that are crammed together when what you really want to do is search for 37-43mm fenders and sort them by price or something, with the stock status listed right there in the results. The software to set that kind of thing up is not expensive, complicated, or new - the hard part is maintaining the data for a vast catalog of stuff, but VO has a smaller, very carefully chosen selection, so it should be relatively easy for you. Remember also that being sold through shops successfully means you need to be easily (read: very quickly) searchable by workers who aren't familiar with your stuff at all. So, what I'm getting at is that I hope any decisions you make in the structure of the retail site are geared towards helping rather than hindering the wholesale site eventually becoming as described. It's quite usable now, but obviously VO is getting bigger and your product selection gets a little wider all the time, so who knows where it's going to end. And I don't see why at least having the option to search with such functionality would hurt the retail site, either.

life on wheels said...

I'd love to see more product views, especially of the more obscure items installed on real bikes.

Anonymous said...

More photos, user ratings and comments on each product.

Oh yeah, and accounts.

Colin said...

make your blog part of your site instead of using blogger (use wordpress).

Redesign the left nav (kill the imagemap nav)

Rethink the top links. They are confusing. What is Tech & Info? what is Show Order?(oh show order is the shopping cart. why isn't it called shopping cart? and why does it look like a page link) FAQ should not be a top level link.

Top level links should be simplified: Store, Blog, Find a Dealer.

About info can live on the home page at the bottom.

Ditch the overpowering drop shadow on the page title.

RDW said...

I really like your site the way it is. Especially the pics on the main page. It has a nice clean look and is easy to navigate. I'm sure the new design will be just as nice, but, in the words of Stewie Griffin - "I don't like change!".

tony said...

It might be cool to see certain products installed on bikes. While jockey wheels wouldn't have that big of an effect, it would be cool to see bags, racks, and baskets installed. All of the included product dimensions are great, but seeing visuals every now and then is really nice.

Also, check out the Benscycle site when you have some time. They do a really great job of photographing parts from multiple angles (very professional). Perhaps MORE photos of products would be nice--think close up on mounting points for kickstands, fenders, and racks.

Lastly, videos would be awesome. The folks at Rivendell have some nifty videos detailing tire installation, applying shellac, and rack installation. How cool would it be if you guys did a fender installation video with Parisian music in the background? I know a lot of people fuss about installing fenders. Also, it'd be cool to do other things such as showing proper cycling form, VO documentaries showing a new generation of porteurs, and perhaps more install videos (headsets)....or maybe even videos on how to overhaul and properly maintain parts (freewheel cleaning, joint lubrication, saddle buffing). You get the point...

Anonymous said...

The ability to compare products would be nice.
More pictures (supersized) where appropriate.
Have a search box versus a search link toward the top of the page.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Lose the bright white seamless backdrops for product photos. I like the "in the wild" shots Ecovelo took of your saddles.

John said...

First, what Nate said. Second, enlarging on the "hierarchy" part of his post, "breadcrumbs" are a big deal, especially when I follow a link from the blog. OK, here's the new rims, how do they compare with the existing rims? OK, back out to the wheels-and-everything-related page from the main navigation links, then back down to the wheels-and-stuff page. I'd really like to be able to work up and down the hierarchy, and it's not that hard to do, again, if you drive it with a well-structured database and make sure new items are entered with care.

Rod Hendrickson said...

definitely allow consumer ratings. And who exactly wears a beret when they ride, I don't get it ?

Justin said...

I agree with many of the comments by Nate and Tony. I do not like the current setup of a separate blog. Make it part of the site. A better hierarchy, real-world application photos and user reviews (maybe even customer photos of installed products) would be welcome.

VO is a great company and so long as it continues to welcome and implement feedback from their customers, it will continue to grow and become more popular.

Brian said...

You've got good reply to feedback already, so I'm not sure anything would be improved with customer ratings. It rarely helps me to know that someone is upset because they couldn't fit 50mm fenders on their madone, or that someone else thinks the zeppelin fenders look bad.

Your product is highly specialized. The people who buy it usually know exactly what they are looking for. a review system seem a bit silly. Anyone who is buying a VO french headset or BB is buying it because it's the only one available. Same with extra long honjo fenders, etc.

I'd work on a gallery where customers could upload photos- gives you a broad range of application shots. Or just more shots of product installed.

keep it simple.

Otherwise, keep it simple.

Anonymous said...

I have ridden in a Beret. I think VO should carry not only Berets, but also Tam-O-Shanters.

Simon LeBuffstein said...

what's with the scarf and beret. Ridiculous !

hermesheels said...

i second the points and recommendations made by colin, and request– as others have before me– more photos of products, preferably installed.
i love your products, and i'd be eager to see a site that reflects the high quality of your merchandise (and service!).
cheers,
timo

Anonymous said...

If I were you, I'd consider dropping the blog completely. You probably have more things to do with your time than to navigate through inane comments from people who don't "get" the VO site or philosophy, thinking it just another bike mail order company. It gives me a headache just to see this stuff, which is why I don't spend as much time here as I once did (though it got better once you started comment moderation). Best of luck in your site redo.

Fred Zeppelin said...

I love the blog. I like the thinking-out-loud, seeing a product brought to market, etc. I don't really get to see that in many other places. (at least for these types of parts an frames).

John Charles Steinmuller said...

Can I get a T-shirt with that image Kyle made?

Dennis said...

There is nothing wrong with the site as it is.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a daily stop for me, so please don't ever stop blogging...

Joe said...

This probably isn't the best place to ask, but is there any news on the new Dia Compe center pull brakes and Mafac rack clone?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The absolute most important thing you can do is feature pictures of your products installed on bikes. Racks, roller hangers, pumps, saddles...remember that most people don't have the knowledge that you do, and want to see how they look/function *on* a bike.

Using photos of customer bikes would be easy. I'm sure the VO group on Flickr would be happy to let you borrow pictures...I know I would.

Herzog said...

Searchability, searchability, SEARCHABILITY!

Anonymous said...

I love the beret

F said...

Those better pictures you said were coming. Multiple angles on the same product would be nice too. I recently purchased a stem and was delighted when it got here and looked even better than the picture.

Anonymous said...

I think the best improvement to "the new site" would be lots of photos of VO products next to ACTUAL swimsuit models.

Put em' in Berets for the French influence.

Charlie said...

Watch that scarf in the spokes!

Seriously, it is typically fatal if it gets caught.

Anonymous said...

Keep it simple, I can currently find everything easily. Your site reflects VO well. Don't bother with ratings/reviews, just listen to your customers if they send you a note (which you do). if you really want to make work for yourself, maybe more pictures of things mounted on the bike?

Anonymous said...

Yes, (seriously) Google 'Isadora Duncan' to see a case of a scarf-related death....

Tom said...

The presentation of the products is fantastic. The blog and twitter accounts help keep us all informed in a unique way. I would pile on and say more pics of the products, installed, different angles, etc.
I would like to see the navigation right above the product as well. I would like to back up and view all pedals instead of going to the left nav for pedals, toe clips, shoes.