Grovemade Site Review
Grovemade co-founder Ken Tomita recently spoke to eCommerce Portland’s meetup at our GRAYBOX offices about seeking out their core customer. The company got their start with Ken’s wood designs, but things really took off for them when folks found out about their wooden iPhone cases, which could be customized, and besides that, looked really cool. Grovemade has since branched out to watches, wallets and knives, but their desktop accessories and iPhone cases are a staple of their business. The clean, simple design of their products is reflected in their website and in their core customer, who seeks the same clean simplicity in their life.
It’s so clean! One hero image slider, all of the information above the fold, simple navigation, and images that show off their full line of products in great detail with links to each product page. The navigation is similar: there are four options and each one is self descriptive.
I recently watched a video about designing with a drunk user in mind, and Grovemade’s website is a perfect example. You cannot get lost, you cannot get confused, and it is really hard to get frustrated with the site—I tried, but it is too zen.
The shop page is laid out very well. Every product is visible, but not in a way that makes it overwhelming. The page is scrollable and products are given two views when applicable. This little bit of interaction makes the page engaging in and of itself and makes the shop browsable, which is a huge plus for eCommerce.
When you click on a product, it takes you to a page that shows you a 360-degree view of the product. It also shows a view of the product not in use, for example, the laptop stand or storage trays without anything in or on them. The product descriptions are quick and concise and capture all of each product’s features. A row of images below each product show it in its natural environment—the desktop items are shown on the coolest desks ever. These images are super high resolution, with incredible detail given to each product.
Below this row is a technical specification for the product. Some products invite you to learn more about how they are handmade. This not only makes the page engaging, but it also reinforces Grovemade’s effort to make each customer a part of the Grovemade community.
As they say in their Journal page, Grovemade is as much about its people as it is about its products. Their About page reinforces this. Not only do they invite users to visit them (and Portland) immediately, but they make their story fun and engaging by including the human element behind their company. Their story invites users to keep reading and scrolling down the page. The staff photos are interactive like their product photos; when you hover over an image, you get a fun second look at each staff member.
It’s a throwback to a more analog time. It’s a consistently updated page. Flat out, “Journal” sounds better than blog and it invites users to click on the link. Grovemade’s Journal is as engaging as the rest of the site. Each entry is given an enticing title image, and is filled with more enticing images.
The design entries are a personal favorite, since they walk through the design process. It’s a ton of fun to see quotes and memories from the design process, as well as the designs that didn’t make the cut.
By the time users get to the bottom of the page they are treated to a subtle, yet effective triangularly weighted view. The navigation sits at the top of the triangle, with the very bottom of the triangle populated with a secondary navigation that includes links to the fine print and site map. In the middle of this triangle is the invitation to join their newsletter—you probably should— and under that, social links. Making the email submission the focal point in this subtle way makes it all the more appealing to fill out.
The Grovemade site works, for a couple reasons: it is simple and they have a limited number of products. To use hyperbole, this website would not work for Amazon. This is not to distract from the way that it makes it easy and desirable to purchase each time you visit. Pure is the word that comes to mind when I try to simplify how I think about the Grovemade site. Pure: clean lines on each page, high-definition details, beautiful imagery, thorough stories that strike an emotional chord. The Grovemade site has all of this laid out in easy to digest pages.