Image via Louis Vuitton

When you’re a brand with as giant a product line as Louis Vuitton‘s, designing a website can understandably be a bit difficult. Showing dozens upon dozens of bags, most of which come in multiple materials and sizes, without showing too much to potential counterfeiters is tricky at best, not to mention incorporating all the other multimedia content that it now takes to paint a cogent picture of a modern luxury brand. I wouldn’t want to be the person tasked with figuring out a usable way to do all of that.

Vuitton found someone who was up to the task, though, and the results of the redesign are mostly solid. At the very least, if you were hoping for easier organization of product pages and larger images, the new site gives you exactly that. It isn’t without its problems, though, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

First and foremost, I hope your computer is hardy and current. I’m using a year-and-a-half-old MacBook Pro with Apple’s newest operating system and an up-to-date version of Google Chrome, and the website eventually crashed both my browser’s Flash player and my browser itself. Things have been a little unstable since I upgraded to OSX Lion last month, so I won’t blame it entirely on Vuitton’s site, but the enormous graphics and video backdrops will likely stress any but the most finely tuned systems. Perhaps in a nod to this problem, Vuitton seems to have reduced the resolution of some of those huge background videos, which leads to a blurrier backdrop than I would have expected from a brand with a reputation for details.

On the positive side of the multimedia coin, the new site is much more rich in content than the previous design. It’s relatively easy to view videos from brand ambassadors like Angelina Jolie, take a look at the just-shown Spring 2012 collection and explore Louis Vuitton’s collaborations with various contemporary artists, if you’re the kind of consumer who wants to do those things. If you’re interested in fashion as an industry, there’s plenty to see.

It will likely be the online shoppers who are most pleased with the new design, though. Navigating through Vuitton’s litany of materials is much easier with this version, and although you still don’t get a chance to view a much-needed grid of thumbnails when searching for a product, toggling between material and size is much easier. The side-to-side flow of products make me feel a little motion sick, but fashion sites seem to adore the setup so much that I doubt it’ll go anywhere anytime soon. Overall, the site seems to be an upgrade in both senses of the word, as long as your computer can handle it.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Janinevs

    Do they really worry about counterfeiters checking out the website for details of bags? That just seems stupid to me. If you were a counterfeiter, wouldn’t you simply walk into a store, buy the bags that you want to produce, take it apart, draw up the pattern and put your cheap materials and labor to work. I’m no criminal mastermind, but I always assumed this is how it’s done.

    • Some brands seem to be careful with images on their website for that reason, and some (like Hermes) are extremely careful with images of their most counterfeited bags. (Check out their Birkin page to see what I’m talking about). I don’t think it’s necessarily an attempt to disguise details, but probably more to discourage people from using those pictures elsewhere on the Internet in order to sell bags. The white-background stock images of LV were everywhere, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they made sure to picture the bags against an image background this time. Just my little theory.

      • Smith

         is very good, i think this is important

  • Janinevs

    Ahhh, that makes more sense to me. After all the money they spend on their brand image, it would suck to have their pics all over fake bag websites.

  • Kinky Kitten

    From a technical point of view: When will companies stop making crappy Flash sites that have zero accessibility and cause huge strain on processors and bandwidth. The site offers no text content, if someone doesn’t have Flash plugin installed. Also no use trying to open anything in a new tab (which a lot of people like to do when they browse around).

    No search engine visibility judging by page source, so I guess they like shooting themselves in the leg. When people google for Vuitton, they will most likely end up on counterfeit sites instead of their own official site.

    • I agree that the site seems like it’s not making terribly savvy use of the technology that it employs. I’m not a web developer, but I know it shouldn’t be crashing a stable, updated browser.

      I find it much easier to navigate than the old site, from a product search standpoint, but the flaws that you mention are very real and seemingly unconsidered from Vuitton’s side.

  • lisa

    i think it looks nice but its not very user friendly

  • Sue

    Agree that designing an innovative new website is difficult, however the new site does strike me as not particularly classy nor user-friendly. I do not believe counterfeiters would use the official website only, so that is not an excuse. It is a pity this new site is not attuned to a top brand image; moreover, the programmers should realise that they are over-icing the cake by using all the functionalities, which results in an overload of sensations and motion sickness. Shame, let’s hope they put it right (a good example would be the Prada site!)

