Department of Engineering / News / Department contributes visual clarity test for new global guidelines for e-commerce images

Department of Engineering

Department contributes visual clarity test for new global guidelines for e-commerce images

Department contributes visual clarity test for new global guidelines for e-commerce images

Examples of Mobile Ready Hero Images. Not for republication (see image credit information below).

Global standards body GS1 recently published a new guideline for e-commerce images that are displayed on mobile devices.

I have specified that all Mobile Ready Hero Images developed throughout Unilever should pass Cambridge's visual clarity test before they appear live on a retailer’s website.

Oliver Bradley, Unilever

This Mobile Ready Hero Images Guideline helps brand teams design better e-commerce images, thus enabling consumers to shop more quickly and accurately for products on mobile devices.

The Inclusive Design Group at the Department’s Cambridge Engineering Design Centre has contributed to this new guideline with a section dedicated to ‘checking the visual clarity’.

The new visual clarity test helps brand teams to determine whether their images are clear enough, so that shoppers using mobile phones can determine everything they need to know to purchase the product they are looking for. The test uses Gaussian blurring to electronically simulate the challenges of viewing an image that is displayed on a mobile phone, often at a size that is smaller than a postage stamp.

Dr Sam Waller, Senior Research Associate in the Inclusive Design Group, explained: “Most e-commerce images are designed on desktops with large screens, yet the majority of shoppers view these images on mobile screens. The Gaussian blurring test is quick and easy to perform on a desktop, and it ensures the image will be effective when viewed on a mobile.”

Furthermore, the Inclusive Design Group has launched a new tool called Clari-Fi, which performs the visual clarity test mentioned in the GS1 guideline at the click of a button in PowerPoint. The visual clarity test, that’s specified in the GS1 guideline, simulates the challenges of viewing an image on a phone that is held at 40 cm away, which is typical for shoppers with reasonable vision. However, Clari-Fi additionally shows simulations calibrated to a phone held at an ‘arm’s length’. This is particularly useful for checking images will be effective for shoppers with age-related long sightedness, which affects the majority of adults aged over 50.  

Oliver Bradley, Global eContent and Experience Design Director at Unilever, said: “I have specified that all Mobile Ready Hero Images developed throughout Unilever should pass Cambridge's visual clarity test before they appear live on a retailer’s website. The Clari-Fi tool (developed by Cambridge) enables us to test our images in less than a minute, and determine whether the image is clear enough for shoppers to be able to determine everything they need to know to purchase the product they are looking for.”

Additionally, the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre has launched a new website that interprets the GS1 Mobile Ready Hero Images Guideline for suppliers and retailers in a practical and accessible way. It follows the Inclusive Design Group’s earlier work and proof of concept for improved Mobile Ready Hero Images, in collaboration with Unilever, that was unveiled in 2017.

Image credit information: 

Walkers is a trademark owned by PepsiCo and used with permission.

Pampers is a trademark owned by Procter & Gamble and used with permission.

Ben & Jerry's, Magnum and Persil are trademarks owned by Unilever and used with permission.

Andrex is a trademark owned by Kimberly-Clark and used with permission.

Guinness is a trademark owned by Diageo and used with permission.

Loyd Grossman is a trademark owned by Premier Foods and used with permission.

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