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BJD website pet peeves... and aspect favorites!

Feb 27, 2010

    1. *Notice: Please be respectful. This is not intended to be a slam-fest. Also, if this topic has been covered, please feel free to move it/delete it. Additionally, I am new to DoA so I am sorry if there is something "wrong" about this post in anyway...

      So, one thing that made me fall in love with BJDs has been the media aspect surrounding them. One thing that has been fascinating for me is the way that BJDs are marketed by various companies. Especially since they tend to be meant for world-wide appreciation! :)

      There are always a few things that bug me though, and I thought if we could (politely) list some good constructive feedback, it might help give web masters some ideas on improvement. Additionally, praising great aspects of a website can be helpful too!

      Here are just a few things that frustrate me:

      1.) My main irritation is when companies don't let you enlarge photos or see details on sold out/discontinued items. I know I may never get to have this item anymore... but I want to see what you created and be able to appreciate it! :lol:

      2.) A lack of status updates for years despite active use. Just let us know you are still indeed in business! Even no news is good news! ;) Otherwise I have to hunt around to find out if people have been working with you recently.

      3.) Not being able to see FAQs without being a registered member. Especially if the questions are in English but the membership sign up ISN'T! Please won't you let me be an automatic guest?! :...(

      Some of my favorite things:

      1.) Links to other websites/ company partnerships. I love being able to go directly to a website that creates custom clothing for a company's specific doll body.

      2.) Being able to look at dolls/accessories/clothing using either a size OR company name. Sometimes I want to look at EVERYTHING available to a doll of a certain size for sale, and sometimes I just want to see the overall look/style of products by a certain company.

      3.) Having a place for customers to post pics of their dolls. Nothing better than getting to see even more pics (and less professional ones for that matter) of dolls that you are interested in buying. You can get a better of idea what the doll looks like "in real life" and when used as an art model as well. Plus I love getting to see unique and different face ups, alterations, etc.

      4.) Showing eyes/wigs/etc. on a model head. I can never quite trust my own mind's idea of what a specific item will look like on a doll head without seeing a general example. I worry that I won't like the item once I see it used on a doll, if I haven't already seen a picture.

      So what do you like/dislike about different websites?
       
    2. Bare, nearly blank examples of a doll are forever a plus. Whether that means showing off heads without a face-up or details of the body's structure and posability, absolutely all shops should offer up these in some form or another.
       
      • x 1
    3. I completely agree. Too often a head sculpt is show in several shots from the same angle with only the standard face-up and the wig will often obscure the features somewhat. They're very artistic shots, but don't really allow you to see the details and angles.

      Also, rarely to you see a good side profile shot of a face. Noses are important to me, and I'd like to know in advance if the nose is too pointy or to stubby when viewed from the side.

      A comparison shot of bodys available from each company on their websites would be helpful, too.

      Lastly, joint mobility? Okay, the doll stands very nicely from many many angles, but what about the knees and elbows? How do they look when bent all the way? Are they natural looking? Are they ridiculously square?

      And, um, Fairyland? The pale-skinned "puki magic items" photographed on a white background are really hard to see. But I love you!!!!

      On the plus side, shots of the same head sculpt with 2 or 3 alternate face-ups, eyes and wig are great!
       
    4. Pet peeves:
      For dolls, not enough angles. I'd also prefer to see them in the eyes etc., that they will actually come with in at least one shot.

      For clothes/wigs, no shots from the back. I prefer tops that open in the back and/or will fit over the doll's head, and sometimes you can't tell how they close from the pics.

      Bizarre navigation. I want to be able to find products easily, and pay without a million steps.

      Customer service done through forums. This is quite common, but I find it awkward and inefficient.

      Pluses:
      Informational pics in galleries, such as those Iple and Soom do in response to customer questions.

      Shots from various angles, in various wigs and such. Nicely designed photoshoots.

      Fun contests, campaigns, and events.

      Various order status updates, which can be very exciting! *L*

      Willingness to market and sell to those outside their own countries and main markets.
       
