Introducing Crestock Ver 4.0: Design, Usability & Speed
Posted Friday, 3 July 2009 by Sverre Bech-Sjøthun in Design
Not even 2 years after we launched our last major site revamp, Crestock 3.0, we're back with some huge changes on the site. Read on to find out what's new in Crestock 4.0!
Those of you who remember our previous major revamp know that we basically tore everything apart
and put it together again. Crestock Version 2.0
was, let's face it, very pale in comparison with what you'd expect from one of the biggest sites in the micro payment stock photography industry - It was a near disaster usability-wise, inconsistent in navigation and difficult to use.
To improve usability both for new and existing customers, we needed define the essence of what Crestock really was; an image search engine and an online store, and we needed to combine the best from these two core concepts.
The GUI needed to look and feel like a search engine with the added functionality of an online store - cut through the clutter and get it pure and streamlined in every step of the process of finding and buying images – as well as uploading them to sell.
Crestock Version 3.0
As you can see from the screenshot above from the original 3.0, we've done some changes in between as well, but though Version 3.0 solved many of these problems, both on the GUI and process side of things, there were still things that came up, both through internal discussions as well as from all our members. So we took things to heart and started on top of our complaint list.
Crestock Version 4.0
The first thing you'll notice with the new design is that we've cleaned up the top portion of the site, creating a much clearer menu structure, with the Member and Account navigation at the very top while a main menu is clearly visible beneath, and also introduced explanations on how to use the site and stage indicators to show you where you are in the buying process.
You'll also see changes in the Shopping Cart Checkout, the Buy Image Credits & Subscription
page as well as Sign-up & login forms et cetera. The focus has been, as usual, to make things as clear and clean as possible, while providing you with the information you need at any time.
Improved site speed
A lot of the code behind Crestock was from the very beginning of the site, and we discovered that certain parts in particular was never meant for a site with such massive amounts of traffic that we have now.
In particular, the search engine has been bogging us down for a long time forcing our poor servers to grinding halt from time to time at peak hours. Our excellent team of programmers have, with the new code as well as extensive use of compression, improved overall performance by about 40% to give you a faster, smoother shopping experience.
There are still a few tweaks we'll implement the next following weeks to make the site even
faster, but with the incredible growth we've had the past year
, yet another server upgrade might happen fairly soon.
Bug Reporting & Upcoming Releases
Though we've spent months working and testing, and hopefully there shouldn't be too many bugs left by now, some things may still cause problems or errors. If you do experience any problems please do not hesitate to post in the comment field below and we'll take immediate action.
We'll be releasing changes and updates on an ongoing basis for the next few weeks, so be prepared, and of course, if you like what you see or have suggestions for further improvements, by all means, let us know - constructive criticism is always highly appreciated!