Carnivory is my concept of a modern e-commerce site selling unusual carnivorous plants, inspired by a personal challenge I faced while browsing existing specialty plant stores. Their sites used all-caps for names which obscured information, followed old web design conventions and often had low contrast between text and backgrounds.
The overall style of the site should have a distinct, luxury brand feel without sacrificing usability, ensuring the company’s brand can grow. In order for new customers to feel comfortable I had to avoid visual clutter or disorganisation, but also had to ensure that an experienced collector met a low interaction cost and that all relevant information was present, for example both English and Latin names.
Challenges and Solutions
To ensure users weren’t overwhelmed when navigating the site, I created distinct subcategories to differentiate store sections, with a clean underline element to show users their current location.
Throughout the design, emphasis is on the English name of plants rather than Latin to encourage prospective buyers to engage with the products while making sure not to discourage existing customers.
The ‘like’ buttons in the item list view can be difficult to distinguish due to my use of stock photography, however I mitigated this with the use of a drop shadow. Ideally, if I was working with a real client I would take product photos that considered the need for clear space in the top right hand corner of the image.
I chose to use vintage botanical illustrations as the main design theme throughout the design, this helped to add a luxurious, printed texture to the site and provided rich eye-catching elements. The full page hero element on the home page embodies this, it gives a quality brand feel to both existing and new customers.
The historical illustrations contrast well with the use of the brand name’s serif typeface and the sans serif typeface used throughout the user interface. All of these elements compliment the modern, thin vector assets designed for the brand.
Though very unique, carnivorous plants have very specific care instructions which can put people off. Therefore the ‘Plant Care’ section of the site is designed to be approachable, using recognisable icons so that repeat visitors can make quick decision that will hopefully lead to purchases.
Also, if one of Carnivory's plants are given as gift, the link to the care page can be provided through a QR code on the box, inviting another user to the site.
To increase the audience for the brand and for the challenge I designed a mobile version of the site. In order to keep the brand feel, I distilled the desktop experience into the responsive design, taking key elements to maintain consistency across platforms. The navigation feels intuitive in that the icons in the top bar positionally related to the next step after tapping them.