north shore swimwear

Reviewed May 2, 1:00 p.m., Explorer 4.5 (www.northshoreswimwear.com)

the North Shore Swimwear site has plenty of bells and whistles to entice the online swimsuit buyer. The splash page includes a beautiful photo of Hawaii’s geographic North Shore. After clicking on the photo, you are taken to the North Shore home page, which has a clear explanation of the company and its products.

The navigation around the site is pretty basic. Links to the left carry you to different categories, such as “tops,” “bottoms,” and “mix and match.” But the Cybercritic wishes North Shore had set the “boutique” link apart from the others, as it contains the best elements of its site. When you click on this link, a letter from the president explains how its ordering system works, the custom features, and size charts. And a link for a fabric slide show is not only helpful and clever, but also graphically outstanding. Such value-added features embellish the site – and allow the customer to truly shop the merchandise.

But the Cybercritic is sad to report on the dismal design of the online ordering system and a few other peeves. The site enables you to select from various fabrics and styles (which are numbered) and then it downloads a photo of the suit you’ve created. But the “order” link takes you to an order form, where you must reenter the information. And I would prefer to see the privacy policy on the checkout page to reinforce the site’s security for those who do not explore the “boutique” link.

While the North Shore Website definitely needs some work, its positive aspects should sway most prospective swimsuit buyers to endure the difficult ordering process. (Users can always break down and call the 800-number to order, but that’s hardly the point of shopping online.) If North Shore could make that suit truly a few clicks away, it may increase business enough to upgrade the site and afford to employ a Cybermodel that would show a customer’s proportions with the suit. The technology is available, and this would be the perfect concept to exploit it.

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