“Yes! No senseless scrolling! And designed to fit on the majority of screens. Why isn’t this the norm? Consistent with the mail-order brand, the design is elegant and understated and the product information is extensive and intuitively accessed. The integration of interactivity, e-commerce and information is exemplary.” —juror Deb Koch
“Love the clean aesthetic and being able to shop by room.” —juror Sasha Kurtz
Overview: This online catalog is easy to shop—simply roll your mouse over room setups to learn more about each item and its price. Less product, and more lifestyle, fans of clean modern style will want to start redecorating.
• DHTML-based site
• ColdFusion/Oracle database backend
• Over 130 unique page templates
• 6 weeks, 2 people plus a team of 3 who did the silhouette illustrations and photo crops
Comments by Allison Williams:
"This site is the online extension of the west elm print catalog (that we designed) and shares its clean modern aesthetic. Since the Web offers more ways to add content without cost, and has more information that needs to be displayed on each page, keeping the site uncluttered and understated, but interesting, was one of our primary challenges.
“Structurally, it’s a replicated site. It uses the functional specs of different brands within Williams-Sonoma (the parent company) as the basis for each page. The restriction of using only predetermined functionality, presented challenges for the very different brand image of west elm, especially within the 6-week timeframe allotted to design more than 150 unique page templates.
“Photography is shot primarily for the catalog, in a wide range of image ratios. The use of vertical and horizontal color bars allowed us to incorporate multiple image formats to fit within the single-square-image format used throughout the site. The catalog is arranged into three thematic chapters: Chill (living), Indulge (dining) and Retreat (bed and bath). The site offers these three channels, as well as a shop by item (e.g., chairs) function.
“The shop-by-theme channel directs visitors to a series of pages that contain photos of predesigned rooms. Although most items are available in multiple colorways, each room is created in a specific palette. Product information, along with a silhouette of each item, is provided on rollover. Since individual items are shot in a variety of colorways, the silhouette keeps the focus on the featured coloration of the room, instead of the color of the product. It creates a more cohesive presentation of the look.
“The attention to detail on this site—the checkout tunnel and customer service pages were given as much attention as the merchandise pages—reinforces the positioning of west elm as a true design devotees brand.”