I have been waiting for this update for around 18 months. Finally, as of October 2012, Zara have an app worth recommending and it is truly brilliant! The app used to look like this, so you might understand why I am so delighted. Also note that the entire app is iPhone5 compatible, taking up all of the screen estate.
The opening screen displays a recent promotional image. Portraying the identity of the cool and chic brand, the image beckons you inside. With a tap on the page, the homepage is revealed. It is quite a nice way of opening the app and asks for immediate user engagement.
The home screen displays a toolbar offering products, the checkout, a scan tool, a profile area and a store locator - very similar to the best apps currently on the market. The products screen seen here above, allows the user to vertically scroll through categories, displayed as large horizontal images. The backgrounds being alternative colours really makes a change from the usual white bands seen on most apps, and really adds a professional edge to the screen.
By selecting one of the categories, a drop down appears offering further options. The text is brand specific and looks extremely sophisticated placed on top of a completely white page. Rather than having each category separated by a black line to portray a button, the user still knows that they can select the option of choice.
The product lists are again brilliant. Each image has been thought about perfectly, so that all images are uniform. Each on a gradient background to allow the clothing to stand out, it sets a really minimal and sophisticated tone for the brand and I for one absolutely love shopping on this app now. Yes, the product information cannot be viewed on the screen such as prices, but I think that it is not always entirely necessary. If you have used the correct photography, the user will be intrigued to click into the item to view the price anyway.
The product screens open to a full screen image of the clothing. I have never seen this done before; always opening to a product information page with smaller product images that the user can manually zoom. This app instead sends the user right to the product allowing them to scroll vertically to view further images. Scrolling horizontally moves to the next product. By scrolling all the way to the bottom, symbolised by a square rather than a circle (down the left of the screen), a box appears along the bottom of the screen offering you items to wear it with. Fantastic; personalisation at its best!
It is only when the user taps on the product that the product information then appears. The price is displayed on the screen and a share button promotes sharing on Facebook, Twitter and via email with a drop down selection. The product is still full screen and the users viewing experience of this product always at its highest.
By choosing the small information icon, a screen appears offering the user all of the necessary information about the product. I have been waiting for Zara to give more than just a price and it seems that they have listened. Again the screen looks professional and sophisticated.
Another area on the products screen is one labelled 'Campaign' and another, 'Lookbook.' Each contains photography and imagery for the brand and latest collections. I think imagery on an application is paramount and enables the user to become inspired and aspire to the look of the brand.
The campaign imagery is full screen and shows off the latest photography. It does not lead to any of the products however but works more as a brand lookbook. The imagery is beautiful and really aspirational.
The Lookbook imagery is split by month and allows you to find particular pieces from a certain time. The great thing about these images is that they can be selected, opening up a translucent bar displaying the alternative products on the page and the pages you can buy them from. Such a streamlined experience is perfect and really makes this app special. The user does not have to fuss around searching for an item they had viewed - the retailer sends them straight to it.
Another category is entitled 'Films' and another 'By/.' Again, allowing the user to gain a variety of multi-media experiences on the app will really increase their positivity and satisfaction with the brand and will inevitably leave them coming back for more.
The films are shown as horizontal bars filled with the black and white imagery. The 'Play' sign suggests that the user can select each to play, moving to full screen and opening the iPhones play and pause buttons. The films are short promotional clips for the season but again portray the atmosphere and identity of the brand, really creating an aspirational lifestyle.
The 'By/' displays the artistic side of the brand. Zara works with artists to highlight great talents. This film is a short production by such an artist and offers something slightly different to watch. The user can view imagery of the artists work or a short film.
The checkout area is alike to others but yet still continues the aesthetic throughout. Each product is listed with the price and size and the next button beckons the user to continue.
The scan tool is again alike to others and allows the user to take a picture or type in the bar code of a product they have seen in store. Perfect for those times that your size is out of stock and you want to quickly find it on the app. It brings the technology into the physical store and create a fully streamlined buying experience.
The app asks you to log in to view your profile or to continue to checkout. I used to hate this screen, just because it stops you from continuing quickly. But I realise now that in fact it was the design of the screen that I hated. It was always so dark and gloomy and didnt excite me to continue. Now that the screen is brighter and better designed, I do not mind creating an account or logging in.
The store locator is again as standard yet follows the aesthetic of the rest of the app so that the screen has a very minimal edge. Each store is listed with the option to view it on a map or to move forward to more information. Each store can also be directly called from the app easily. The user is not hassled at all and can complete their request in the most satisfactory way.
The app is truly brilliant. The entire aesthetic is clean, clear and crisp and reminds me of a designer brand. The product screens are now exellent, complete with full information, multiple images and personalised product recommendations. The rest of the app is filled with photography, videos and additional features that truly add to the brands identity and increases the users brand equity. There is nothing really lacking here apart from perhaps a customisation feature that allows a more refined product search. However, the product category listings are beautiful with uniform imagery and items in two columns to allow a minimal aesthetic. There is not much I could fault on this app and it has now become one of my favourites. Highly recommended! 5 Stars!
All screenshots taken of the Zara App, November 2012.