Cottage Industries came to crossroad to provide them with a complete solution for their business processes: inventory management, billing, order entry, catalogue creation and website development. Their catalogue consisted of over 500 different item groups which formed a rather complex heirarchy of products. We had to understand their entire product offering before we could start modeling it in a way that would make it easier for both their internal working and their customers to find what they were looking for.
Cottage Industries is a manufacturer and wholeseller of incense and handicrafts. We were initially asked to give Cottage Industries a web presence to let customers view their entire product catalogue and place orders online. crossroad realised that to make it intuitive for customers to find their way around, the products had to be classified into a very clear heirarchy of groups and categories. We devised an innovative scheme by which any product could be reached within a five-level tree structure. This helped visualise the complex product tree in a very elegant manner and brought in a wealth of added benefits, including the ability to make dynamic product listings, searching and sales reporting.
Our first step was to create an application that would help visualise this tree structure and let content creators enter and maintain an internal products database. As important as it was to have this structure in place, it was more so to hide it from the general public.
Though this portal was primarily meant to be a showcase of its products, Cottage Industries wanted it to nonetheless have a high level of design appeal. To add a creative twist and to break away from standard template driven web-pages, we decided to make the pages scroll side ways for additional information. This allowed interesting possibilities, letting visitors make immediate comparisons of different variants within a product group and a layout suggestive of a story-line.
The pages scroll horizontally instead of the usual vertical design. The layout consists of panels that are stacked one beside the other giving the pages a story-like sequence.