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Re-launched late last year, Whistles’ new site breaks every rule in the book.

The homepage, whilst dramatic with large photographic images, is designed in Flash, so may cause user issues for potential customers who do not have the right software installed to access it.

The homepage can be dragged using the mouse to show product shots and their hot spots (a symbol on the product shot that users can click on to take them directly to the product page).

On the “shop” channel, where individual product and various information like sizing are displayed, the product here is also displayed differently to the standard layout of most sites, in that all pieces are shot on models. In addition, users can view an entire product category – like jackets – on the same page as highlights of other categories. With many sites, users get directed to a separate page.

From here, customers can click directly onto the product image to take them through to the product page where zoom and rotation tools are available.

The “collections” channel of the site continues along the theme of the homepage and shop channel, with model shots comprising whole outfits, and hot spots where users can click onto handbags and shoes, for example with the image theme of the entire site with large model shots showing the new collection.

Overall, the site makes a real impact and is one that has attracted the attention of the fashion press, which can only help to increase brand awareness. However, whilst this encourages potential customers to go to the site, the possibility of them experiencing user difficulties or finding the completely different navigation confusing may make them look elsewhere.

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