6 Best Approaches for Rich User Experience by ASOS!

Being as the UK’s biggest online-only fashion and beauty retailer, ASOS is slowly but steadily increasing its market share in the international markets through the combination of extensively deploying insightful marketing strategies and, more importantly, constantly improving its user experience.

In this article, we are going to examine ASOS as an online retail platform with O’Reilly’s Web2.0 pattern – Rich User Experience and its best approaches.

Let’s take a look at the interface of ASOS website:

Interface design combines the bests of desktop and online experiences:

The interface offers very clear and visible guidance which facilitate the navigation process. Links and tabs provide instant response and information on mouse hover, by which creates a rich interactive and responsive user experience like desktop application.

Usability & Simplicity first

Through appropriate compartment of multimedia contents and global navigation, ASOS gives us a good example of achieving rich user experience without sacrificing the efficiency and usability.

Simplifying and integrating related contents into pop-up menu also helps to improve the process of navigating users to desired contents.

Match the technology usage to the requirements

ASOS was the first UK online store to launched catwalk in 2006. Now it gets virtual. Users no longer need to run their imagination about: does the dress look good on me? Even though the catwalk is no more than a promotional gimmick, it is always better to watch video than pictures.

Another great hit by ASOS is the campaign of digital equivalent queue before the summer sale started in 2012, which achieved an overall ROI of more than 2000%. Through a series of games and viral marketing
on social media platform to encourage users to digitally ‘elbow’ to the head of the queue for early entry to the sale, ASOS successfully turned the existing users into brand evangelists and achieved a new level of engaging
user experience.

Search over Structure

ASOS offers a precisely categorized content structure for user to easily access desired information. All items can be found through submenu links, search box and its comprehensive search refine options.

The search history also offers a certain degree of adaptive personalization to improve the efficiency and convenience of browsing the website.

Preserve content addressability

The website uses XML and Javascripts as scripting languages while the API is RESTful and employs JSON exclusively for both requests and responses, by which ensure the content addressability.

Not to mention that ASOS is the best performing website on natural search among other online retailers.

Deep, adaptive personalization

In order to present personalized information, the application constantly learns from user’s behaviour through recording and analysing each action and preference (“Recent viewed” box, see below picture) then deliver the relevant contents accordingly (“We Recommend” box, see picture below), and even further anticipate users’ need (“buy this look” button, see picture above).

Any room for improvement?


First of all, the font size of submenu is too small for users with poor eyesight. Plus there are too many options to search from, which somehow poses a problem for efficiency. And according to the Eye Tracking research in Human Computer Interaction, users tend to skim through a group of words without carefully examining the contents. I will suggest ASOS to enlarge the font-size of drop down menu, or simply highlight some major categories for users to choose from, thus to improve the visibility.

Secondly, the user experience can be further enriched by employing more prompt and responsive interaction/feedbacks to the links or multimedia contents. The typical mouse hover responses like colour change or slight movement are not enough. Providing concise information on mouse hover about the contents which the link will direct to can effectively save time and improve the usability.

However, while most of the websites with rich user experience may suffer from poor performance and long loading time, ASOS successfully trounced the speed competition by applying the performance testing tool to effectively improve platform performance through complex and functionality rich test and simulating the diverse behaviour of online users. As a result, ASOS has risen from 49th to 9th faster retail site in the UK.


asos.com – Case studies in The Times 100, by The Times 100 Business Case Studies
ASOS is king of natural search among fashion retailers, by David Moth, 30 April 2012
User Experience Review – ASOS, by Jamie, January 2010
Asos -“Life” Section Review>, by User Vision, 7 May 2010
Expedia, ShopNBC, ASOS enhance mobile sites via HTML5 platform, by Rimma Kats, 10 May 2011
Client Portfolio – ASOS, intechnica, retrieved 31 March 2013

8 thoughts on “6 Best Approaches for Rich User Experience by ASOS!

  1. i agree that the usability needs to be improved, but in saying that the interface seems agreeable and could be easily updated..Congratulations on your findings.David

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for your reply and valuable opinion!
      I believe that a lot of users may find the interface quite simple and trendy, but I personally feel that the font size is indeed way too small (for some users with poor eyesight)

  2. Hi Edie

    While online shopping isn’t exactly one of my past times, I can definitely see how many of the features that you have pointed out would greatly enhance the user experience and keep customers coming back for more, time and time again.
    An excellent and very different example of this key concept.

    – Matt

    • Hi Matt πŸ™‚
      Thanks for your comment and opinion πŸ™‚
      I think ASOS really does a good job both in creating novel user experience and increasing brand reputation through a series of strategies. πŸ™‚
      Some of the case studies really go into that and worth a read.

  3. Great post, Edie. You really walked us through ASOS and their best practices for the RUE pattern and your graphics are very eye-catching. I just wondered if you could explain the O’Reilly pattern before you launch in; and maybe check the numbering/graphic text for the best practices…they seemed to get stuck in repeat somewhere. But still a great post!

    • Hi Bronwyn,
      Thanks for your comment and valuable opinion πŸ™‚
      Actually the numbers of pictures are in accordance with the second one, which outlines all key practices. And sorry that I admit they do look a bit messy and not easy to catch up the ideas :-/
      I will try to arrange it better in the following posts πŸ˜€
      thankyou πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Edie,

    It is well appreciated information but along with the six best approaches, information regarding quality of products and their price needs to be embedded in order to gain the attention of the customers. I don’t know whether I am right to ask here that do these products assure for guarantee? As you have been explaining about this web, you must have used it. If yes, then what is the procedure to be followed for exchanging the particular product? Do ASOS offer standardized products or customized ones? Further there should be an elaboration of whether increasing sales of ASOS are being affected by positive word of mouth or it is just the experience of the already built chain of customers who are contributing towards the sales of ASOS? Remedies that can bring the non-satisfied customers back to sale transactions are important as they can assure prospective customers about the caring nature of the company.


    Ps. I wish to see your comment on my latest blog

  5. Hi Edie,

    First of all, what a great in-depth post! Well researched, nice graphics and of course your own observations.

    Also, as I work for Intechnica, who performance tested ASOS as you mentioned in your post, I have to say thanks for mentioning something that often goes overlooked – the impact that content-rich web pages have on performance and page load times. Even a one second delay is enough to drop conversion rates significantly.

    Keep up the good work!

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