    5. I've had lots of issues with doll companies in the past, one of my worst experiances was through a company when I trying to buy new clothes for my dolls. Turns out you can only get the dolls, wig, eyes, clothes everything you can imagine for your doll... only through dealers!! It ticked me off greatly that I have been trying to get stuff for 3 hours and it just tells me OH GO TO A DEALER!!

      SO... things that tick me off...

      - Somtimes you can't select the eyes the doll comes with

      - Having to find DEALERS in order to get dolls + supplies
      ( If I can explain further, I really don't mind it... I just wish sites would EXPLAIN it, instead of letting the customers hunt and hunt till they find out why they can't get the stuff. )

      - Not updating enough

      - Updating TOO much ( honestly, one website emailed me like 5 times a day making sure I got the last update. )

      - Not bother to telling when a item is out of stock

      - Not enough pictures to see the doll

      - Saying that a doll comes in diffrent skins but not bother putting the pictures up of what the doll would look like...

      trust me, I have more but I think I'll stop there.
       
    6. I've never had too much in the way of pet peeves towards the doll sites. For the most part, all of them use the same format which is easy to navigate, easy to order from, and easy to get your questions answered.

      Pros:
      -I really like the forum-based assistance (except for when all the threads are locked), so I can look and see if anyone's having similar problems.

      - Having pictures of the dolls in different positions, with and without clothing. I've never really thought too much about with and without faceups, since I'll usually order the default anyways. >_>

      - Written descriptions of the doll on their picture. Someone mentioned it earlier, but I really dig the way Soom does their monthly doll descriptions too.

      - And of course, the fact that they cater to most of the world. It's very nice that they do that, since there are BJD collectors on every continent.

      Cons:
      - Some companies haven't really developed a user-friendly site. It's pretty bad when you have to look up instructions on an off-site forum for ordering a doll because they're so vague or complicated with what they want you to do.

      - Only offering one or two blurred pictures of their product. It sucks when you're spending all this money on a doll and the company can't snap a few more shots to make sure you're getting what you're wanting.
       
    7. I hate when you can't even see the dolls face because of some huge wig. Maybe just a mouth and one eye is peeping out.

      Please don't show only a bunch of pics of a dressed doll. I want to see the whole body and face, back and front, naked and unpainted.

      A forum to post pics, or at least an owners gallery would be great so we can get lots of ideas of the dolls potential.

      Take the time to take and post some decent pics. Seriously if we can't even decently SEE the doll, chances are we might go elsewhere.

      It's silly to make customers hunt down pics and info about the doll YOU'RE selling on other sites.
       
      • x 1
    8. Lack of measurements on dolls and clothing. Some sites are better than others at providing this info.
      If I'm ordering a doll, I want to know every single measurement so that I can buy clothes, shoes, wigs, eyes ahead of time.
      And if I'm shopping for the clothes, shoes, etc., I need to know the measurements to figure out if they will fit my particular doll. Telling me that they fit a certain doll from a certain company doesn't help because I am not so knowledgeable that I know the body type of every single doll out there. Maybe that worked when there were fewer companies and fewer dolls, but it's pointless now.
       
    9. Biggest peeve: Bad website design.

      Flash is nice, Flash is cool. Flash slows down people's navigation HORRIBLY, especially if they're not on a T1+ line and also have to wait for the pictures (which they really do want to see) to load on top of the navigation.

      I absolutely agree with the observations about: lack of measurements; not enough clear pictures, or PLAIN pictures in addition to the glamour shots. Some sites have measurements, but you really have to guess which sub-section they might be hiding in - under the individual dolls pictures? In the fAQ?

      And ordering should be straightforward and simple. The fastest way to lose customers is to make them feel stupid on your site. That's a paraphrase from a brilliant information architect's book. ;)


      What is GOOD about the sites? They exist. In five years it's gone from being a real task to buy a doll to being an incredibly easy process (aside from the waiting... :) ).
       
    10. Peeve: Scrolling Flash banner ads, Flash popunder menus, and those dynamic "you last looked at __" windows that follow you around as you scroll. Gah! :X I'm with Kay -- with Flash, as with most things in life, all things in moderation. More pictures and info, fewer bells and whistles.