  • rose60610

    I just went on the website for a brief look. It’s pretty snazzy, but the razzle-dazzle effects slow down the site somewhat. However, it’s a lot better than many other designer sites (I’m talking about some high end jewelry sites, like the one that uses red boxes). Some terrifc brands have annoyingly slow sites that deter me from browsing. I’ll be back on the LV site admiring the Sofia Coppola bags.

  • Bagnut

    Ditto on the Flash observations (it’s a _terrible_ technology for shopping sites). It seems like this is a redesign that was conceived 3 years ago and launched without incorporating new technology or _any_ learnings from competitors.

    IMO the best fashion sites include net-a-porter and mulberry – both of these employ a completely different user experience concept that is much more tailored to shopping for and buying high-ticket fashion goods online and on mobile devices.

    The old was a pain to navigate and use but I tolerated it at the first of every month to see what the new goods were. The new site is too much trouble (I’m now relying only on you PB!) and sadly the new, very expensive, LV site is a complete waste of time.

  • serene

    I think previously I was able to go on their website and look at one particular bag pretty quickly. Now it seems it takes at least twice as long to find it.

  • Beth S.

    Not a fan. Way too colorful and way too confusing! The old (ha!) had such a cool, sophisticated presentation. This one is so busy and garish! I think they really went wrong here and I wonder how long it takes before they start to revamp it. It doesn’t project, to me, the aesthetic of LV!

  • KellyX

    I so much prefer the old one…the new site is too busy, too slow. E-shopping is a pain.

  • Heather

    So slow to load. So prone to freezing. So pointless to visit.

  • Beauty

    It’s pretty, but SLOW!

  • Jenna

    The new site is horrid! I was attempting to browse for which bag I was going to purchase and finally just gave up. My computer is only a year old and pretty souped up. Every website I go to is like lightning, with the frustrating exception of the new Louis Vuitton. It takes forever to do all it’s pointless graphics just to pull up one bag. By the time I’d been through the painstaking process of viewing three bags I was getting bored so I left and went to where the viewing is fast and fabulous. I probably won’t be purchasing any more Louis Vuitton bags online until the website is much less annoying to work with.

  • Tina K

    WTH??? I’m on an ipad2 and can’t get to the site at all! I’m redirected to a mobile app that’s “coming soon”! SERIOUSLY, this means consumers who can afford to fork over $500-$700 for an iPad can’t get to Vuittons website??? BAD mistake!!! Shame on Vuitton Marketing!!!

    • Yana

      I sooooo agree with you on this! Most mobile websites at least give the option of switching back to the regular desk top, but not theirs. Mind you the “coming soon” thing has been out there for a couple of months. Which means I haven’t been able to see a thing on their website on my iPhone or my iPad…..arghhhhh!

    • Dfaohsunhcp

      Agree, the marketing director should be fired! Blocking out millions of iPad/iPhone from accessing the regular site only makes sense if you are the competition.

  • mona

    I agree with Tina K. I can’t get to the site at all on my iPad2. And on my table top…I give up!! I’ll shop at Prada instead.

  • Lora

    I logged on with the intent of selecting a new bag without realizing th site had been revamped. Unfortunately, I cannot view the new site from my iPad2 or my PC! I got the crappy, non existent “mobile site” on the iPad and never got past the initial screen on the PC. Not sure what they were thinking but I am certainly not buying new computers just to view their site. And who creates a mobile redirect before creating the actual site? Rookie move.

  • KJ

    I have tried to access the site with no success. I keep getting a message to download a flashplayer which I already have installed. Crappy. I guess they don’ t want my money as I usually check online before making purchases.

    • Stellavln

      I agree I cannot even get onto the site to see any of it!

  • MR

    I can’t find anything. They don’t have a mobile site. They should’ve left the (old) site up before they went live with new one. Way too many kinks to work out. Great graphics and wow factor but when looking for a product, I got lost navigating. So I drove to store instead! Ha…maybe that’s the point…confuse people enough & they’ll go to a store & will end up buying something to make the trip worth it!

  • POd at LV

    i am a LV shopper and have stayed loyal to the brand but am having second thoughts as i cannot access their website AT ALL not on desk top not on mobile app. May have to start buying Gucci again
    Maybe LV doesnt need my business

  • olara

    I hate this new site I have been trying to make an order and I cannot access the website its ridiculous I don’t wanna drive over 50 miles just to go get a few things on a bussy schedule, just like I am a online shopper there is plenty more so they need to change that! I dont think they really care about making money, I’m switching to prada

  • Casey

    Their website is still pretty hard to navigate since it takes a long time to load everything. They need to update their technology. Responsive web design is better.