Project 5 Retrospective

Slick Chicks is an adaptable underwear brand on a mission to empower women. You may be wondering, “What is adaptable underwear?” Although our official assignment was a website redesign, we quickly realized that with such an innovative and unfamiliar product, there were other obstacles that needed to be overcome before diving into design.

Slick Chicks underwear: the hook and eye feature eases the changing process, which is especially helpful for women with physical constraints.

When Annam, Janet, and I first met with the Slick Chicks CEO and Founder, Helya Mohammadian, we immediately felt inspired by her drive and passion. After learning more about the intended product use and the company mission, however, we realized that there was a disconnect from our initial impressions. We had two crucial questions that needed to be answered:

What do people think of adaptable clothing and underwear?

How can we represent the product and company mission through the homepage in order to immediately establish trust and loyalty with users?

After debriefing from the meeting, our team listed out assumptions and started empathy mapping. This would provide us with guidance as we began the research process.

Empathy mapping (part of group brainstorming session)

We then evaluated the competitive and comparative landscape amongst other underwear and mission-driven brands. Through this research, we accomplished the following:

  • Feature Analysis to identify common and unique features
  • Nielsen Norman Heuristics Evaluation to evaluate the usability of Slick Chicks and competitive websites
  • Block Diagramming of competitor websites to evaluate content strategy
  • Observational Field Research to observe in-store experience at competitive retailers
Feature analysis (by Annam and I)
Block diagram for Naja (by Annam) and Heuristics Evaluation for Slick Chicks, Thinx, Spanx, and Naja (by Janet)

From here, we kicked off user research by conducting usability tests on the existing website. This would help us to better understand where users were dropping off or losing interest, as well as provide us with a baseline for the usability results of our redesign. We conducted tests with five women, all unfamiliar with the brand, and received consistent responses:

  • Users considered the brand inclusive, woman-centric, and relatable, in reference to the images and copy on the homepage
  • Despite this, users were unsure as to how the product would be relevant to them; they considered it to be more for pregnant or physically constrained women
  • 5/5 women had difficulty navigating to other pages

Using this feedback, we created a screener survey to qualify users for further interviewing. The survey was open for three days and received 40 female responses distributed amongst the following categories:

  • 78% between the ages 25–34
  • 21 frequent gym goers
  • 9 hikers
  • 2 physically disabled
  • 5 pregnant women

Based on these results, we determined rough personas and chose the following types of women to interview:

  • Primary: Women that have physical, mobility limitations (e.g., pregnant, physically disabled)
  • Secondary: Women that are active/hikers

The goal of these interviews was to learn more about the underwear shopping and wearing experience, and to document initial impressions of Slick Chicks. We interviewed a total of 11 women and sent out a detailed survey to 3 pregnant women that were unavailable for interviewing. Significant findings include:

  • Purchasing underwear is typically not a frequent task for women; either they shop out of necessity or it’s a spontaneous purchase
  • Being physically constrained (pregnant, physically injured) can make the simple task of putting on underwear a cumbersome one
  • No one wants to think about their underwear throughout the day: having underwear that are appropriate for the situation (working out, wearing tighter clothing, etc.) is crucial

We used these findings while utilizing the MoSCoW Method to prioritize the website features:

MoSCow Method

We then asked six women that did not partake in our interviews to card sort the navigational, footer, and homepage content that currently existed on the website. The navigational categories were significantly condensed, while others were completely eliminated. We would implement these findings through information architecture and site mapping.

Card sorting

After synthesizing the user data, we were able to finalize our primary and secondary personas, as well as create tertiary personas (or archetypes) that were based on shopping behaviors. These would guide us through our design decisions and clarify the problem that we were striving to solve.

Primary and Secondary Personas (content by me, user flows and layout by Annam)
Archetypes (by me)

Defined problem: Women with chronic/long-term physical constraints need a way to easily find underwear that works for them because they want to feel confident and independent.

Proposed solution: A redesigned website that feels inclusive and relatable, and makes the experience of shopping for underwear enjoyable and engaging. This would be achieved through:

  • Inclusive imagery: Including high-resolution images of diverse women at all stages of life (different ethnicities, life stages, ages)
  • Streamlined messages: Minimize the amount of text shown and break up text with icons, images and white space.
  • Natural and warm colors and imagery: Including hues of pink, green and gold as well as images of women that are not ‘photoshopped’
  • Surprise and delight: Adding testimonial messages and hints of ‘empowerment’ throughout the website (via imagery, quotes)
Mobile comparison (L: original R: proposed design (by me))

With the fundamental elements in place, we could focus on how to portray the brand, product, and company mission throughout the entire website. We accomplished this by developing a brand persona and mood board.

Brand persona (by me)
Mood board (by me)

After this, we began sketching and promptly digitized our first prototype.

Homepage sketches (by me)

We tested seven users and found that the most significant changes needed to be made involved copy. For instance, 33% of users were confused about where to click to learn more about the product. We changed the navigational tab from “How they Work” to “How it Works,” and in our second usability test, 0% of users had trouble finding the correct page.

Usability testing

Our second usability round was tested on seven new users. Overall, the tests were much more successful and again, the majority of our changes involved word choice. For example, initially on the homepage, we had “Meet the Chicks” in reference to the underwear, but 40% of users were confused by what this meant. Therefore, we changed it to “Slick Chicks Underwear” to be more inclusive to users that were not familiar with the brand.

Homepage prototypes (L: before usability testing, R: final proposed version (by me)

We finalized the prototype, style guide, research report and other deliverables for Helya and the front-end developer.

Front-end style guide (by me)

This was an incredibly rewarding project to be a part of, and I hope to have more design opportunities in the future that will similarly help to empower overlooked or disadvantaged communities.

Final presentation and group shot! (From left: Janet, Annam, Helya, and myself)
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