Interaction Inspiration at Cloud for Week 10, 2018

Time for another installment of Cloud’s weekly inspiration posts, and the winner of this week’s bad-ass-site award goes to ESTYLE, Inc. 


Badassery is a fine line to ride, and the general trend I see more often than not, is that along with the great, you get a trade-off in usability. Bleeding-edge coolness often seems to override the idea that websites should be usable, above all else.  That is why I am enamored with this company site from Japan that both nails an elegant implementation of bleeding-edge technology, and employs tried-and-true navigation patterns and design foundation. The result is a user experience that is compelling and fresh, and also effortlessly usable—all of the badassness, and none of the usability problems. 

WebGL used for rendering graphics is largely responsible for the wow-factor that is delivered to visitors.  The silky-smooth animation of people and graphics that we see after the home page loads is delivered via WebGL, and tasteful placement of music accompanying these visuals gives an all-around pleasant introduction to this firm. But right along with the eye and ear candy comes a rock-solid, albeit small, information architecture and navigation scheme, that is rooted in time-tested usability.

Pages have a clear navigation bar set on the left-hand side of the screen that is obviously the means of getting around the site.  This pattern is ubiquitous and readily recognizable by users now, and the design treatment leaves me confident that folks can largely figure out what to do. There is a single clearly-labelled direct link to company information, and otherwise the sidebar is the obvious means to get to a menu.

Clicking to a subpage in the site loads in sub-content, and also introduces breadcrumbs(!).  It excited me a bit to see such a rote pattern for site navigation being utilized so smartly in a cutting-edge site. As is always the case with breadcrumbs, the inclusion of this UI element means that the visitor always understands where they are, and can effortlessly soak in content presentation with no thought to where they are in the information architecture. Here however the breadcrumbs are a fundamental design element, and they are elevated beyond run-of-the-mill, by being presented as a highly visible navigational control.

In my opinion, employing creative innovation in page content, while sticking to tried-and-true patterns for interactions, is an excellent strategy for deploying stellar user experience to the web.  Check it out at: