Branded Breadcrumbs

With the frenzy of Brown Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales (plus many other near-Thanksgiving-almost-December sales), the ability to quickly navigate retail websites is crucial for an efficient shopping strategy. Yes, shopping does require strategies – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

When I look at department store websites, I like to check out all their offerings for particular brands. To my frustration, quite a few sites don’t offer a very simple and convenient user experience element – a link to the brand’s category page.

Offender Numero Uno: Bloomingdale’s

As you can see, no visible link back to Joie’s brand page.
Bloomingdale's Product Page Screenshot

Offender Numero Dos: Saks Fifth Avenue

Same as Bloomies. Both sites offer links to similar styles and “customers also loved…”. Why can’t they implement a simple link to the brand page?
Saks Fifth Avenue Product Page Screenshot

Now that we’ve gotten the offenders out of the way, here are some examples of retailers who do it right:

Reformed Offender: Neiman Marcus

Neiman used to be an offender, but has since seen the error of their ways!
Neiman Marcus Product Page Screenshot

Good Example Numero Dos: Zappos

Not surprising that they’ve implemented this, given that they have an entire page dedicated to their user experience team.
Zappos Product Page Screenshot

Aside from the user experience benefit, including a text link to the brand category page provides value from an SEO standpoint. So really, please just do it.

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Page Navigation Pet Peeve

I love browsing Uncrate. Yes, I realize it’s a blog geared towards guys, but it’s still one of my favorites for endless images of shiny things.

However, flipping through (and drooling over) endless images requires one to click through several pages, which makes sense. On the bottom of the first page, you get a very clear link to read more on the next page:
Uncrate First Page Nav
More stuff on the next page? Awesome, I like more stuff so I will click and continue my journey. And at the bottom of the second page:
Uncrate Second Page Nav
Even more stuff, you say?! Onwards we go. And then:
Uncrate Page Navigation (Page 3)
Lots more stuff? Why yes, I would like to see lots more stuff. On page number four, they begin presenting the standard navigation links:
Uncrate Navigation (page 4 and beyond)

Augh! Why Uncrate, why?

When it comes to page navigation, the Previous-Next duo is confusing when they’re not supported by any other indicators. On a blog, I always naturally associate “Previous” with posts from a previous time or day. However, the navigation rarely works this way, so I end up going back and forth between pages multiple times.

Now, I’m not saying this terminology should be banished forever – after all, I may be the only odd person who gets confused by this. There are better ways to provide helpful indicators:
Mashable Page Navigation
As you can see, Mashable also includes page numbers so you won’t/can’t mistake “Previous” as a chronological term.

Dear Internets, please stop using “Previous” and “Next” as your sole navigation signals. Either support them with better clues, or stick to something like “Older” and “Newer”. Thank you.

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