Process Post #6: SSENSE Website Design

Link to SSENSE website:

I frequently visit this page when I want to splurge on luxury men’s items. SSENSE is a Montreal-based retailer that sells menswear, womenswear, accessories and miscellaneous items. They are most known for their abundance of luxury and streetwear brands. While this does not directly correlate to the content I have on the TessDrives website, the design elements are quite similar. I will focus on the menswear/womenswear page (as per the screenshot) as this is the page I frequently interact with. I will be critiquing the design choices made by the website designer in terms of design principles such as balance, typography, proportion and scale.

Upon first glance at the homepage, there isn’t a lot going on. You see two colours—black and white. You see a lot of text—a menu bar at the top, categories and brands on the left, sort and colours on the right. Lastly, you see a featured collection of items modelled by different men and women.

Let’s talk about what works: clean and modern design, symmetrical layout of products, and an eye-pleasing colour scheme.

The design of the website is super simple and pleasing to the eye. It draws your attention to the purpose of the page—the products that are up for sale. Something interesting is that, although the models may be different heights, they found a way to portray them in a symmetrical line up of four products per line that continues as you scroll down the page. Of course there are exceptions when it comes to displaying shoes and accessories that do not have models associated with them, but overall, I really liked this subtle design choice. The continuity of the options on the left-hand side when you scroll down the page is a nice touch too.

Now let’s move onto the things that do not really work: overlay of text, size of text and overwhelming amount of text.

Simply put, the designer needs to work on the typography of the website. Starting with the menu bar. It looks great at the top of the page, but as soon as you scroll down, it interferes with other elements on the page making it difficult to view designer options on the left or colours on the right. Another thing is, the size of text isn’t friendly for all users—now sure, it may be fine for me but for other people I feel like it might be a little too small. Especially the “live assistance” button in the right-hand corner. What were they thinking? Maybe they do not want as many people contacting them, so they hid the option in the bottom right corner? Another aspect of typography that does not work is that there’s an overwhelming amount of text on the website. Was it really necessary to list every single designer on the left-hand side of the page? Maybe it could have been hidden in a drop-down menu or a search function.

All in all, I love the simplicity of the website and have already incorporated the clean lines and modern design into my own website TessDrives. Based on what we’ve learned from design readings in Pub 101 and from Mauve Pagé, there are definitely some elements that could be tweaked to make the website both accessible and aesthetically pleasing.

Screenshot of the website I am critiquing:

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