Website Review & Rate: Chumby.com

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reviewchumby.jpgThere is a new craze thats beginning to sweep the nation - Chumby! But just what exactly is a Chumby? It’s a rather cool compact consumer wireless internet device. About the size of a coffee cup, and has a 2.5 inch touch screen, you can get all kinds of cool info and widgets on it – MySpace, weather, traffic, news, Facebook, email, Flickr photos etc. Basically you name it, and you can use it for it. I don’t own one yet (subtle hint? hehe), but I thought Chumby.com would be a great candidate for my website Review and Rate series. So here we go - just how good is it for potential buyers and owners? Read on and find out…

Look and Feel – 8.5/10
The good: Chumby.com looks very cool and trendy, and makes great use of an audio/visual slideshow on the homepage to illustrate the features of the Chumby product. The colors and imagery work very well, and seem to appeal to its probable target market – trendy teenagers and young adults.chumby.jpg

The bad:Overall pretty good, but there could be some extra web pages that have pictures of what you can use the Chumby for. The only place you can see all this stuff is by watching the slideshow on the homepage.

Intuitiveness and Usability – 7.5/10
The good: One of the most important things that the Chumby.com website needs to convey, is what exactly is the Chumby, and why you should buy one. Luckily, when you first arrive at the site, the slideshow reveals exactly what the chumby is and what you can use it for, and the navigation of the slideshow seems fairly intuitive. And if you want an instant place to click for an explanation, there is also a well placed ‘what the heck is a Chumby’ button on the homepage, that plays a video all about it. So thats a good start. For people who already purchased a Chumby, there is a clearly labelled ‘help’ navigation menu, which contains support, FAQs and their ‘getting started’ guides, and offers a clear link to ‘active your Chumby’.

The bad: So, you have watched the slideshow about Chumby. But where next? Your eyes are still on the slideshow, but there is no call to action button in this section for the next logical step to learn more. Your eyes then have to do more scanning, where you eventually see a link to ‘buy a chumby’ tucked away in the top right – but ‘buy’ implies the visitor is ready to buy, and probably scares people from clicking on this. There really should be a ‘learn more’ button next to this ‘buy a chumby’ button.

Also, other than the slideshows, there is no actual ‘learn more’ page on this website with all the features and reasons why you might want to buy a Chumby (other than the ‘buy/store’ page – which I didn’t click on because I wasn’t ready to buy). Therefore, the navigation menus seem to be geared towards people who already have a chumby (help, widgets, forum, dashboards etc). There really should be an ‘about’ menu section, that lists different pages like ‘why get a chumby’, ‘chumby reviews’, ‘where to get a chumby’, all geared towards a potential buyer. There should also be a clear call to action after the ‘what the heck is a Chumby’ video has played, taking visitors to a ‘learn more’ page,  containing prominent links to be able to buy the Chumby. Ideally, the ‘what the heck’ button should should take you through to this separate ‘learn more’ page, which would have the same video playing, but also have the features listed, and offers links to reviews, FAQs, and the store.

Sticky/ Web 2.0 Content – 9/10
The good:I was pleasantly surprised and  impressed with Chumby.com for their sticky and web 2.0 content. All to often, ecommerce websites don’t offer things like this. Chumby.com offers some cool stuff, designed to make you want to come back, particularly after you have bought a Chumby. In particular, I love their ‘Show off your Chumby’ section – this is a great way to build a community of passionate users . They also offer the ability to create virtual chumbys, widgets and ecards, chat in the forum, and recommend the site to friends. Great stuff!

The bad:If I were to take their content to the next level, rather than just relying on users to submit photos of their Chumby, they should let users create and upload their own videos of their Chumbys – this is even more web 2.0! And how about some polls and live chat? Seems like that would be perfect for the younger website visitors…

Overall Rating - 8.5/10
I am actually pretty impressed with their website - they could have done a lot worse, and seem to be making great use of slideshows and sticky content to keep users coming back for more. With the addition of a few more pages geared towards potential buyers, and user submitted videos, I think it would be even better!

Analytics/Testing Ideas (non-geeks can avoid this section!)
Upon looking at the code, it seems like they are using Google Analytics to track their website visitors. Which seems okay for now, but surely they might want a more customized, versatile solution soon, when the website takes off even more. As for ideas to test, I would redesign and test their home page to offer clear call to action buttons for their main visitor types – visitors looking to learn more, visitors looking for support, and visitors looking to join their community. Placing all these call to action buttons together, below the main slideshow would surely increase the flow around the website, and help provide a better experience. I would also test the impact on sales by adding an actual ‘learn more’ page – I am sure that would help drive even more sales.

>>>> Well thats the review for Chumby.com. Hopefully you liked it. And who knows, maybe you might buy one too! Feel free to make comments for improvements and ideas for what websites you would like to see me review in the future. Thanks!

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  • http://www.bartonsmart.wordpress.com BartonSmart

    Rich,
    Thanks for introducing me to the Chumby! It looks hip, I’m pretty sure it will be obsolete in months, and I definitely want one.
    On that note, I disagree about your take on the end of the video. This was not my experience at all. I finished the video, my eyes shot up to the green-highlighted “BUY A CHUMBY” and I clicked. I knew I wasn’t going to buy now, but I also knew that I’d probably find the real information I wanted here (price, availability, etc.).
    It worked. I got what I wanted. Chumby should consider my visit a success because I started ignorant and left a potential customer.
    -BartonSmart

  • http://www.rich-page.com Rich Page

    Looks like my ideas were well received by the folks over at Chumby! I just received this email below from their CEO – its refreshing to see a CEO actually listening to external feedback from someone like me! Thanks for the reply Steve! Hopefully my testing ideas help you sell even more Chumbys.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Rich,

    We’ve already read it with interest and I forwarded it around to the team. I agree that many of your suggestions are helpful — expect to see us implement some of them :^)

    We appreciate your interest.

    Cheers,

    Steve Tomlin
    CEO
    Chumby Industries, Inc.
    http://www.chumby.com

  • http://www.evisibility.com/Fumi-Matsubara.html Fumi Matsubara

    I am not only impressed with Chumby’s website, but the fact that CEO personally replied to the post. Sounds like your recommendation will be put in to good use. Talk about great reactive customer service – All companies should learn from Chumby! This is how the web should be used.

    Now if they sent you a demo for the link love, that will be uber awesome. Chick Filet gave me a free meal on my first visit when they first opened the restaurant near my office, I raved about that for months.