Hey, everyone. Co-founder of Cotton Bureau and front-end dev for the aforementioned re-design here. Couple quick thoughts about our goals with the re-design.
First, the old version of the homepage (still available at https://cottonbureau.com/shop) was never intended to be the ultimate expression of Cotton Bureau. It was the simplest page we could build when we launched 2.5 years ago. We’ve added features and toyed with the hero area in the mean time, but a change was long overdue.
Second, submissions are the lifeblood of Cotton Bureau. If designers don’t send in designs, we don’t have a site. We needed to make that a lot more clear from the jump. The giant testimonial and submit button is a step in the right direction, but it certainly won’t be our last. Speaking of which, if you’re interested in making shirts with us, come right this way.
Third, to date, we’ve done a poor job of featuring the actual designers of the shirts on the site. We wanted the re-design to have a greater emphasis on the people behind the shirts. You’ll see that idea carried through to the rest of the site as we apply more of the features we’ve been discussing internally over the coming year.
Fourth, Cotton Bureau is equal parts platform and store. Anyone with design chops can use it, but that means a lot of the responsibility to sell a design rests on your shoulders. We need to actively work on our ability to assist designers in selling shirts, and that means building new tools to promote them. Being in the huge wall of shirts does very little for a designer in terms of sales. Moving that experience to /shop is not going to change that at all. We will still be actively directing traffic that way, but the home page itself needed to evolve to give us more of the capabilities I mentioned above.
Like the rest of the site, the new home page is a work in progress. I’m happy to answer any questions I can about design, technical, or business decisions we made. Feel free to say nice things as well.
Appreciate the write-up, Nathan! It definitely helps me see what you were going for now that I know the intention behind the new design. And I love that you're wanting to highlight the designers themselves more, basically as a "Thank you" for being the lifeblood of the site.
My issue as a user is that this new homepage requires a ton of scrolling to get through the designs to find one I like and would be interested in purchasing. I'm not a scroll-hater by any means but the main reason I come to the site is to find cool shirts to buy. With this new homepage I can't quickly scan it like I could before. For that reason, I don't see myself spending much time on this new page. When I get to the site I'll probably just head straight into /shop to get to the point of why I'm there. If you're ok with that, then great! I just thought it was worth pointing out.
Like I said, I do love that you're going in the direction of giving even more credit to the designers, but I think I would have rather kept the original homepage and then revised the individual product pages to highlight the designers. That way users can scan the designs, click on one they like, and THEN find out more about the designer that made it, instead of the other way around.
Appreciate you guys! Keep up the great work.
Definitely planning improvements to the product page as well. If you’re happy with the /shop experience, keep right on using it. We’re hoping a linear experience will be less intimidating to new visitors than a giant wall of shirts.
Great stuff! Love the new page (and the site and the product). My only complaint would be that it feels very mobile-first on a desktop, barely showing one design per screen height, with giant buttons here on a 13 inch MacBook Pro.
Absolutely. Intentional on that. Hoping to isolate the experience to a single design.
That new landing page is pretty brutal to scroll through and digest. It's like everything is shouting at me and competing for my attention.
The top is FAR too wordy. I've visited it twice now and still haven't read it all. It's not hooking me. It's tedious to be honest. Try and make much simpler statement like"designed by people just like you" followed by a learn more link to expand details.
There are situations where on my screen there is nothing to do, which is really bad. I can scroll to points where I see a headshot of a designer for a pervious shirt, but then see a title and design for the shirt below it... and still have no action except to bail out to social media. This is not slippery enough. I think there needs to be a better balance of making this feel more community oriented, but still making it easy to buy a shirt or see more of a selection.
It's not clear enough that there are a TON more designs when you click shop versus what you show me on the home screen. A new visitor is not going to expect that clicking SHOP shows them far more options than what you presented.
This is a site that because of the way it's coded, gets obnoxiously big when I view it on my 27" monitor. The fonts and everything get so big it's pretty much un-digestible. I'd strongly consider setting a max width this thing will go.
As a side note, I honestly wish you'd just feature one designer a month, have a cool interview/bio and focus on the product. It would feel more focused and genuine to me that way. That's just my opinion though.
Hey, Benjamin. Thanks a lot for the feedback.
We considered a few options for the hero area. We’ll see how this performs before making any firm decisions.
That’s fair. We can’t optimize for everything at once, so hopefully it’s a compelling enough experience while still being usable.
Totally agree. We’ll be introducing interstitials between designs to kick you out into collections of tees, popular tees, the whole shop experience, etc. This is 1.0 at best.
Don’t do that ;) Nah, but seriously, we did that intentionally. We’ll keep that in mind.
Don’t tell anyone, but we’ll be doing exactly that. Already working with designers we want to feature. Hopefully you’ll see something on that front soon. Thanks again for the feedback.
Is there a reason behind the interlaced images rather than having normal loading images with a placeholder?
We just started using Imgix. (It’s great.) We have some options for how we load the images, so we might tweak that at some point.
This looks like a really useful service, thank you!
I think there is a problem with your low sales numbers for the first shirts, with resulted at least in my mind in a negative social proof and kept me from purchasing or generating more interest in these shirts.
Definitely a consideration. We think it was worse before when many shirts had zero sales.
It's a hard balance I'm sure. I have a gut feeling many people want stuff like this to be more curated... far less options, but more trust that the best is being presented.
The downside of this though is that it kills the notion of community participation and the gamification that comes along with it. From a business standpoint, it's a much better place to be in to know who wants what and only print in that quantity - reducing waste and keeping costs down.
Every single time I visited, the only shirts I've been interested in are no longer available. One of the shirts was featured in a magazine or something too... which is nuts. If there is one thing I wish you guys would do, it would be to do planned re-issues of successful shirts. Every month or two unleash a best seller on a unique colored tee (ie: it was on grey before, now it's black). This way you sucker existing purchasers to re-purchase... and let new people get the cool designs.
I like those super big fonts