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What is Tesco's digital design language?

The UK's largest retailer, Tesco, is looking to refresh its digital estate over the coming months.

Last week saw the supermarket group's PLC website get a refresh, and it has said that this move marks the first of many of its websites and apps changing in line with a new Tesco style. In total, Tesco has over 100 different websites and dozens of apps across its various business divisions around the globe.

Justin Stach, head of design at Tesco, used the company's official blog to talk about what the business has internally called its "digital design language", which is defined as a toolkit to help the tech teams at the retailer create products and platforms with a consistent image.

He said that Tesco is creating a set of commonly used elements, including forms and buttons, as well as some basic rules for colour, fonts and layouts, that it is hoped will allow internal teams to build digital real estate quickly and consistently. 

For example, moves are being made to ensure the 'menu' option is always in the same place across different sites, with the aim of making navigation around different web platforms as convenient as it can be. Stach suggested that every element is tested with customers, adding that lots of the changes taking place might seem small in isolation but when combined "they will make a big difference to our customers just by making their online experience smoother".

"[Customers] do notice when something blocks them from getting what they need," he blogged.

"They've been telling us they often find it difficult to move between different Tesco sites, and struggle with having to do things differently on each different platform."

The strategy represents "an important stage in Tesco's digital maturity", according to Stach.

Indeed, as we approach the 20th anniversary of Amazon's launch in the UK – a move often identified as the beginning of the online revolution in British retailing – it could be that other retail businesses look to follow Tesco's move. Some retailers, of course, will have made sure this type of consistency was already built in to their digital growth agenda all along.

Stach said: "In the past we've worked hard to create many different ways to meet our customers' needs wherever and whenever they arise, and it's now time for us to start joining those various pieces together into a simple, more consistent, more joined up experience for customers."