South West Frequency - small business website redesign
Lockdown bread adventures
I didn’t learn to bake my own bread during lockdown but I sure ate my fair share of ciabatta. There’s a Breadman who sells the best bread in the world every Saturday next to the church by Putney Bridge. Walking down on my daily outing and having a chat over my purchase was the second highlight of my lockdown weeks (the first was Home Discos). Eating that ciabatta toasted with butter and chocolate spread was a ticket to instant happiness. One day the Breadman, whose actual name is George, mentioned he wanted to expand the business with deliveries and needed to update his website, so I was pleased to be able to offer some advice on the user experience aspect to the website design.
Improving the user flow
I went through the process of ordering a loaf of bread on my mobile phone, took screenshots of every step and laid them out in Sketch, counting the number of taps (clicks if you’re on a desktop) necessary to buy one loaf of bread and noting any friction points along the way. George maintains the site himself on Squarespace, so I came up with some easy steps to improve the flow that he could implement himself:
- combine the About us, Shop, Deliveries, Where to find us, Monthly Frequency, Contact into the landing page, so the user can scroll to see everything without having to decide to click on a new site page;
- a prominent call to action to buy the bread, with obvious button microcopy, on the landing page;
- include an introductory paragraph about the business on the landing, possibly with some photographs of the stall especially on a blue sky day, to help people understand the business’s story;
- the name and site don’t appear on google search, so include keywords throughout the site such as Putney, London, bread, fresh etc.;
- enable customers to add products to cart directly from the Product Collection page;
- include more details such as serving suggestions or recipes on the Product Page;
- allow customers to pay as a guest (by default the site asked me to pay by apple straight away, although this may be an iPhone thing);
- ensure users have checked the delivery area prior to adding a load of goods to their cart, and show the delivery area on the landing page;
- the default country in the billing and delivery was set to the USA, which is another thing the user has to amend.
User interface updates
I did two online courses last year which were unbelievably helpful in staving off lockdown lassitude, as well as teaching me a lot about the craft of design through practice. I did a Visual Design course through General Assembly and the Learn UI Design course run by Erik D. Kennedy (the links are at the bottom of page).
I updated the product collection page based on my lessons, which you can see below. I used a lot of the same styling SW Frequency already has, but tweaked the colours, type, typographical hierarchy, and interactions.
Future proofing and style
Since the style of the website was pretty well defined, I didn’t do too much visually. However, I suggested changing the typeface from Futura PT to the Vollkorn. Some typography lovers may consider this too on-the-nose, since it is known as a bread-and-butter font for the people, but I also think the bounciness fits with the style of the business. It’s young, upbeat, full of flavour and confidence. Another thing I talked to George about was a possible name change. Below is a few workings with type with the name "Loaves of London", in case he wants to take over London with bread, next the world.
I don’t think I’m the only one who gets internet lassitude, but at the same time it’s so nice being able to have groceries and flowers delivered to our homes. Helping small businesses adapt during lockdown and promoting their stories was suggested by my instructor on Learn UI, Shane Doyle. It was a pleasure to do this work and I would love to do more. If anyone has any questions about their website from a user experience or visual design perspective, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. No question is too small for me and I won't just talk about bread!
South West Frequency - best bread in the world delivered in SW London
Learn UI Design - run by Erik D. Kennedy and Shane Doyle an assistant
Goodwill design idea by Shane Doyle (whose newsletter is excellent)
Visual Design by General Assembly