IKEA has launched the next installment in their dream kitchen online experience. The original version that looked like a middle class version of the Matrix let you spin in a 360 degree arc moving between different frozen scenes and kitchens. The new version keeps the same simple control scheme of letting you one of two ways but this time instead of a circle you are moving along a linear path through the scenes. This way at any point you can turn around and go back the way you came only from the opposite point of view. Unlike the previous version the scenes are now separated by you having to fly through kaleidoscope style product montages.
For me the comparison between the two versions of the site is interesting because even though the control scheme is the same the change to the linear format makes it feel very confined and not nearly as engaging. In the latest version you are also much more aware that you are just scrubbing back and forth through a video because the transitions between the scenes aren’t as clever and seamless. It’s always hard if not impossible to follow up a successful site with one that is just as good and innovative but you leave this experience wishing IKEA would have found the next great interactive idea instead of trying to relive past glory.