      Despite their Flash fetishes, though, I find that Soom's & Iplehouse's forum-style sites are particularly crammed with information, full of concessions to the foreign shopper (including crystal-clear FAQs with screenshots), & they're at least semi-intuitive to navigate. They provide a well-rounded shopping and buying experience, and a community for returning buyers.

      I am especially fond of their prototypes' galleries, the extra-photos-on-request galleries, the post-photos-of-your-doll galleries, & the polls where they ask you what type of [X] you would most like to see next.
       
    11. Absence of blank PROFILE photos. I need to see them noses, seriously!
       
    12. Peeves:
      - Websites that don't work on western computers or not with all browsers. Also, websites that take millions of years to load.
      - Flash animations or scrolling menus or other bells and whistles that I don't need. They look cheap, can cause the site not to run (especially at work) and can spread viruses.
      - Background music, ugh. When I am at work, or at home during late hours, the last thing I need is some loud cheesy music blaring forth from my computer without warning. It contributes nothing to my doll-viewing experience.
      - Lack of plain vanilla head sculpt and body sculpt pics.
      - Websites where sold out items are not marked "Sold Out" so you have to e-mail someone or place an order only to find out that wig or whatever hasn't been stocked for two years.
      - Lack of English on the site - no e-mails - no place to ask a question.

      Most of the large companies such as Dollmore, Iple, Soom and Luts do pretty well with their websites. I used to have a lot of trouble with Tensiya's website and there are a couple of other doll sites that just will not load on my computers most of the time.
       
    13. ...i really wish i could order things using firefox. i have trouble with IE, it causes my computer to freeze up if i take too long using it, so that's really inconvenient for me.

      i wish that sites would leave your cart alone for as long as you want to leave it alone. i do NOT like having to go back through and refind everything. i've started keeping lists ><

      i DO enjoy unedited photos on websites. nude full body shots, heads without makeup. these are important to me as i want my dolls to be mine and seeing an unmakeup'd head is very important to this aspect for me :3

      intuitive, easy navigation is also important to me.

      available, full-site english. having to work through a japanese/korean/chinese setup to make sure that i can get what i want is really frustrating ><;
       
    14. Here's another pet peeve:

      Just went to a dollsite which shall remain nameless.
      Placed my order for a couple dolls and a body.
      The instructions on the site say that after I hit the checkout button I will get Paypal instructions and then I should follow directions.
      Instead I got a bunch of foreign language characters and a message that says my order didn't go through.
      Tried three times, still not working, and since Website has no Q&A page, I had to e-mail them.

      Merchants need to make sure their websites work so people ordering and paying can do so! I mean, that's really basic business sense. Otherwise buyers get frustrated in a hurry. :x
       
    15. I agree with everything already said! The following are my most important 'want to see', when shopping:
      - Unobscured full-face, L&R sides, and 3/4 views of the face in bright, but diffused lighting. (I'm buying the doll, not the pretty-artsy-staged-photoshopped images.)
      - Full front view of the unpainted head.
      - Black text on white (No more pale color text on white -or- dark color text on black.)
      - Complete measurements, including wig and eye sizes, on the same page as the doll or hotlinked so the info can be found easily and quickly.
      - Understandable instructions on the ordering steps.

      Useful features (when applicable) that some sites offer:
      - Showing a doll with different faceups, eyes and wigs--very helpful to see the potential of a sculpt.
      - Clear pictures showing all resin color samples altogether.
       
    16. I agree with wanting more photos, profile views, even top views or other unusual face views would be great. Also photos of what body sculpt the doll comes with being easy to find, and lots of un-censored photos of it in different poses (I cannot understand censoring something that you're supposed to buy).

      Faceup-less photos would also be a plus and pictures of the sculpt in the resin colours available.
       
    17. My main peeves with company websites are confusing navigation, locked Q&A answers to questions I want to ask and horrible, unflattering doll sales photos. I also wish companies would test their sites on more than one popular net browser (IE, Firefox and Safari to say the least!) to ensure that it will function on most people's browsers.
       
