Thursday, September 15, 2011

We proudly present our new 3D shoe designer! Feedback requested.

Last week we touched on the fact we had a second big project we've been working on in addition to Sneaking Duck.

Without further ado, we're very proud to present the beta version of our 3D shoe designer! It's been by far our largest project to date, 12 months in the making and we've had 5 or 6 of our small team working on it. Our development team and the team in China have done an incredible job putting this together.

One of the most common requests we receive from our customers is, 'Is there a way I can see a more realistic image of what my shoes are going to look like when they're made?' We're confident that our 2D designer has been a a major factor in our low conversion rate. One of the best investments normal e-commerce sites can make to improve their conversion rate is in their product photography. Allowing customers to see exactly what they're going to buy, from lots of different angles is critical. The equivalent we've been offering our customers has been a pretty unrealistic 2D drawing and even from that we've had 1000's of customers paying $250+ for their shoes. So we're expecting this new designer to have a positive impact on our conversion rate.

Which would you rather pay $300 for?

It's been no small feat building this designer. It's many multiples of orders of magnitude more complicated than our first version. Modelling our shoes in 3D, allowing customers to adjust and view the shoes in different heel heights, incorporating much more realistic examples of our leathers and materials complete with light reflections, allowing customers to rotate the shoe in 8 different angles and having this all work fast and with an easy to UI has not been without it's challenges!

In addition, the 3D designer is built in Javascript unlike our previous version, and most other online mass customisation software which is built in Flash. This allows it to run on mobile devices and the iPad, an often requested feature.

Hats off and a huge thank you to Mike, Bel, Mel, James, Andy, Susie and the rest of the team for doing such a fantastic job in building this.

As you'll see, the designer doesn't yet have all our shoe designs enabled in it so we've not yet replaced our 2D designer, we expect to do so in 1-2 months. We've launched this beta version to gather feedback, particularly on the user interface. If you have any problems using it, or can see things you think could be done differently we'd love for you to leave your feedback in the comments.

Click here to access the beta version of the 3D shoe designer.



  1. is giving a 404

  2. Thanks Steven, apologies link should have been Fixed now. :)

  3. The design is gorgeous. Three suggestions:

    # AJAXify the JavaScript so the shoe specs aren't in the URL. I find it disconcerting that when I hit the Back button in my browser, my shoe customisations started to unravel.

    # Need to think about how to tell the user which part of the shoe they are about to customise. I eventually worked out that it related to this circles somehow but I still haven't mastered it.

    # Need to think about how to tell the user how much 'spin' they'll put on the model when they try to rotate it. Sometimes it rotated when I dragged the mouse and then stopped when I stopped. Other times it kept spinning for a while after I stopped dragging. Sometimes it span quickly. Other times not so quickly.

    Of course all this comes from the desk of someone who didn't have to write a line of this code. It's a real achievement. Well done.

  4. Not working for me either, but the pic looks super cool!

  5. You need to alert people to choices (eg. lining colours) that are only availale if they rotate the shoe.

    I also had trouble with over-rotation, but found the circles intuitive.

    There's some touble with the linings - the colours display on top of each other & then won't select.

    But, lots better than the 2D!

  6. Wow! I think every woman would actually want to have a pair of those great shoes!

  7. I think this is absolutely fantastic. Just playing around with it makes me feel like the options are more real!

    From a quick play, agree with the over-rotation comments and (not crucial) but with certain toe designs, it's would be great to be able to see it from a birdseye view.

    I particularly like the heel height option as it really makes a difference to how you see the shoe. Awesome job, guys!!

  8. Fantastic tool! Your people did a great job. Only feedback is to make the menus above the shoe more obvious as drop downs.

  9. Very very nice, makes a huge difference to what you have now. It's great but still has a way to go before awesome. Here's a wish list for Phase 3 shoe designer:
    - drag and drop materials/colours onto sections of the shoe
    - better ways to navigate the materials - sliding drawers to reduce current options, by colour, by material, etc.
    - ability to create a swatch palette of my favourite colours/materials so I can get rid of all the other noise
    - upon selection of a colour/material, display me a real shoe (off on the side) so I can see the colour in real life. The designer is still not real enough for materials.
    - If i have a combo of colours, show me a real shoe with that combination, and then show suggestions based upon other people combos with my colours.
    - need a more elegant way to switch between heels, decorations etc. Needs to be more integrated into the shoe design area.

    I'll be fascinated to see what difference the 3D designer has on conversion, hanging out for your post in 3 months :-)
    Cheers! Jeni

  10. Thanks so much for the great feedback everyone and please keep it coming. :)

  11. Great job Michael and team - very impressed it's done in HTML5.

    It looks great and works well. Only three things to add:

    1) The rotation was very sensitive on a Mac using a touchpad (as opposed to using a mouse scroll wheel to rotate which may be easier to control)

    2) There are so many things to do at first that it could be overwhelming to new users so a guided step by step process could work well, by hiding other options until earlier ones have been selected.

    e.g. 1) select toe, 2) select heel, 3) colours etc. Once they've done all that then they should be presented with the designer as it is now so they can make any changes they want

    3) The pop-up notice that appears at first was quite hard to close on an iPad. Maybe it would be better if you clicked anywhere on the note then it disappeared rather than just the top right?

    Well done again,


  12. Incredible, a totally different and enhanced experience well done!!! This is a completely non-technical comment, horribly superficial and I may be the lone ranger, however I have white shoe neurosis, so seeing a page of them kind of scares me. Very much appreciate the absolute need for the blank canvas and starting point, but my first love is blinded by the white. That said, what you have created is amaaazing! Sophie

  13. Looking great! Anything that gives a closer representation of the final product is going to be more persuasive in the end.

    I usually flick through your gallery pics to get an idea of all the different elements in real time, and then try to imagine them together in my own design. The 2D is limited in that regard, so congrats on making this big step!

    I had similar hiccups to those that have already been written here so I won't repeat them. Definitely looking forward to when all the features are available, including ballet flats. Well done!!

  14. Loving the 3D designer and looking forward to it's full functionality. As a SOP customer, I think this innovation will definitely improve the conversion rate, it's much more realistic.

    From a personal (non-technical expert) experience I prefer that all the options are customisable on the designer from the start so you can see the effect of swapping the toe/heel/decorations etc.

    I agree with previous comments about the "real shoe picture" adding perspective, and I would also like to see more "shoes on feet" in photos.

    Exciting times!

  15. It looks great, especially materials, all the patterns - amazing! Shoes for me look too digital but waaaay better than before and better than for ex. on
    PS. And again Milk and Honey Shoes is doing same thing... At least they are declaring that on Facebook showing only screenshot, no testing version. Exciting times indeed.