Think user

Volkswagen UK

OK, now why is it that the (many) car manufacturer do the best job and push the envelope when it comes to a engaging product experience? True the product is desirable to most of us but when looking beyond they really know how use the medium to their advantage. Take Audi, they recently revamped there site and updated the way you approach and navigate the range as well as added AudiTV, which is filled with great stuff on technology, engineering, design, and motor sports. There is also some great use of video, sign-ups and other goodies stuffed in there. Then we have Ford and it’s multiple brands. Ford.com gives a good overview of the product and brand offering. Here the category navigation (ex. SUV) is very interesting, where one gets to see the full product offering form all the brands in on go. This is supported by an interactive filtering tool with a good range of sorting options. Lincon’s site offers a very cool “in environment” fly-over 3D presentation of the exterior and interior of the car which include a color picker. Nice. While Volvo’s site offer a more sober and clean product presentation but still to the point. And then Jaguar with its stylish and sexy take on imagery and video. Overall these examples have on thing in common, a great engaging branding product experiences.

Now lets move on to the future – user centric – welcome Volkswagen UK.
Surfing around I found this spot promoting the new site:

VW is know for it innovative site and campaigns, just take the current (now old) US site or the GTI campaign. But with this new UK one they have changed the focus – it is now all about the user and providing right tools for the experience.Just take the landing page – just brilliant, quick right to the point questions and entry to what you are looking for, new, used, own (finally sometime for the new buyer with feature like my cars etc.) as well as some clever campaign/model highlight integration. And the main sell/lead generators are always present in the top nav.
This user centric approach continues while navigating the site. Take the new car section, the complete range of vehicles presented in one view and a preference side bar with relevant options. Continuing on the model page we have a nice qucik animation intro and a straight forward nav. 3D model with hotshots are nice but I really like the overlay with detail images, creates nice impact. The gallery has a fresh approach, maybe not that user friendly but, with a nice layout options. As does the reviews/awards section.
Now, one of the more important, or even the most important section of a car manufacture site is the car configureator. Taken their last try into consideration one can do nothing else that applaud their efforts. Simple and intuitive with just the right amount of cool/effectfull animations.Believe that all of these site are examples of a great user experience and should be copied/modeled after more, especially the later. Just one thing missing in my point of view, social web integration, and we will have the best product site ever.

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