    18. I love it when:
      *There are photos of a doll head(from vastly different angles) with and without a faceup. Headcap off is great too!
      *Accurate and long list of measurements of doll size are provided on the page displaying the body and on the doll's pages that are using that body.
      *There are resin compatability charts (THANK YOU)
      * lol i actually love that 'most recently viewed' thing that follows you on the site. XD
      What peeves me:
      *When the only company photos of a doll I can find have been raped by photoshop. ><
      *there is no recent news of any sort. (Are you still alive?)

      To have a website that works properly and is easy to navigate and buy from I think is most important. If the information was clearly provided it would reduce the work for those who reply to our questions on the boards. ^^
       
    19. Very similar to everyone else but here's mine:

      Peeves:
      -Overexposed shots of the face or shots that are model like shots
      -No or very few measurements
      -No or little pictures of the body and how it poses.
      -Locked Q&As
      -Generalized measurements for Wigs (There's a big difference between a size 7 wig and a size 8 wig, and I'm sorry 7-8 does not cut it. )
      -No pictures of eye sizes next together
      -Hard to figure out navigation
      -Forum order boards ._.
      -Locked Customer Galleries
      -Sites that you can't use the back button

      Pros:
      -Naked head or body shots
      -Exact Doll measurements
      -Name of the doll modeling the outfit
      -Exact clothes measurements (Oh how this would help so much.)
      -List of everything I'm getting in the box
      -Customer Service via forum or email that is quick as easy
      -Customer Gallery that I can view
      -Shipping guesstimate before purchase
      -Resin match guide
       
    20. Some of my pet peeves are weird, specific technical issues that are the result of imperfect compatibility between the shopping software and my browser and computer (I'm a Mac user) and some of them are more specific to the practices of the company.

      I hate that a lot of sites automatically highlight the search bar on a page, because I use the comma and full stop buttons on my keyboard to navigate between tabs on my browser, but if a text field is highlighted then instead of navigating between tabs, it types into the field. Then to make things extra irritating, I have my browser set to warn me when I close a tab that I've typed into as a precaution against accidentally closing say, a partially-finished forum post, so when I've accidentally typed into the search bar on a doll site because of the aforementioned auto-highlighting of the field, I get a warning message every time I try to close a tab. This may seem really, really nitpick-y and specific, but it interferes with the efficient browser use I have gradually perfected and if there's one thing I hate, it's inefficiency ^^;

      Also, when browsing pages in a category the next button doesn't work on my browser for some reason and I have to use the specific number of the next page. This is something specific to that particular shopping software nearly all of the doll sites use, and it's kind of annoying because I always automatically click next, and then remember that it doesn't work.

      I really hate the weird Q&A sections used by most sites. In my mind, a Q&A section on a website should be for general questions that many people might need the answer to, and should be viewable to all. Private questions about one's own order should be carried out through email. I don't want to have to post a question and then wait a few days for the reply when someone has clearly asked the same question already, but I can't access it because it's locked.

      I don't like heavily photoshopped promo shots of dolls. Many companies have obviously used Photoshop filters and settings to lighted or darken the image to the extent that you can hardly see the doll! I'd far rather see some clear shots of the blank head from a variety of angles.

      I don't like splash pages that involve flash or huge images that take forever to load not because of my internet connection but because the site itself is slow.

      There are some positive things as well, though. I appreciate that when a company has a separate entry for a doll body, they generally include a wide variety of photos showing posability and different angles.

      I like being able to get a shipping estimate before ordering without having to actually contact them for a quote, or placing the order and then being told the shipping charges afterwards.

      I love sites that sell eyes and include photos of what the eyes look like in a doll. It's hard to tell whether an eye is right or not just from the eyeballs on a piece of cloth, and especially for expensive eyes made of glass or urethane I want to see the product in use.

      I like comparison shots of the different resin colours the company offers, as it's often hard to tell the shade of the resin when the doll it's covered in frilly clothes and blushing and Photoshop filters.