Sunday, September 12, 2010

CB2: tone down the cute

I like CB2 (Crate and Barrel's little sister). I enjoy browsing, and on a couple occasions purchasing, their affordable, well-designed home goods. The retail experience is consistently pleasant, complete with helpful, non-pushy sales people. But what drives me NUTS is the main navigation menu on their homepage.

This is a classic example of why sites must avoid being too clever when labeling. There are several issues with this particular menu, but the one that makes me grit my teeth the hardest and head straight to is the amount of crossover among the groups. Furniture, for example, could easily be included in at least 6 of the other categories (new, dine, work, sleep, one of a finds, sale). And splash? Wuhhh? I didn't know CB2 sold pool toys, but that's certainly what I expect to find when I click that link. Turns out, it's bath items. Hmm.

If I was included in user testing for, they'd find that despite the fact that I've been to their site dozens of times, I'm still not sure where I'm supposed to go to find a good dining table (furniture or dine?). Not exactly the best user experience or sales strategy, if you ask me.