Pauline Parikh
UX Designer
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True Spirit

E-commerce website information architecture and design (concept project).

 
 

Overview

This was a mock project for General Assembly in which I designed an e-commerce experience for True Spirit, a new internet retailer for schools and parents who want a modern school uniform for K-12 children. It offers updated uniform fashion, provides a “must-haves” checklist from the school’s administrator for each school year, and recommends accessories allowed by the school’s dress code. 

The Challenge

I needed to design an e-commerce experience that satisfied both the customers' and client's needs. Specifically, I needed to address the pain points of the personas around an efficient shopping experience while addressing the client's MoSCoW prioritization and overall brand. 

Outcome

I designed an online shopping experience for parents to efficiently find and purchase uniforms for their children which included a curated checklist of required items and an easy checkout process. Through the process I conducted card sorting and created a site map, participated in a design studio to refine a checklist feature, created wireframes and a clickable prototype on Axure. 

Techniques & Skills

Competitive Analysis, Card Sorting, Site Mapping, Creating User Flows, Sketching, Design Studio, Wireframing, Prototyping, Usability Testing

Tools Used

Sketchpad, Axure, Omnigraffle, Keynote

Duration

2 weeks


Addressing Personas' Needs

I was provided with two primary personas John and Sarah:

I wanted to ensure I was addressing any current difficulties they were having around shopping online for uniforms. While starting the ideation process, I focused on the pain points John and Sarah have which are:

  • Providing a clear way to find their children's required clothing
  • Being able to complete the process efficiently
  • Having an enjoyable and intuitable experience
  • An easy and clear return policy

Addressing Client's Needs

We were provided with MoSCoW prioritization for True Spirit which influenced the direction of my design. I wanted to incorporate as many "Must Haves" and "Should Haves" while still keeping the personas' pain points in mind. 

Must Have:

  • Have clear ways of locating specific products
  • Support a single page for each product which can be linked to directly
  • Have an efficient means of purchasing one or more products
  • Steer customers toward popular products
  • Establish the brand and its points of difference
  • Allow customers to contact the business

Should Have:

  • Allow customers to browse products related to their current selection
  • Allow customers to read and write reviews of a product
  • Provide information about the store's heritage
  • Reward loyalty for repeat customers

Information Architecture

We were given a list of products True Spirit currently sells on the site. In order to determine the best way to categorize these products, three of my classmates conducted an open card sort while I observed. 

The final product of the open card sort. 

The final product of the open card sort. 

I put myself in John and Sarah's shoes and didn't want to confuse them by giving them too many choices up front on the homepage. I felt it might make it difficult for them to figure out where to start shopping. I am a big believer in the Paradox of Choice and wanted to eliminate the number of choices customers would have so they make a more accurate assumption about where items they need are located and ultimately be directed to the right products. I rearranged and consolidated some of the categories my classmates created as seen in the site map below:


User Flows

I created user flows for both Sarah and John to guide my design, prioritize specific pages of the site, and focus on efficiency. 


Sketches and Design Studio

We conducted a design studio in which we decided on a problem to sketch, sketched for a few minutes individually, shared our sketches to share ideas, and repeated this process three times to refine our ideas. We decided to focus on Sarah's pain point of not having clarity about which uniform items are required. Below are a few ideas I had (from left to right): creating a dashboard with information about students' required clothing, being able to check an item off of a student's checklist from a product page, and flagging products in a list view to call attention to required items.


Wireframes & Prototype

Sarah's flow after receiving an email from the school administrator with required uniform items:

John's flow of buying a white polo shirt for his daughter:


Usability Testing

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I conducted usability testing on my classmates and found that my prototype was efficient in both the selection and checkout processes and easy to understand for the most part. A key finding I had was that it was unclear whether the images next to each checklist item would lead the customer to another page or if results would pop up in the checklist. This is something I would like to address in a future iteration. 


Next Steps

  • Conduct usability tests for navigation: Because of the duration of this project, I was not able to conduct as much usability testing as I'd like. As a next step, I'd like to assign tasks to test participants to validate whether my navigation menu and subpages are intuitable for customers to find a specific item or simply browse. 
  • Potentially redesign checklist features: As mentioned above, I would like to address the images on the checklist to make it clearer whether the customer will be redirected to another page or if they will be shopping within the checklist. If there are multiple results for a particular item, I would like to cascade images within the checklist and have customers choose which item page they'd like to go to.