Home -N- Linens Site Review – Branding Confusion

    August 15, 2003

Home-n-Linens is a very nice example of a database-driven web application. The designers have also loaded it with a lot of “extras” which should add value to the site, and give prospective buyers a reason to return. The dual photos of the tablecloths (larger view and full view) were thoughtfully provided and nicely executed.

Since you’ve asked for suggestions, I’d start out with the issues of consistency and accuracy. For example, is your name “Home-n-linens,” “Home N Linens,” or “Homenlinens?” It shows up all three ways on your site.

In the left navigation under “Stores”, you risk confusing newcomers by changing the order of your Stores on each Store Homepage. In your Kitchen, Lighting, and Clock stores, you display a “click here to purchase” link. In your Linen store, it took me a while to figure out that if I wanted to put something in my cart, I had to click the “Add to cart” icon. There are 404 (Page not found) errors on several of your FAQs on your “Become a member” page. The link to the currency converter is a nice idea, but it takes you to a Search result page instead. Some of your Lighting items are displaying the HTML code instead of the result of the code in the description section. The link at the bottom to the Customer Service section doesn’t contain the same subsections that you have under Customer Service in the left navigation bar.

Your site appears to be aimed at English-speakers, so be sure to check your English spelling and grammar. Use “team” instead of “teem,” “more expensive than” instead of “more expensive then,” and “save by buying” instead of “save buy buying.” None of these would be picked up by a spell checker, since they are in fact English words, just not the correct ones.

Your advice and tips, the sections on napkin folding, and table setting are very creative resources. However, the advice is difficult to read because there is a lack of visual spacing. For example, in the “10 Kitchen Fix-Ups” article, put each suggestion in its own paragraph.

Be sure every item you are offering has a picture. I’d be interested in buying a doily, but the white lace ones say “No Image Available,” and I’m not going to buy one without seeing it. You show a “larger view” of your stainless flatware, but it’s impossible to see the detail of the flatware pattern from the picture.

Finally, your search engine is a nice touch. Why not include all your items for searching instead of just the tablecloths? Also, it would be nice if you could include a “wildcard.” Suppose I know the size and color I’m looking for, but I don’t have a preference for the fabric. I’d like to be able to perform just one search, instead of the three I have to do now (once for each fabric).

Good luck with your site!

Carol Harkins

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