Friday — Personal Shopping Assistant

UXDI Project 1 Retrospective

This post aims to share with others my thought process while I was designing a mobile app called “Friday” to help people shop easier. Hopefully through reading this, one would able to understand the problems that shoppers faced and the design decisions I took to help shoppers achieve an even better shopping experience than before.


1.1 Getting Started

Before we start on designing our mobile app, I first needed to learn and understand the crucial problems that shoppers faced. And that’s best assessed by interviewing people who shop often.

For my user interviews, I adopted the critical incident method recommended by the Nielsen Norman Group for studying behaviour. This technique is useful because it helps users focus on extremely positive or negative experiences. These experiences are often remembered vividly by users and would help them in giving me more useful details which can be in turn used to design important features which can solve their problems or enhance their existing experience.

1.2 Preparing The User Interview

After deciding on my user interview methodology, I started designing my user interview questions. The questions are open-ended and as per the critical incident methodology, are centered around positive and negative experiences. The first two questions were designed to encourage users to think of recent events by including the word “recently”. The main purpose behind this was to help users warm up their memories. However, if they recall experiences that were not recent, that’s fine as well.

Question 1: Describe a really negative shopping experience that you had recently
Question 2: Describe a really positive shopping experience that you had recently
Question 3: Describe other positive or negative experiences that you also had before

1.3 Conducting The User Interview

To obtain results that would be relevant to the theme “Shopping”, I focused on looking for users who had these traits

  1. Users who love shopping
  2. Users who shop often
  3. Users who used to shopped often but stopped recently
Having a really good interview session with my buddy!

Unfortunately, I was unable to find any users with trait #3. After gathering my search results, I started compiling my user research results digitally. You can find my raw user research results through this link


2.1 Sorting and Analysing User Research Data

After categorising my user research results into different stages of a shopping experience, I realised that there were a lot of users were having problems trying to browse for products as shown here. According to my Affinity Diagram, users had serious problems with interacting with sales staff or online merchants.

The key essences I found are:

1. I find browsing in retail shops uncomfortable when I feel disturbed by the retail service staff
2. I find it difficult to look for products I would be interested in when the user interface on apps or websites is too messy


To address the pain points that users from my user research faced, I drafted a problem statement that describes the key issue I need to solve

How might we design a seamless browsing experience for users so that they don’t feel uncomfortable when browsing and can easily find stuff that matter to them?


4.1 Designing the solution

Inspired by SCRUM methodology, I decided to try and convert key essences to user stories by following this format:

As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>.

Thus my two user stories are:

  1. As a retail shopper, I want to be able to browse in shops without disturbance from sales staff so that I can looking for stuff I’m interested in without feeling uncomfortable.
  2. As an online shopper, I want to be able to browse easily on shopping apps/websites so that I can look for stuff I might be interested in.

The challenge in designing a solution to meet the needs of the user in user story #1 and #2 is that it is hard for me to control the shopping experience from the end of the merchant. In the context user story #1, it is obvious that the user is experiencing a problem with the user interface of the shopping app.

So I either remake the entire shopping app or I create an add-on that helps to translate bits and pieces of the shopping app to a more readable format. At the end I went the idea of creating an “add-on” as creating new shopping app from scratch would be too time-consuming.

Thus my solution is:

Friday, an intelligent personal assistant that aims to make your shopping experience more convenient, easier and delightful.

4.2 Storyboarding

Storyboard for user story #1
Storyboard for user story #2

4.3 User Flow Diagram

User Flow Diagram for Friday that answers both User Stories #1 & #2


Lo-Fi Prototype Designs

5.1 Interactive Prototypes

As addressing two different problems through a single prototype simulation could be confusing for users, I did two different interactive prototype for two separate problems so that it’s simple and clear for users.

  1. As a retail shopper, I want to be able to browse in shops without disturbance from sales staff so that I can looking for stuff I’m interested in without feeling uncomfortable.
  2. As an online shopper, I want to be able to browse easily on shopping apps/websites so that I can look for stuff I might be interested in.

5.2 Prototype Evaluation & Feedback

Interestingly, I received a few positive feedbacks regarding my proposed solution. People liked how simple and clear the solution is. The only thing they complained about was how the microphone appeared to be a button when actually it wasn’t.

Display Icon Usability Problem

6. Key Learnings and NeXTSTEP

My key learnings are:

  1. Learnt how the importance of user research and how to conduct user research sessions. It’s very important to keep user research questions open-ended as to receive good feedback and prevent scoping of topic.
  2. Learnt how to plan affinity diagrams, user flow diagram, storyboard and prepare interactive prototypes for usability testing

My NeXTSTEPs are:

  1. Practice on doing more affinity diagrams — Instead of capturing why the user is having the problem, I focused on the superficial side of the problem such as “I find the user interface ugly” when the user actually meant “I am having problems navigating the user interface in order to find items I’m interested in”
  2. Improve on my ability to draw user flow diagrams — I’m pretty sure the user flow diagram in this prototype is pretty simple because the use case is simple. But I’m pretty sure that there are more complicated user scenarios where drawing user flow diagrams would be pretty difficult
  3. Detailed usability testing — Due to time constraints, I was only able to conduct casual usability testing which help me spot the usability problem as describe above. I believe I would be able to capture more usability problems if I conducted a more thorough usability test.

7. That’s all folks

Well, I hope whoever who just read this enjoyed my retrospective on creating a chatbot to help improve shopping experiences for people. If you have more tips for me feel free to email me at or hit that like button below!