Industry Reviewed: Made-to-measure Blind Services
I moved into a new house last summer and I’ve been slowly decorating each room ever since and have obviously been online to find the various services I’ve required.
At the moment I’m on a mission to source a roman blind for the large bay window in my lounge, so I need a made to measure service and have again resorted to the internet to find one. I’ve found that there are many different sites available online, all with their various issues and usability problems and here are three that I have looked at:
Roman Blinds Direct
I found this site pretty hard to use, especially when selecting a fabric.
They have so many products on offer and there is no easy way to filter down, you can do it by colour or by pattern, but the product pictures are so tiny once you hit the second page, that they become hard to see:
Thing is, the experience actually begins well, but you click through on to the second page of results and the picture changes completely:
Once you have found a fabric that you like though, the following steps in the process are nice and simple – choose a lining and then a mechanism etc, all priced individually so you can see how much extra each item will add to your order. However that first step makes finding a fabric a time intensive process and when you are as picky and indecisive (when it comes to colour choices) as I am, this can take forever anyway.
Browser Media UX Games Score = 5/10
I found this site a lot easier to use, especially when it comes to selecting a fabric. You can filter by colour, product features (if you want it to be blackout / energy saving etc,) and patterned / plain etc.
Also the product pictures are attractive and clear, showing the fabric as it would look as a blind, rather than just a sample, and they are big enough to see properly:
However I did find with this site that the fabric I liked wasn’t available in the width that I needed – it would have been handy to be able to filter those out to start with, to prevent someone falling in love with a fabric / design that they like to later find out they couldn’t have it (like I did :( )
NOTE: It does state the max. width allowed in the Tech Spec at the bottom of the product page and it’s only a couple of clicks to type in the size you need. This could be an extra feature to add – allow users to enter in their sizing requirements first, especially as these are unlikely to change, to see what is available to them.
Browser Media UX Games Score = 8/10
I found this website pretty clunky. As a customer you are taken through the stages of picking a fabric, starting with colour:
Thing is, you can only select one colour at a time before you’re prompted to click the next button in the bottom right hand corner. So if you are not sure what colour you want, you’re forced to select one and then go through and select patterned or plain or both. What’s more is there are only 8 products on each page! You have to click through the pages to see the different designs and then click back about a thousand times to return to the beginning and pick another colour and go through the whole laborious process again for a different colour pallette – there’s no easy way to get back to the start.
The measuring instructions are very vague too – there isn’t much guidance to help you make sure you measure correctly. They also don’t appear to make blinds over 228cm, which is frustrating as my window is actually 229cm wide.
Browser Media UX Games Score = 3/10
And the winner is…
Based on my experience, Blinds 2go is my favourite and is the site that I think I will be ordering from. It’s really reasonably priced too which is always a bonus!
I appreciate that Dunelm Mill are not actually a specialist blind site and you can go in store and purchase from there, but I feel that Roman Blinds Direct could much improve their online user experience with a few CRO Tests and tweaks.