I have recently become interested in the idea of creating e-commerce websites that “inspire” purchases. My reasoning went something like this: I have always created sites which cater for people who generally have some kind of idea of what they want. Sure, I have tools in there for people to also “browse” the products, but they’re just lists of prices and product names with dinky little images. Hardly inspiring.
The most inspiring part of any product page is the image. Especially in the industry I work in (travel) it is so important that customers understand exactly what it is they are purchasing and what it’s going to be like when they get there. Sure, you’d be a fool to book tickets to a show without doing any research, but nevertheless the image is usually the initial catalyst to perform that research in the first place, not the price and not the name.
So this got me thinking that if we were to lead a search with images, rather than prices, we could inspire the research which would in turn inspire the price. The part I was struggling with was how this would work in practice. Then I found this site;
Cutest Paw is absolutely incredible. It’s basically powered by a combination of JQuery, masonry and an infinite scroll plugin, and it just works so well! Imagine that this wall, instead of being cute fuzzy animals (which I will admit is awesome) was actually just a steady stream of image content about, say, Paris. The user keeps scrolling until they find one that appeals (possibly filtering a bit), they find one, hit it, and then the research can begin!
The tactile nature of these types of interface port incredibly well to tablets, and are already well into the realms of being “trendy”, but I have never seen it used as well as the above before.