The O'Reilly Radar blog this morning had an interesting post about Etsy.com. It's a Web site that sells handmade goods (somewhat similar to Eziba.com, I suppose, which had a meltdown and then got bought by Overstock.com).
However, rather than just doing the normal online storefront thing (search by category, size, etc.), they've embraced the freedom of the interactive Web and come up with some fascinating ways to search the site. For example:
- By color: Pick one of the color dots, and it displays products in that color.
- By time: The clock at the top of the screen runs backwards, showing which products were listed when.
- By location: Where the sellers are from, based on a U.S. map.
Once I start looking through the site, my mind went wild with other navigation options. For example, what about temperature? Let's say it's 20 F out -- I'd want to see sweaters and overcoats rather than swimsuits. I also thought about materials -- silk, wood, cotton -- but they've already done that one.
I like such sites, because they break the mental habits of buying from brick and mortar retail stores: blouses are here, skirts are there. Who knows? If a store manager sees the Etsy site, maybe he or she will experiment with putting all the pink clothing together.