webpick of the week
Creating a new site for Wacom, digital studio Fantasy Interactive looked beyond a simple redesign and set its sights on inventing an entirely new breed of product website. “There are typically three different ways in which product sites work,” says Irene Pereyra, Fi’s Global Director of UX and Strategy. “There are sites that are purely utilitarian, which basically rely on reviews (like Amazon), there are sites that purely rely on storytelling (like Apple), and there are product sites that rely on selling you a sort of lifestyle or cool factor (like Bang & Olufsen).” Not bad examples, Pereyra points out, but none really suit Wacom’s needs. The high quality of its products attracts very loyal customers, but it also means that those customers don’t upgrade very often. So when Wacom releases a new product line, it has to give people a convincing reason to switch, and this means letting them experience the new products and get excited about using them.
Fi started by ditching the most basic of preconceptions. “First and foremost, we decided not to create a website,” says Pereyra, “but create a tablet-like experience that would be extremely tangible and could be navigated by fat fingers.” Next to go was the idea of a home page. “We called it the ‘discover’ page, and that’s really how we approached it,” she says. “The page was meant to allow people to discover Wacom.” Products are divided into three basic categories, “Everyday,” “Creative” and “Business,” each with a unique landing page that is designed to be “experience-centric.” Rather than focusing on product descriptions, Fi created short video documentaries to show possible ways to use the tools—how a photographer could take advantage of a product and how a graphic designer might use the same tool. The emphasis is on creativity and how Wacom enhances it, and the end result satisfied even the pickiest customers. “We did not see any negative feedback at all, which was quite incredible,” says Pereyra. And in perhaps the greatest confirmation of the site’s success, “Twitter pretty much blew up.”