Project 1: Shopping

Stage One: The Interviews

To identify what the problem is, we did several interviews to collate as much information as we can. But in order to receive qualitative, unbiased and insightful responses, we had to phrase our questions right.

The idea is to collect behaviour, not opinions.

My Topic: Improve the Shopping Experience

So I started the interviews with a list of questions I came up with, mostly generic and broad questions. Also keeping in mind that it should feel more like a conversation than a formal interview.

While the interview recordings helped refresh all the key points made, it also highlighted my mistakes during the interviewing process.

  1. I didn’t probe enough
  2. I asked several close ended questions
  3. I unintentionally included answers in my questions
  4. *sigh* I interrupted my users at some point during the conversations.

Stage Two: Synthesis of Data

Thankfully, the result of my findings weren’t completely fruitless. And by the second round of interviews, a few things really stood out from it.

  1. Most of the users are spontaneous shoppers. They buy as and when they see something they like.
  2. The users pay for their shopping items using credit cards/pay wave
  3. Most of the users do not like crowds and are unwilling to join a long queue to try on their clothing. Would choose to return another day or forgo the item.
  4. Most of the users prefer to shop alone. Citing efficiency and the lack of time wasted waiting for each other as their reasons
  5. Most of the users choose to shop at retailers because of fitting and quality concerns.

Interestingly enough, the acts of paying with cards, shopping alone and not wanting to waste time queuing in lines were all stemmed from one thing — efficiency. So that became my source to the grand solution.

“To provide a seamless retail shopping experience for users by eliminating queues”

Introducing digital queuing + a walk-in-walk-out payment system (similar to that of Amazon Go) is the big idea.

Stage Three: User Flow

Keeping it simple was key. And this gave me a clearer idea of how the app could aid in the users’ decision making process.

Stage Four: (Emotional) Storyboard

This really helped set my idea straight. Shopping is an emotional act and had always been better known as retail therapy. Recreating a scene allows users to relate with those situations better, creating a sense of familiarity.

Stage Five: Wireframing

So I added a few other features at the beginning, thinking it would value add to the app. Other than serving its main purpose of eliminating queues, I wanted people to be able to “spy” on the outlet to check for crowd.

Stage Six: Prototyping + 2 User Testing

Sometimes you just got to think simple and to introduce one feature at a time. Through the first prototype, I knew I was complicating matters.

When Elky was faced with the first screen, she wondered why there were two features and did not know what to do with them nor understood the purpose for it. I failed miserably.

After one round of iteration, Rachel took the wheel with it and returned with comments on its clarity. What was presented on 10 March was really the 3rd edition of the prototype.

Stage Six: Prototyping + 2 User Testing

Thinking Forward

I would have loved to see the additional feature of a “human traffic camera” to introduced to the app in the future. It helps give users a gauge of what to expect, and possibly which outlet they could go to by knowing what the crowd is like beforehand. In fact, this would help regulate traffic flow for the retailers as well.

Other than just relying on interviews, shadowing would be effective to get a better sense of the ground. When we’re not in the act at that moment and is asked to recall, it is not always an accurate depiction of the entire experience. We sometimes forget the most obvious things even though we try to play it in our head.

Learning Points

  1. Probe. And create conversations, not interrogations.
  2. Maintain unbiased views.
  3. Keep to a single (max 2) solution and keep it simple. It’s easy to get carried away with and distracted by ideas. But knowing when to introduce additional features is important.
  4. Always always always keep your users in mind. Always.
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