Help me MEASURE!
Back when I was much younger, shopping was one of my favourite pastimes. Online shopping was not available yet so I will grab my friends or my mom, head down to Orchard road and buy to my heart’s content.
I was introduced to online shopping during my university year. My school mates showed me that I could get cashbacks and discounts, allowing me to stretch my dollar. It was also really common that the same items sold online were at a fraction of what it would cost if I bought it at a physical store. The product pictures often featured pretty models with perfect body shapes. The clothes always look real good on them but when I commit to purchasing them, I find myself disappointed when I received the items. It felt very much like a game of gamble, where you never know what you’re going to get for each purchase done online.
From my personal experience with online shopping, I came up with 3 main pain points that I believe an online shopper would encounter as well.
- The quality of the product received differs from what I had expected.
- I have issues understanding and differentiating the sizings labled on the clothes
- I find it tough to trust online sellers.
In order to prove my hypotheses, I started drafting the questionaires. I wanted to find out if other online shoppers encounter the same problems I had.
To keep the user interview neutral and to solicit genuine feedback, I took steps to ensure that the questions were generic. I should take care not to include any personal bias to influence their feedback in any way. These are the final questions that I ended up using:
- Do you shop online? Why?
2. What type of items do you usually buy?
3. List the apps you use frequently for online purchases?
4. Tell me more about your shopping experience on those applications.
a) Any positive or good experience(s)?
b) Any negative or bad experience(s)?
5) How about the end product, did it meet your expectations?
I approached 3 of my classmates and recruited them as my users. I was looking for users who meet the following criteria:
- They are financially independent
- They make their own shopping decision
- They have experience online shopping
During the interview process, I found myself facing some difficulties. At first I thought the interview process will be pretty straightforward. I’ll ask one question, the user will answer accordingly and I will move on to the next question on my list. However this was not the case. The user will answer the question in any way that they interpret it, include personal stories and provide answers to my other questions while talking. Getting the answers to the questions I have crafted requires time and effort to filter through their responses after the interview has concluded.
I also learnt other important interview skills. I realised that it is necessary to keep the user interested, not break their train of thought and let them feel comfortable enough to share more with you. At the same time, I have to keep track of the responses and make sure that I cover all the interview question. It was not easy but I was glad for the experience.
I guess this exercise was a success simply because my users were my classmates. They know the objective of this project and they try to be really helpful to the extent where they will feed you with answers.
After I have done the survey, I thought I did not managed to recruit users who fit my target users. 2 out of 3 users do not shop online often, they only resort to shopping online if the item cannot be found in physical stores.
After evaluating the content that they shared during the user interviews, I realised that this particular group of users that I have recruited make up a different target group altogether. This is not a bad thing because they are the ones who would have the most concern over shopping online. These are the shoppers who are willing to forgo the convenience of online shopping to make sure that they get exactly what they paid for.
To derive usable information from my user interviews, I identified the key pain points and concerns shared by my 3 users and proceeded with creating an affinity map.
These are the key points from that exercise:
- I prefer shopping at a physical store because I am assured of the quality of the goods I buy.
- I feel frustrated with the delivery service because it is unreliable.
- Often after-sales services fail and cause me a great deal of inconvenience.
- I find it difficult to navigate when the website is too cluttered.
- Bad past experiences make me apprehensive when it comes to ordering clothing online.(All users highlighted their concerns regarding this issue)
“I only buy clothes from good websites that I’ve made purchase before.”
Buyer’s inability to understand the size guide, and sellers’ inability to provide accurate measurement for garment is one of the key reason why most people have such low confidence in purchasing clothings online.
The intention is to provide a easily accessible application to empower the user with the correct skills to attain the required details to make a more informed decision on their purchase.
SOLUTION : “Help me measure!”
The solution that I came up with tackles the problem of inconsistent garment measurements. “Help me measure!” is a mobile application that will feature a step by step guide to help buyers and sellers measure accurately. Buyers can use it to take their body measurements and sellers would find the app useful when measuring the garments they would like to sell. The app would be instructional, and in the form of an easy-to-follow-along tutorial. After measuring, the users would also be able to share the results by hitting the “share” option available in-app.
With this mobile app, buyers can buy with confidence. If the app gains more popularity, sellers might be inclined to use the app as a “guarantee” that sizing is accurate.
The user flow took quite a bit of time to work out. Even though my application seems to be a pretty straight-forward one, I find myself going through the initial flow numerous times to ensure that I got all options covered.
I managed to conduct user testing of my prototype with a couple of potential users and I found myself tweaking the user flow to fit in with user behaviour. The second iteration of the user flow was more comprehensive and complete.
MY FIRST PROTOTYPE
With the user journey in mind and the user flow well defined, I set out to create my first prototype.
Going through the prototype with my friends was quite a fun experience, it was also a necessary step to find fault with my apps and flow.
While doing my wire framing, I kept my design compact, positioning my action buttons close to my content. However, this resulted in much confusion when I tested my design out with my users. They shared that they were not able to determine what the buttons were for and suggested that they be repositioned as standalone buttons instead. I’ve learnt that visual grid is one very important aspect when designing screens as it greatly affect the logical visual flow of the user. The user should not be put in a situation where he/she has to guess.
I was really nervous while I was presenting my idea to the class.. I thought I might just blackout and forget all the content I prepared.
Upon receiving feedbacks from my classmate, I was pleasantly surprised that my presentation was clear and I seemed calm.
Areas that I can improve upon:
- my age group of 30–40 is small, technologically savvy people who shop online are mostly youngsters and I could extend the age group to cover teenagers for fashion.
- I ran out of time to complete introducing my application. I should be more succinct and explain my intention while bringing users through the aplication instead.
- I should go through my presentation and practice beforehand so I can be familiar and tweak it to fit within the given 5min timeframe.
You can have a look at the prototype