The application appears to be based on a client side JAVA applet, which makes it not just slow and sluggish, but occasionally crashes at least my Chrome browser on OSX, and causes some wild flickering on Safari. Surely it works with some browsers after overcoming the obligatory JAVA applet experience. But then again, it defeats the idea of a marketing site, especially with something as important as a car configuration tool.
It’s clear that eventually the site metrics will ring some alarm bells, and drive them to a more customer friendly technology such as Flash or HTML5. Nissan on the contrary sets a very impressive benchmark in real-time 3D car configuration and visualization with StageJuk3d.
Obviously a highly visual experience is not a good fit for every use case, but the user experience is important not matter how rich your experience is. It was the case 5 years ago, and it remains to be today. Overall the MINI worldwide online experience has been extremely well executed, as highlighted in many previous posts, so it’s clear this is not the norm. But you may wonder, why did they take the risk to use JAVA, and undermine the engagement.
The year 2012 brings a lot of technology changes and options, and it’s more than ever important to focus on user experience first, and derive technology decisions from it, rather than leading with technology.