No Time for Nostalgia, Let’s Go Shopping!

Do you shop online?

I will confess—I’ve become dependent on online shopping. Subscribe & Save, household items, most of my clothes…I’ve even started ordering a lot of my groceries for delivery. The more I shop online, the more I appreciate a well thought-out online catalog.

Back in the old days, I didn’t much care about how a catalog was laid out, as long as it had pretty pictures. Remember looking through the paper catalogs that companies sent in the mail, and even earmarking pages with items to look at again later? That tactile experience is one of the only things I miss with online shopping.

When a catalog is well designed, though, it replaces paper window-shopping with unparalleled ease. With a good online catalog, I can find what I am looking for quickly and easily, get it into my cart, make the purchase, and move on with my day. I might miss the browsing, but I can’t fault the convenience.

In 17.1, we’ve made some huge improvements in the Meridian Global LMS catalog functionality. This will deliver users, many of whom are increasingly demanding online shoppers like me, a much more convenient and streamlined experience. For example, we’ve added visible content categories for easy navigation to other, similar content. (Am I looking at shoes? Of course I want to see more shoes!) We’ve also added filters to allow content searching by language, better facilitating use by learners in multiple languages.

Users can now navigate through the catalog faster, with enhanced search and browse portlets. The availability of a content item is indicated in its catalog entry—no need to open a detail page to find out a course is already full. Don’t you hate it when you try to add something to your cart online and then they tell you it’s sold out? What’s perhaps most exciting, though, is the ability to open the content suggestion window directly from search results. If a user does a search and finds that what she wants isn’t in the catalog, requesting it is only one click away. That’s a shopping experience I can’t even get on Amazon!

For users looking for a digital alternative to the paper catalogs of yesterday, the catalog opens to category portlets, allowing a leisurely browse through all content of a given type. The option to view all content in a catalog is also still available, with both list and classroom calendar views and multiple options for filtering results. Finally, the whole thing is viewable on the mobile device of your choice, making it perfect to go with coffee or flip through in a waiting room, just like the old paper versions.

It’s impossible to completely recreate the daydream aspect of a few minutes spent with the latest mailer from Crate & Barrel or Williams-Sonoma. That said, MG’s new catalog upgrades improve the online experience, adding both convenience and improved aesthetics.

No time for nostalgia, let’s go shopping!


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