18 vital points to consider when choosing a 360 product viewer


What to look for when shopping around 360 viewing solutions




Consumer Experience


Load timeRating: 0-20

This is perhaps the most important rating that is often overlooked. Our data shows that 98% of consumers will not wait for the experience to load if it takes more than 2 seconds. If it takes 10 seconds for the 360 to load and only 50% of you audience is willing to wait, then you're only receiving half the value.

ZoomRating: 0-20

The ability to zoom in on a flat product image is not a new idea, but is now expected by shoppers. That being said, the capability to both spin and zoom product image is almost non-existent. It is a huge challenge to do both from an engineering, photography, and design standpoint so a majority of companies are not willing to tackle this issue.

Full ScreenRating: 0-15

We were understandably surprised when we discovered that automatically giving shoppers a full screen experience when zooming boost the conversion rate by 74%. Apparently drawing a buyer's focus directly to a product and removing busy details raises their confidence in the product overall. 

UsabilityRating: 0-20

How difficult is it for a person to figure out how to use the viewer? Is the interface intuitive? Are you taken on an interactive tour of how to operate it? 

Unified experienceRating: 0-5

Can you show multiple 360 experiences in one unified experience? Does the viewer support multiple styles of a product in one unified experience? Why is this important? Lot of reasons, but the simplest example is allowing multiple colors of the same product to be viewable in the same experience. This is not only better for the shopper but also makes integration much simplier. 

DisabilitiesRating: 0-10

This is almost always overlooked but needs to be taken seriously. Target settled a lawsuit for 6 million dollars in 2008 with the National Federation for the Blind. Can the user control the experience with a keyboard if they are not able to use a mouse? Would it work well for screen readers so that blind people can navigate past it, or does it make the site unusable for the visually impaired? 






Desktop compatibilityRating: 0-25

Does it work on today's standard desktop computer with a mouse and a laptop with touch pad? Half of internet surfers are using a computer, so it's important that it functions seamlessly across them.

Mobile compatibilityRating: 0-25

Does it work on an phone and a tablet? Internet usage on mobile devices is only growing. Last year internet searches done via google on a smartphone surpassed those done on desktop computers.

DesignRating: 0-20

Do the 360 controls get in the way of the product and make it look bad or is the product able to speak for itself? Is the design modern or does it look dated? As Dieter Rams would say "less but better"

ResponsivenessRating: 0-10

Are the animations smooth or do they get jittery? When you drag your mouse or finger to spin a product does it respond immediately or is there a lag? The underpinnings of this all depend on utilizing native javascript calls and accelerated CSS3 transitions. It's a ton of work to implement these so most don't.






FlexibilityRating: 0-10

Can you change settings and override values? What if you want to have your product on a black background? Will the 360 controls' colors invert or are your stuck with a white background?

Multilingual supportRating: 0-10

Can any text on the viewer be modified? Does it support multiple languages? If it's not initially designed with this ability, then it is very tough to change later on. To put it into perspective, being limited to just English will exclude 91% of the of the world from true comprehension.

Automated test suiteRating: 0-10

Does the script have automated test coverage? What the heck is this you ask? It's a series of automated tests that run across all browsers to ensure that script is not broken when changes are made. Human's often make errors. A good analogy would be a robot that ensures that a cars bolts are secured properly during an assembly line.

Inline embedRating: 0-20

Can you embed the experience directly in your website? Users should be able to notice that you have 360 product views available. With the amount of time and money spent just getting consumers to check out our products online, overlooking 360 product views seems a bit wasteful. 






LicensingRating: 0-10

Is the code completely free and open source? Can my developers modify the code? Do I have to pay for it up front or in perpetuity? Is it bundled with a hosting solution?

SupportRating: 0-15

Is there support available? Do I have to pay for it? Is there email support and phone support? Will you integrate it into my website or am I responsible for that? 

DataRating: 0-10

Is the viewer designed to push data to an analytics platform so that value can be measured, or are you flying blind? Looks aren't everything, sometimes the numbers need to make sense to justify the effort. 

HostingRating: 0-15

Is hosting baked into the solution? If you have to figure out how to upload, host, and integrate the solution into your website this is going to take a significant investment of time and money.



What we didn't include and why



This is really an article all on its own. Photography is an artform and it gets even more complex with 3D photography. There are only a handful of studios in the world that specialize in it. 

Hosting platform details

This is also an entire article that can stand on its own. We compare whether or not hosting is part fo the solution, but stay out of the weeds to keep it simple. Check out a detailed explanation of our media hosting platform here.

Product operation

Hoot specializes in product operational photography. It is patent pending technology and we are the only company who currently provides this service and a viewer that supports it. 



This article kicks off a 10 part series where we take a look at the major 360 viewers available and will finish off with a stack ranking comparing them all.

Not all points are equal so we will apply the rankings you saw above that look like this:


Rating: 0-10


Then we will add them all up to see who fits where in the ranking. Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter in our website footer to receive notifications about new posts and updates!


Full disclosure - I write this article with a bias. I personally developed hoot's 3D viewer and have opinions on how one should work and what the minimum viable product is. All design and user experience was driven from data aquired via AB testing executed by us over the last few years.