Zazzle’s New Design Tool 2013

shirt with new Zazzle design tool

Shirt shows new design tool on Chrome browser.

Has it happened to you yet?

You open a product on your  store – or you go to buy one on someone else’s store and. . . it happens. You are not in Oz anymore and Toto has left town.

Actually, maybe you are in Oz now, because things got weird. Instead of clicking your heels, however, you are pounding your head on the desk.

Zazzle has a new design tool

You know how this works. Zazzle cooks up new stuff and then lets guinea pigs various storekeepers and customers sample the brews on random browser tests. The new design might appear on one browser and not another. Clearing your cache and cookies may get you out of it, or may not.

So, what is the latest version of the design tool? And is it going to be something to look forward to?

Hint: they’ve apparently hired video game designers and people who like secret codes. And Twister.

So, you know you have the new tool when. . .

Appearance of puppet warp "pins"

Appearance of puppet warp “pins”

Messages are popping up and down and jumping out from all over the screen. Familiar actions are gone, new ones are in their place. The strangest is the unlabeled pins stuck on the products and the unlabeled circles you will encounter in the design view. Maybe these have a code name, but I’m calling them pins. They look like the pins from the Adobe Photoshop’s Puppet Warp tool. Or from Lightroom’s spot removal pins.

The messages stop popping up after a few seconds and stay gone. In order to determine what to do, you have to test everything. Nothing is labeled until and unless you mouse over it.

It’s like a treasure hunt, but you don’t see little jewels and hats and vials of poison, you see pins that all look alike. There are a lot of opportunities to put objects in position. You’ll see.

The new tool was initially implemented on mugs and then t-shirts and is being fine-tuned along the way. There may be differences, therefore, when you encounter it! I found out today that Rickshaw messenger bags show it when I decided to share the sale of one on my Pinterest board. Yikes!

Tropical Turquoise Ocean Blue & Seaweed Green Messenger Bags

The screen immediately began tossing random info at me as you can see by the overlay info in the image below. You can see another of the pop-ups in the t-shirt image at the top of this page.

Zazzle design tool

Watch the use of this tool on video

If you want a peek at how the tool works and it’s not showing on your browser yet, below you will find a long video of me fumbling my way through it. And mind you, I had already seen this tool on t-shirts, so I was not totally new to it! I don’t know how customers will like customizing with this new method, but it adds many steps to the process for designers. I do point out the new way to post a product for sale. You could say it’s hidden.

Zazzle tests all these permutations, so presumably they will get it right in the end.

My feelings will not be hurt if you don’t watch all twenty minutes of this video. Unless you’re from Zazzle – you SHOULD watch it. I believe I constrained myself to one actual swear word (pats self on back).

Note: this screencast is not only long, but also done on software new to me, so it doesn’t have a pretty cover or fancy ending. Oh well.

Was this helpful? Please comment below or share!


10 Responses to Zazzle’s New Design Tool 2013

  1. Lori October 12, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Thanks for this helpful and amusing insight, Deb!

  2. Right Brain October 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    You’re welcome, Lori! and thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Scarebaby October 12, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    ack, I just got a massive migraine. WHY, Zazzle, WHY???? It’s almost NOVEMBER!!!!

    But thanks, Deb, for this. 🙂

  4. Right Brain October 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    You’re welcome, Holly. I wonder if it’s to convince us that referrals are easier than creations? I know, Merry Christmas, everyone!

  5. Nique October 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Thanks for the heads-up Deb – I’m so tired already! lol

  6. Donna - Bright Vibes October 18, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Thanks so much for doing this. Looks like there is lots of new stuff to learn.

    • Right Brain October 18, 2013 at 1:42 am #

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading. There IS lots of new stuff and new products. The learning never stops – don’t you wish it would sometimes?

  7. Max October 19, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    I just attempted to make a new shirt, and realized I would have to learn to use the tool again. Your video helps. Thanks.

  8. Marian October 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    I was just getting used to the earlier changes to the design tool. The newest change is so counter-intuitive for designers, who need to see what they’re designing. As for customers, not many people will buy something sight unseen, which is what this design tool offers them. It makes me wonder who designed this tool, a computer programmer? Whoever did, I hope that they will improve on their design (or drop it altogether — no chance!) Thanks for your post.

    • Right Brain October 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

      Totally agree, Marian. The new tool goes for flashy at the expense of function. It’s not worth using. And no preview? That’s crazy.