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Thu Aug 1 2013 10:44:37

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Ruby Lane unveiled a site redesign, currently in beta mode, as part of its 15-Year Anniversary, official now that it's August 2013.  You will "see a brand new home page, as well as a new shop home page and item page  layouts that we feel are even more attractive, and more intuitive than ever before," read part of an announcement sent to its shops.

The last major redesign of the site was in 2004, which is quite a while in Internet time. In my opinion, the new design is much more professional-looking and eye-catching, and should accomplish its goal of appealing to "an even higher-end buyer than we currently have. We want to grow the site to include a customer base that is "the best of the best"," as it said in its announcement.

I also think Ruby Lane is going about the change in a good way, cautioning users to give the changes a chance before judging them, and acknowledging that change can be difficult. It is also thoroughly testing every aspect of the new site with select shop owners and staff.

This redesign, in keeping with where a lot of the Web seems to be going these days, is highly image-based, with photos and graphics taking up most of the screen. However, the categories ("Lanes") of the site are right near the top, "above the fold" as it were; and the search is front and center, with a convenient drop-down box that lets users search the whole site, individual categories, "Today's" or "This Week's" Arrivals, or a shop directory.

One of the coolest aspects of the redesign, in my opinion, is a new Advanced Image Processing tool which  removes the background completely from the image, leaving visible only the item for sale; centers the item in the frame, and, if necessary, adjustment to lightness or darkness are made and shadows removed, among other things.

Lastly, I like that the new site design completely fills my gigantic monitor, whereas the old site left white space on the sides.

But, now it's your turn to give your optinion: what do you think of Ruby Lane's new design? Are there downsides to it being so image-based? Are there other changes you would have made? And do you think it will attract higher-end buyers and tastemakers, as per the redesign's goal? Post a comment here!




Comments (13) | Permalink

Readers Comments

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: Glor This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 3 12:46:40 2013

Haven't checked out RubyLane in a while. Will take a peek. As always, you're on top of things, Julia!

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sat Aug 3 15:12:22 2013

Lots of interest in Ruby Lane then ?
That seems a shame.
As I think niche sites are the way of the future.

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
Web Site

Sun Aug 4 23:25:00 2013

I'm sure some folks will like it - I'm not rich and I am not an interior designer.  I have shopped RL for some of the interesting jewelry pieces but  find the new design a major turn off.  

I have vision issues and a whole mess of tiny thumbnails rather than fewer, well sized photos, is useless.  At first I despised the slideshow at the top but learned to lower my viewing area to hide it.  Slideshows are the work of the devil - by the time my eyes focus on the new item, the next has slid into view and I never get a good look at anything.  between the slideshow and the rolling mouse cr*p on the images, I feel as if I am chasing the item I want to see and chasing=work, not fun.

And finally, I am probably the only female on the planet who utterly abhors, loathes and despises pink and the new page looks pink and brown to me - yeccch!

I feel sorry for the shop owners with the picture service being offered.  It will make the site look sterile while costing them bucks from their bottom line.  But if they don't do it, they will not get the same promotion that others with deeper pockets get.

But, as I said, they have stated that they are not trying to attract folks like me.  I wish them luck - I personally will spend my money where I feel wanted.

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: Interesting Antiques This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 00:00:22 2013

Its very nice, but what is perplexing is with the world economies being in such turmoil, why would they go for such 'upscale'?  Sure the 'masses' will not purchase expensive un neccessary items, but even well heeled customers are keeping their pocket books a bit more closed and do not open it as freely as last year. As for Designers, I hear them complaining that there are not enough clients.
So I wonder if this was well thought through and they did their research. I guess time will tell. However  the 'bread and butter' customers may go elsewhere and it will be RL's loss. It will be interesting to see what happens.

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: SayWhaaat? This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 01:33:38 2013

I have a shop on Ruby Lane. I can honestly tell you that the people you liked dealing with, the favorite individual shops and owners, have not changed.

Let me repeat that, The people you liked dealing with, the favorite individual shops and owners, have not changed.

Just like renting space in a brick and mortar mall in your city, that is all we are doing. We are renting a patch of cyber space in an ''On-line'' shopping mall. We can not help that the mall owners tore down the awnings, did away with the quaint street signs and walkways and things that made this mall unique and look comfortable to shop in.

We also can't help the fact that e-commerce is changing to keep up with the way the masses are logging on to buy what they want. I have read that more and more people use an iPhone,Smart Phone,iPad,Lap top, you name it,rather than a Desk top to shop. What works on a PC doesn't always work that well on the other devices. I can't fault Ruby Lane for trying to get all of the photographs to look the same on the background. It is a shame, but it is not the fault of Ruby Lane that it is happening. They are just trying to go with the flow and make it easier for all shoppers, Phone,Pad and PC.

The items that are for sale have not changed. I will still be carrying the same kind of inventory on August 13TH when the change happens as I had the day before on the old Ruby Lane. Only the presentation is changing. It is because of that presentation that they hope to attract new customers to add to the base of customers we already have. There are a few interior decorators that I have sold to in the past. Most were glad to have found what went perfectly in a customers room design. All were wishing they had found Ruby Lane sooner. However my bread and butter is the individual shopper that appreciates the quality of vintage jewelry. Also the collector that has been hunting for a piece to round out his collection. Heck, I even sell to other dealers on and off site. This is what makes the shops at Ruby Lane so special. We have something that can appeal to everyone. Up Town, Down Town and the Bronx.

No, I don't think Ruby Lane is hitting the mark with this new look. I can't say I am happy with the feel of the place now. And after seeing the Web Design Contest that was featured here, I can honestly say that I think they could have done better. However...
The individual shops you loved and the owners have not changed. Please stay with us folks. We have always enjoyed you, and working for you.    

