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With more than half of its traffic coming from mobile, House of Fraser has today launched a redesigned version of its site with the emphasis on the user experience for touch screen devices. 

This marks a change in strategy for the company: designing for the mobile customer now comes before desktop or laptop. 

As part of this redesign, House of Fraser has also reducing the load time of its pages, acknowledging the importance of speed to mobile users.

I've been looking at the various sections of the new site...  

According to Andy Harding, Executive Director for MultiChannel at House of Fraser:

Consumer shopping habits are constantly evolving and given we now see more than 50% of our online traffic coming from mobile devices, we have changed our design strategy to ensure we provide the best possible experience for our online customers. We are always looking at ways to maximise customer shopping experiences and we’re confident our new look and feel website will be well received and will help continue to drive growth this year.

Homepage

Here's the old homepage (click for larger image): 

And the new version: 

The new version is narrower and longer, and easier to digest on a mobile or tablet. 

The header and navigation menus have also changed, and condensed into two options: shop by brand or shop by department. 

To avoid overwhelming customers with too much choice, the initial number of options in drop downs has been reduced, with sub-categories opening out for each department/brand: 

The mini-basket

This is a neat touch. This mini-basket comes down when you mouseover or click on it (depending on your device) and allows for easier editing. 

Category pages

Here, fewer results are shown per row (three rather than four) to increase the preview image size and allow for shoppers to see more detail. 

The product filtering options on the left are more prominent too. Showing the selected filters at the top left is also a good touch, allowing for easy removal of filters. 

Product pages

Product pages have been redesigned to improve the size and quality of images, with the addition of a new super zoom feature: 

It works well on mobile two. Users can swipe for different views, or double tap to zoom in: 

Videos are also available on most pages, while delivery and returns information is very clear. 

One new feature, which is designed to tackle the problem of higher returns rates for online fashion, is True Fit.

You fill in details of your size, weight, body shape etc, and this produces a recommendation for the size that is best suited to you. 

This size recommendation then appears on product pages: 

Checkout process

The checkout process hasn't been updated (yet) but remains an example of best practice. 

No compulsory registration, an enclosed checkout, and nice proactive use of live chat at a stage where they might have questions about a purchase. 

In summary

House of Fraser, after a relaunch in 2011, was already a very good ecommerce site, but has improved further with this relaunch. 

I tested the site on mobile, iPad and desktop, and it's impressive that the features work almost equally well on each device.

There are challenges, especially for a department store site with such a large product range, but this redesign handles these issues well.

What do you think?  

Graham Charlton

Published 4 February, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Matt Lovell, Head of Group Analytics & Digital Insight at Thomas Cook Group AirlinesEnterprise

Really nice example of well a well thought out mobile friendly website. It still works just fine on a Desktop computer (even when viewed on a large screen) and yet is now simpler for the user to navigate across all platform...

over 2 years ago

Eva Reviers

Eva Reviers, Bose

The new houseoffraser.co.uk is more attractive than ever. The gradients and dropshadows are gone, the color combinations do match well and the navigation works well on a tablet.
I'm very pleased that House of Fraser integrated the True Fit technology (http://www.truefit.com). This fashion innovation offers more certainty that your clothes will fit & flatter. I find it very easy to use while shopping online and even in-store, as it helps to cut the shopping time in half with less visits to the fitting rooms

over 2 years ago

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