All I Need is a Working Laptop

Using Lean UX method to refine the laptop purchase experience for

There are many great things that can happen when you bring Lean UX principles to design. It is more collaborative and efficient. Everybody in the team can share their insights and those insights are shared much earlier in the process. As a result, it shortens the design cycle. Designers apply the best parts from their toolkits which reduce waste and it allows them to be more productive.

In the third week at General Assembly, we tried to use this method to refine an aspect of the website.

Here is the prototype I made:


Before I started the Lean UX process, I applied heuristic evaluation and conducted 4 usability tests to find out what are the challenges for purchasing a laptop through My goal was to serve everything to everyone.

Here are the 3 problems I found.

1. Products appear and disappear randomly, navigation loops are disorienting, and deeply hidden features abound.

2. The product page contains too many specifications and rarely used information. Even hardcore nerds are overwhelmed with the level of detail.

3. There are considerable inconsistencies with the products names and descriptions.

Starting Lean UX with a Proto-Persona

In case you haven’t heard of a Proto-Persona, it’s a lightweight view into a group of users.

Let’s meet Kim. She’s a 65 years old nurse. Her major goals when using a laptop is to browse websites and go shopping. If you ask her what are the requirements for a laptop, she will tell you as long as it’s working and meets her budget, she’s good to go.

Mind mapping

Since the website is so chaotic and disorienting, a mind map is how I make sense of the purchasing experience, to figure out what people need when they purchase a laptop

Card Sorting

In order to fix the navigation as well as to cut down on unnecessary information, I chose a card sorting method to approach the these goals.

I laid every element down on each card and tried to come up with a simplified flow for users to select various laptop configurations

Critical Changes

  1. I simplified the categories because the separation of home and office use is anachronistic. There is no practical distinction in modern computing. I also recategorized based on form factor and special features, like 2-in-1 and touch screens vs. traditional laptops.

2. Instead of overloading users with choices, I remapped the flow based on possible configurations. I use a progressive disclosure flow to show one choice at one time and the disabled options will provide configuration hinting.

3. “Chat with Ava” is a great automated virtual assistant system in The problem is that it is difficult to be noticed because it is hidden inside of certain flows.

There are 3 major forms of finding something: browsing, searching, and asking for assistance. These three are contextually similar methods, so I grouped them together to aid the shopper’s discovery experience

Chat with ava is

Usability tests

After building the prototype, I conducted usability tests, and here are two major problems which need further attention.

  • Developer Edition needs more explanation
  • Cross sale feature for accessories is hard to be noticed. It is too close to the fold

Lean UX is a very productive method especially for refining an existing product. This may seem like a lot of work for the project, but actually it took about one week to finish a whole design cycle.



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Qian Li

Qian Li

Daydreamer, color lover, occasional chef