In preparing for the last of the holiday shopping for New North, I came across the staples.com redesign. What struck me about the redesign, besides the new look and feel, was the attention paid to the orientation process for users. They used an overlay to highlight key features by showing enhancements, and direct users to where they needed to go. This brilliant move is something we recommend to many of our clients in the redesign process, yet few really grasp the importance of customer success and orientation to key features of web applications.
Additionally, I liked how they used video to drive the message even further. Users could have the 10-second orientation, or the 2-minute orientation with video and increased detail. They did not shy away from the “newness” of the Website, which many companies try to do when the launch a new site and pretend its not new, just an “update” or upgrade. The problem with this approach is any change to position on the interface, creates a jolt to the user’s habits, and creates a new experience. So while it was your intention to be subtle, you rocked the boat with any movement.
Overall, it is a great move to use this overlay graphic for customer success and we’ve seen more and more sites following suit. Put customers first and you’ll win every time.