Paul Rouke, Usability specialist at online user experience consultancy PRWD
Asos is leading by example in a lot of areas. Its free delivery/free returns proposition is clearly communicated throughout the website, and visually the website is engaging, inspirational and high street-esque. Integrated catwalk videos and high-quality images are a must, especially for high-value products, and Asos delivers well in these areas.
Easy-to-use filters are provided to help you find your ideal product from the huge range, and the price range slider is a really user-friendly feature. It’s a shame that its search results aren’t as intelligent as they could be. Search for a black T-shirt, for example, and you expect to just see black T-shirts, but the black filter isn’t auto-selected in the search box so other colours also appear.
Asos also provides multiple ways to shop, such as by type, style, occasion or by inspirational trend, ensuring it appeals to a wide range of visitors.
Key landing pages (women, men, designer etc) are very visual and inspirational, although they could easily confuse first-time visitors arriving directly on one of these, as there is no clear list of the sub-categories available. You have to hover over the main navigation tab, which isn’t obvious.
For checkout, Asos uses an enclosed system, where users have to register their details. I would usually recommend these to [bricks and mortar] retailers, but forcing new customers to have to register in order to make a purchase isn’t best practice.