Fender.com redesign is... weird
Ah, Fender, you are so weird. Cool, but weird.
And your site search at the time I write this is, well, broken.
Fender recently introduced a whole new web site design to fender.com. I can tell up front that it was designed to be more mobile-friendly (a.k.a. 'responsive design') because that's the "in" thing with web design at the moment.
Navigation appears easier, but isn't
Fender's new design says, figuratively, "We have 5 electric guitar models and 5 electric bass models."
Okay, that's a good start. It's definitely better than what they had before.
However, that good step forward immediately takes a step back because the landing page for each model is full of stuff that does everything but get the visitor to where they would want to go.
Take the Stratocaster landing page. I don't care about "world's greatest" whatever, I don't care about what makes a Strat a Strat, I don't care about history or "iconic moments," I just do not care about any of that stuff.
What I do care about is how much the guitar costs and what models are available.
The main landing page should be the Standard model guitar, which presents the visitor with what they came to the web site for in the first place. If they were looking for something else, that can be listed in the nav bar above.
And yes, there is a direct link to the American Standard Strat on the fender.com home page, but you have to scroll waaaaaay down to get it. Nobody is going to see that.
Fender is still shoving way too much unnecessary stuff into the visitor's face when all they want is to get to the guitar as quickly as possible. The new-design landing pages serve as nothing but roadblocks that get in the way more than anything else.
Did Fender dump a bunch of a models?
The new fender.com design makes it look like a whole bunch of models were canceled. Nope. Just hidden due to either poor search indexing, poor navigation or having particular guitars moved off the site completely.
Fender didn't dump Squier
This is one of those "moved off the site completely" maneuvers. I can understand why Fender removed any mention of Squier from fender.com. You see no mention of other brands FMIC owns like Gretsch or Jackson on fender.com as they have their own internet identities, so to speak. Now the same goes for Squier. Makes sense.
SquierGuitars.com is now the destination (again) for all things Squier.
Modern Player Series isn't gone, but rather well-hidden
The China-made Modern Player Stratocaster HSS is still on fender.com, but wow is it buried. It's now listed as a "special edition." What? Huh? There's nothing special about it. It's just a series. Weird.
Road Worn gone?
No. But buried within the site just like the Modern Player Series is.
This is what you have to do in order to see a Road Worn now.
From the fender.com home page:
- Vintage (top right)
- Scroll down
- Classic (submenu)
- Scroll waaaay down
- Finally, you get to the guitar here.
Yep. Eight steps.
That... is not good. Most people would have simply given up after 3 steps and figured the guitar doesn't exist anymore.
How can fender.com fix its problems?
Fix the search
If I search for "modern player", no Modern Player Series (or rather platform as Fender is calling them now,) show up. They're there, but I have to scroll down the results page, click 'load more', and then the guitars show up.
The fix here is just to have the site show what's known as the 'most relevant' show up first, which would be a Modern Player
Series Platform guitar.
Offer a "quick-jump" navigation option
There's a lot of stuff that's just so buried on fender.com that nobody would ever find it (like the Starcaster guitar.)
Some kind of a quick-jump navigation in the top nav bar would be nice. Either that or a "smarter" search box.
For example, when you type something in a Google search box, Google starts suggesting stuff you might be looking for as you type. Fender.com could do the same. If I click in the search box and start typing "STRA....", a little drop down box appears with Stratocaster related product pages.
Make the Fender product catalog really obvious where to get it
Did you know that Fender offers their entire catalog as a PDF download? You probably didn't, but now you do.
There are going to be some people that absolutely hate the new fender.com design. For those folks, give them 184 pages of full-color PDF goodness; they'll happily accept it.
I mean, the time and effort was spent to put it together, so, y'know, make it more known where to get the thing.