2024 looks set to be a turbulent year as we enter into a recession in the UK. For many e-commerce sites, this can be a daunting time, but luckily for you, we have our free 7 ways e-commerce sites can beat the recession ebook to help guide you through. In 2023 we saw the public return to the high street and support more traditional high street brands as well as some of the newest arrivals, whilst the darlings of online retail that thrived during COVID lockdowns saw drops in sales and, in turn, their share prices.

For brands such as ASOS and Boohoo, 2023 might be a year best forgotten, whilst ASOS recorded record losses, which had their share price hit a record low of £3.80 (after hitting £57 in 2021) Boohoo saw record losses and controversy about their business practices.

As these well-known brands look to return to winning ways in 2024 and regain some of the ground they put on their brick-and-mortar competitors, it is important to ensure that every site visit is the best it can be, helping to convert those all-important visitors into sales.

In our latest research, we’ve compared four of the world’s largest and most well-known fashion retailer websites: Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing, Missguided, and ASOS.

Each site’s homepage was assessed based on its accessibility and compatibility across different devices and browsers.

The accessibility battle

Accessibility is one of the key tests we always like to perform on any site, usually after exploratory testing and usability testing. It is important for a business to understand how its sites are seen, especially by those who have difficulty viewing them. If someone can not easily access your site, they will not purchase and will probably never return, meaning that a customer is potentially lost forever.

How we assessed

For this assessment, we ranked the fashion retailers on five key areas:

  • Controls and Forms
  • Design and Usability
  • Interaction
  • Structure and Layout
  • Multimedia Accessibility

We usually use a range of test cases when we conduct accessibility tests for our customers. But to keep it fair and simple, we chose one specific test case and ran it against each homepage of the four fashion websites

The results

Boohoo – 3/5 – Fail

Boohoo failed tests in the Control & Forms, Structure & Layout and Multimedia Accessibility areas.

  • Two errors were where labels or instructions were missing
  • There were 18 link-related errors were revealed when assessing the site’s Structure & Layout.
  • We observed 44 errors, mostly relating to non-text content and alt text.

Missguided – 3/5 – Fail

Missguided failed tests across Control & Forms, Design & Usability, and Multimedia Accessibility.

  • Labels or instructions were missing (for Control & Forms)
  • Product list carousel did not display when CSS was turned off (within Design & Usability).
  • There were six Multimedia Accessibility errors relating to non-text, alt content.

PrettyLittleThing – 2/5 – Room for improvement

PrettyLittleThing failed 2/5 tests in Multimedia Accessibility and Design & Usability.

  • Five errors for missing alt text (within Multimedia Accessibility)
  • All social media icons failed to display when CSS was turned off (within Design & Usability).

ASOS – 1/5 – Pass

For ASOS, the website only failed one test within the Multimedia Accessibility bracket.

  • We observed just three errors where non-text content (alt text) was missing.

The Winner – ASOS

With only one minor issue observed, we ranked ASOS first, and PrettyLittleThing came a close second with two issues raised.

All four sites failed in some way within the Multimedia Accessibility category – and whilst these might seem like minor errors for a user with limited vision or other disabilities, these errors can make a website difficult and sometimes impossible to navigate.

The compatibility battle

The vast range of platforms and devices people use to access the internet is higher than ever before; with an estimated 92.3% of internet users using a mobile device to access the internet, it is as important as ever to ensure that websites can work on any platform and any device.

Our compatibility tests, also known as crowd-browser testing, check a website’s functionality across various devices and platforms to check whether the site provides a consistent user experience.

How we conducted this test

  • Five of the most popular smartphones
  • Four browsers
  • Navigated from the homepage to sales page and then the product page

The results

ASOS & Boohoo – 8/9 – Pass

Each of these two websites failed on one minor component on a single device

  • For Boohoo, the site’s “Clearance Sale” section missed information when viewed on the Microsoft Edge browser.
  • For ASOS, the homepage hero image appeared in low resolution when observed on a Samsung device.

PrettyLittleThing & Missguided – 5/9 – Room for improvement

  • For PrettyLittleThing, the drop-down button overlapped with the text on the Sales page, and the ‘Share’ button did nothing when clicked on the Product page. These issues were observed across four devices.
  • For Missguided, product names and prices were not aligned on the Sales pages, with text not visible on many devices. We also observed issues when using different browsers. On some browsers, we found random empty spaces, and on others we found text overlaying each other causing it to be unreadable.

The winner – ASOS

Result: again, ASOS came first with only one minor issue raised. Boohoo came a close second with one slightly more serious issue.

And the winner is… ASOS

From these two tests, it is easy to see how ASOS has become the market leader. Their site outperformed the others at every metric, and whilst there was room for improvement, viewers of all capabilities could use this site on any device with little to no issues.

ASOS Website Homepage on Laptop

Is your site performing at its best?

From our tests above, you can easily see how even the market leaders let things slip by. These two basic and surface-level tests allowed us to identify how these sites can make quick, simple improvements to their site and positively affect how their site is viewed and used by potential customers, so just imagine what we could do for you.

If you are looking to improve how your site is viewed across all types of devices, platforms and browsers or want to know more about our range of testing from e-commerce to localisation and, of course, accessibility testing, please reach out to our experienced team.

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Published On: February 24th, 2024 / Categories: Website wars /