31.5.11

French Connection - "You Are ...."





The French Connection app was launched early 2011. I was informed about it one day in work by a colleague, and quickly scrambled for my iPhone to download it. It was primarily rife with bugs and problems such as freezing screens and menus that led to nowhere, but after a few days, they had managed to smooth out all of the glitches.

The design is really bright and colourful, but manages to retain it professionalism. Similarly, the menu is really busy and if you weren't watching close enough, you might miss the 'More>>>' button, navigating you to further areas, yet it still manages to offer you navigation buttons with a bit of a twist. No other app that I have viewed has a menu that is so sporadic and un-uniform, so hats off to French Connection for their originality.


So how about product viewing? Recently the app was updated and a product bar was added down the right hand side of the product screen. Before this, the user had to view each item individually one at a time, scrolling horizontally to reach the next garment. French Connection obviously realised the difficulties and annoyance this imposed on the consumer and have quickly altered the product screens to be much more fluent. Now, the consumer is able to view a product individually in large, whilst being able to vertically scroll through further products of interest along the side. Excellent update!


When the user finds the garment they like, by double tapping the garment, clearly stated above it (you wouldn't believe the amount of apps that do not help you move around them), the user is taken to an individual product page which incorporates image interactivity technology to allow them to view further views, zoom and a full product description.  If the user feels like they want to either tweet or like the product, they are offered the social media tools to do so. Similarly, if the user wants to add this garment to their bag, they are able to do so at the touch of a button. What more could you ask for? ...


Additional features that the app incorporates include a Lookbook, where garments have been styled on a model and the user is given information as to their product code and price. By clicking the garments name, the user is taken directly to the product page in order to enable fast purchasing.

Furthermore, the user is offered a video archive aptly named 'Le Cinema' where they can watch the latest brand campaign advertisements. The layout of the page differs again from many other fashion apps, again highlighting the brand unique individuality. It uses a horizontal scrolling bar and shows the selected video as a large focal point. The user can watch the video with ease by selecting the play button.


Finally, the brand has also incorporated a bitesize blog feed into their app named 'Electrique.' Here the user can scroll through snippets of French Connection news, style advice, trend information and celebrity styles. The feeds are short and snappy and are perfect to read when you're on the move. Its really nicely designed and perfect for mobile viewing.


I would say one of the only let downs of this app comes with one of the most important areas - the legal information. Whereas many other apps offer you a list of help categories relating to delivery, costs and services, the user is bombarded with a full page pdf. of information, where they must scroll and read through manually to find which piece of information they desire. It's fantastic that the user is offered so much information, but to categorise it would be a god send.


Other features include an 'online exclusives' product selection, a 'basics' product selection feature, a 'bestsellers' menu and the ability to access your own French Connection account.

Overall, I would award the French Connection app with 4.5 stars out of 5. Originally and beautifully designed with thought and style yet it lets down the user when it comes to help and legalities. The Lookbook section could be better and they could possibly benefit from implementing some form of promotion and discounts page to reward or make the user aware of the latest brand promotions

But for the user, this is definitely an app to download straight away. 

French Connection, "You Are... definitely ahead of the game!"


All images screenshot from the French Connection App

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