Ikea has been a feature in UK homes for around 25 years and while it is very familiar brand, its online presence is also well-known for the detail with which they list their products. The following review puts the Ikea’s website to test. In recent weeks I decided it was a time to replace my beloved old sofa – I started my hunt driving between showrooms checking out the newest trends and styles. At the end of the weekend exhausted but with a clear picture and name of my favourite sofa (Ektorp) I have decided to buy something from the Ikea website. It was the first time I found myself using the website to buy something – I simply could not imagine myself fitting a sofa into my car or driving back to Ikea just to pay for the sofa.
Crisp and clear, the homepage provides a good overview of Ikea’s main product offerings. Although nicely presented, the carousel images do not provide offerings that are relevant to my goal. The ‘All departments’ tab on the far right side of the main navigation bar draws attention and on hover over reveals a mega menu with alphabetically ordered department categories. But still, no Ektrop sofa. The Search field on top of the page was my next step. This is very nicely done with predictive auto-complete which surely will be appreciated by new-comers and seasoned Ikea site users alike.
‘Sofa’ query returned 321 results which can be overwhelming and the faceted filtering options are very limited – colour and price are not enough to get the number of results down to a manageable amount. I was also required to go through several product pages as it is not possible to specify the number of items displayed by page.
The product page however works well. Sofas are spaced from each other and on hover over key product information is available. This makes the browsing process slightly quicker and less painful. The single product page offers a high quality image which makes the decision process easier and no further persuasion is needed here. Also the slideshow viewing mode is a really nice addition. It lets you view all of the products quickly and highlights the most important detail in a comparative manner. This is helpful particularly with large numbers of products to review.
Calls to action are clearly visible and once the product of interest is found it is straightforward to progress to the checkout. Ikea does not force buyers to register but offers this option at the end of the checkout process. This is helpful persuasion architecture.
The Ikea four step purchase process is not unusual but includes a helpful progress indicator which relieves any uncertainty as to when actual payment is required. Image and description of the product is visible throughout the checkout process which provides comfort and security throughout.
It is evident that a degree of effort was put into making the website accessible. Good colour contrast is present throughout the pages and the majority of image elements have alternative text. However, there is no ‘Skip to content’ option or reliable form fields labelling throughout the website.
The Ikea online shopping experience is satisfying. Individual product pages provide buyers with accurate and nicely laid out content. Limited product page filtering and no control over the pagination make the process a little annoying but the predictive auto-complete search field is very helpful. The straightforward checkout won’t ‘wow’ anyone but it does hold the buyer’s trust and provides a feeling of control throughout. In the main, the transition from brochureware to purchase is smooth. As an online retailer this is the aim.
Ratings (out of 5):
Navigation and IA: 3.5
Product Page & Merchandising: 4
Persuasion and Trust: 4.5
Anna qualified in 2009 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from Edinburgh Napier University. After a brief break she decided to focus on bringing her geek nature together with her psychology interests and entered into the field of the User Experience. She qualified with MSc in User Experience – Interactive Systems (distinction) from Edinburgh Napier University in 2012. She is a keen explorer of new technologies and since joining User Vision has carried out projects using eye–tracking glasses and emotional response testing software. Anna’s experience is cross-platform, having worked on projects involving website usability, gaming interaction and in-store experience, and given her psychology background she enjoys employing a wide range of user research and design techniques, including focus groups, usability testing and rapid prototyping.
Since joining User Vision, Anna has carried out projects for well-known clients such as Visit Scotland, Tesco Bank or Emirates Airline. When not working Anna spends her time sailing or mountain biking.
Anna Basista, User Experience Consultant