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: oklahomasong This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 10:09:12 2013

I think the new look is absolutely terrific!  I can hardly wait until it goes live.  

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: beverly This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 10:11:59 2013

I think it is terrible...it appears ruby has separated vintage jewelry from antique jewelry which I think will only confuse customers.

the customer now needs to go to 2 links to see jewelry instead of one as before

I am sure that sellers like myself will see a loss of business

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 11:38:36 2013

A bit of a mess.

[Comments refer to individual item pages; storefront and usability maybe another time]

Some aspects show thought and care: The way the page scales to very narrow window-widths. The nice/clean icons compared to the old design, ie: Add to Cart, etc. The effort toward a distinctive logo.

Other aspects are a mystery...

But I'll skip those and the larger topic of overall redesign — except to point out [dig out your screen-pixel-ruler] that in the old design the seller's logo got about 7.9x the real-estate as the Ruby Lane logo, whereas in the new design the seller's logo gets about 0.4x the real-estate as the Ruby Lane logo.

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: Tinker Belle This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 5 14:32:43 2013

Thanks so much SayWhaaat? for your reasssuring comments!! I have a shop on Ruby Lane also, and I could not have said it better!! I am really concerned about such a drastic change.  

I am just so glad the photo/background change is optional. If it becomes required I probably will leave Ruby Lane. I cannot afford with my small shop to pay such a ridiculous charge for something I'm perfectly capable of doing myself (and already am, actually but with a fill-in flash and real background, getting the same results but without a horrific jolting blank background that makes the item look like it's floating in space.

I sell antiques/collectibles in a niche collecting area where fraud and fakes are rampant. I DEPEND on shoppers realizing my items are authentic and 100% untouched. If the photo background is removed, they will wonder, WHAT ELSE has been ''touched up'' and may be leery of purchasing from me.  

It is absolutely critical for shoppers to see the edges of my items, and cropping out backgrounds will make those edges very suspect. If they suspect a problem they won't even think about my 100% satisfaction guarantee or assurances of authenticity.  

What I have encountered in the marketplace is that the general public who know about the site  have been equating Ruby Lane with jewelry (''oh, that jewelry place'') which is fine if you sell jewelry, but limiting from the standpoint of the entire site).  Now, is it going to become an ''interior decorator'' focused place, so that antiques/collectibles shoppers will not realize there is still the wonderful supply of antiques and collectibles (and jewelry) offered?

While I have a cadre of repeat customers, I depend on new blood, and if they equate Ruby Lane with interior decorating, they won't realize how many antiques /collectibles are actually there also, let alone the line I am selling!

With the marketplace today, I would hate to see such a wonderful shopping venue become pigeonholed and known for only a single selling area.

As for the color, red and gray is not my preference (a warm color clashing with a cold color). I would have preferred deep red with a cream or buff but I wasn't asked.

I thought it was very interesting how the immediate thing that pops up on the main page is a search blank rather than the homey welcome feeling from before, straight lettering no graphics, no ''lane'' to travel down.

Personally I don't think there is that much wrong with the current/old format, to change it so drastically and dramatically.








 

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 6 17:35:01 2013

I hate it-its impersonal and catalogue like. The new Shop home page looks like facebook which I also dislike intensely since the timeline change. It's no longer about what you have for sale but the promotion of Ruby Lane first and your name second-antiques last and under the fold, I don't need to sell my name or Ruby Lanes-I want to sell my ITEMS. And 49 cents per image to use the new tool which makes your item look like its floating in space? I think NOT. That will put my listing fees up (if I only process the FIRST image per listing) by 150% per listing.
And how are trashy Red Tag sales going to fit in with this new slick image that Ruby Lane is trying to promote? I can't recall seeing 1stdibs or oneKingsLane having 50% off sales site wide....
The old shop homepage design was actually rather clever. While the Homepage for Ruby Lane showed a Victorian type cobbled street with shops, when you visited each shop their homepage is reminiscent of actually looking into one of those multi paned shop windows.
Huge thumbs down from me.

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 14:32:06 2013

Agree with ''Tinker Belle'' regarding the colors. Gray strikes me as modern and corporate. The burgundy and gray is a carry-over from their (attempted) Ruby Plaza site, which was supposed to get Ruby Lane into the Etsy (hand-made goods) and Interior Decorator (new goods) markets. (That's what I assumed, anyway.) Other elements of the Ruby Plaza design can be seen in the RL Beta. Didn't work out for them, but here's the link…

http://www.rubyplaza.com/

So, now seems like they have decided to take some of the failed (more ''modern'' looking) site and port that design to Ruby Lane.

Go figure.

And, yeah, elements from that other Holy Grail [not] of Design — Facebook — can be seen in the RL Beta.

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: antiquebeak This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Aug 7 17:53:12 2013

There are aspects of it I like, larger photos for example, and the thought of updating is a welcome one for it shows RL is attempting to be on top of trends.

The unfortunate aspect is that their design has borrowed from Pinterest, G+, Facebook and many other sites - all surprisingly the same.

With the opportunity for a redesign I had hoped they would have created something that sets them apart from the crowd rather than blending in ....

I also agree the lack of graphics and color makes a cold, cold presentation. As a shop owner I shall endeavor to add color to my photos and shop in an attempt to balance the lack.  

What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?   What Do You Think of Ruby Lane's New Upscale Design?

by: oklahomasong This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 19 15:35:39 2013

I have a Ruby Lane shop, and I am extremely pleased with the new format.  As a Buyer, I find the larger photos and the cleaner look to the lay-out make it much easier to browse the items.



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