"Simple, simple, simple and a really nice job of product merchandising and putting the right emphasis on search without making the site feel too sterile." —juror Hilary Read
"Usability and experience perfectly balanced. Navigating this site just encourages exploration of all the products. Great standards-based development and hybrid approach using the right tools for the job. Sometimes the best advertising is the best experience." —juror Mathew Ranauro
Overview: To articulate the essence of the Herman Miller brand, this site embraces the concept "for a better world around you." It incorporates a flexible layout, interactivity, research and tools while also weaving in storytelling with videos and a blog of Herman Miller's insights. This international design leader has a broad audience—architects, designers, healthcare, retail consumers, education, government and dealers—all in professions driven by visuals. So instead of giving them loads of copy to wade through for the information they need, the site is image-driven with a simple and intuitive navigation system and an information hierarchy that allows visitors to browse casually and dive deeper when they want.
• The interface is based on a modular grid-based structure that enables the creation of a unique but unified design for each product or page.
• The site holds over 30 videos and thousands of images in an images library.
• Since launch, page views are up 66 percent and visit duration has increased 12 percent from a year ago—all through organic traffic.
Comments by David Lai:
Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? "Our target audience was not necessarily difficult to reach, but to effectively reach it was a challenge. A good portion of it is extremely busy, juggles multiple projects and has little time to waste; it also consists of visual thinkers who don't like to read large chunks of text. We had to make sure the site provided useful tools and a highly visual experience for browsing and searches, that make it easy to find the right products and plan/design a space, while also communicating the Herman Miller brand."
How did time constraints affect your final solution? "Time constraints, as long as they are reasonable, are a good thing; schedules and deadlines kept all of us focused on the project and prioritizing accordingly. Since the Web is a living entity, even when we had to prioritize features and content in order to meet the deadline, it didn't mean those things wouldn't happen, it just meant some things would roll out during a later phase."