Case Study: New District

New District is an e-marketplace that connects wine drinkers with BC’s best craft wineries. We were tasked to help New District build a robust search feature for their website — a tool that users could use to help them find wines that they desired. In addition to this, New District were also interested in making the online experience more educational for novice wine drinkers and more emotionally engaging for customers.


We conducted a number of research tactics to identify what factors were important to New District site users. Research methods included: 8 user flow audits for the existing site, 11 user interviews, 40+ survey results and 3 contextual interviews. Below were the key findings.

Site Audit

To test the current search tool we requested new users to find a specific bottle of wine on the current New District website and check-out. We discovered:

  • Lack of filter options while browsing made searching very difficult.
  • The user flow from the home page to the checkout cart was unintuitive.
  • Users were unaware that New District is a “craft wine” specific marketplace.
  • Lack of information on vineyards to educate consumers.

Interviews & Surveys

The target audience was to focus on millennials aged 25–35, whose gross income was $50,000+ per year. Through this research, we learned about consuming patterns, purchase influences and deciding factors for successful sells.

  • Users will only buy online if the wines are cheaper than in liquor stores.
  • Users will primarily order online in a large quantity (due to shipping fees, waiting times, and lack of desire ordering single bottles when liquor stores can fulfill their need).
  • Users love experimenting with new wines and pairing wine with foods.
  • Users choose wine by familiarity and varietal the most.
  • Users typically buy wine for having company over, enjoying with dinner or as a gift.
  • Users will try out new wines based on recommendations from friends or store clerks.

To enhance the overall purchasing experience, we decided to update the landing page to show a value proposition and a marquee selection of wines. For the revised search feature, we not only added filters to search by varietal, BC region and flavours, we also wanted to find a way that peer-to-peer recommendations could help customers find “hidden gems”.


To fulfill the need of both an experienced wine drinker and a beginner, we developed two main personas: “Nikki” and “Lucy”.


We created a paper prototype to quickly collect data and feedback. The first prototype was developed for beginner wine drinkers like Lucy. We added 3 search categories: Body, Food pairing, and BC Regions — as our research indicated that these were the top three factors that people would seek when selecting a wine. However, after testing the first paper prototype, we noticed that these categories were extremely pragmatic and lacked an emotional trigger for making a wine selection.

This lead us to exploring entirely new categories based on experiences, such as life events and holidays. ex. “Great wines during the Christmas holidays”. We also created categories for wines that are appropriate as gifts and for fun, off-beat moments in life.

User Flow for Nikki
User Flow for Lucy
Updated Wireframe

High fidelity design for responsive website (To see more images, check out my website)



New District were greatly pleased with the research we conducted, and will use this data for their future web products. They also appreciated the creative merit in our unique approach to wine searching and loved the insight driving this experiential approach.