Bloom Box Miami

A case study in UX methodology

UX Case Study- Design Brief

Before we dive in, let’s define the words “UX” and “case study!”

Wikipedia defines case study as a research method involving an up-close, in-depth, and detailed examination of a subject of study (Bloom Box Miami), as well as its related contextual conditions……but in the truest sense this isn’t a case study of Bloom Box Miami but rather an expose’ on the methodologies used to address the UX defincies of Bloom Box Miami’s website. In defining “UX” it simply refers to the User eXperience someone would encounter using a service or product. (There are much broader inplications but we’ll leave it as such for now.)

With these formalities out of the way- let’s examine the design brief and how we formed solutions to small issues with Bloom Box Miami’s website. 
(I say “we” as I was part of a 3-person team that examined BBM- but this case study is written from my personal viewpoint.)

Design Brief

BloomBox Miami (BBM) was the selected “client” and they are a fairly new online-only flower company that credits themselves as offering customizable floral arrangements not found with other online retailers. BloomBox had been noticing low conversions and were looking for solutions to increase sales. Bloombox funtions as an e-commerce website which we would use as the base for analyzing their current business structure and use the design sprint method to present possible solutions to any issues we uncovered. We studied their website to familiarize our team with the client, understand the company’s goals, objectives and how we might help them achieve those.

So what is a design sprint….in it’s simplest form, it’s a 5-step process (with sub processes) which is normally carried out within a 5-day period which fast-tracks solutions which are testable and forgoes the traditional UX design processes which can be a lengthy and costly to employ. It’s a methodology which allows a UX designer(s) to quickly formulate solutions which can be tested and is a viable tactic for time or budget sensitive scenarios. The illustration below sums up the process quite nicely.

Image from zapier.com

Methodology
Using the GV Design Sprint methodology we sought to find possible culprits to the low conversion numbers Bloombox had been experiencing. Early initial analysis revealed an issue where some number of customers were being inadvertently directed off the e-commerce site and onto their social media pages where ordering is not be possible. This indirection from their site was one of the few variables responsible for some of the lost sales and conversions. Continuing with the design sprint steps we explored BloomBox and it’s product(s) and using a customer map uncovered an issue with the customization stage of the ordering process. This customization is where our team focused it’s efforts to improve. We were also provided expert customer interviews which helped to formulate our target demographic which is an absolutely vital part of the design sprint methodology. Formulating the base demographic of males ages 32 to 36, we then compiled “How Might We” (HMW) statements, group HMW statements, prioritize HMW statements, and redefined our target- all of this is part of the data gathering process.

How Might We Statements
Ordering Customization issue uncovered
Categorizing demographics, frustrations, goals, needs and formulating solutions.

Research
We used “Lightning Demos” which is essentially comparing direct and indirect competitors and how they go about addressing any target concerns and mapped our clients problems, helping us search for ideas that we could use to inform our solutions. We went onto mapping our notes, ideas, crazy 8’s and solution sketches. Research revealed customers whom visited the site couldn’t directly “personalize” their selected packages unless they initialized an order completion which proved through customer mapping as a flaw and surely affecting sales numbers- this again became the target area of attention and solution application.

Lightning Demo Research
Crazy 8’s and further ideation

We further researched the most favorable solutions by analyzing group solution sketches by heat mapping individual concepts in a “museum style” display- further providing ideation to our presented solution.

Planning

Onto storyboarding- the concept of drawing the “ideal” use of our product with our solution with the target demographic used in a best case scenario. Our team created a clean “comic book” style rendering on brown paper and was generally well received by the other outside groups. Our solution involved the addressing of the “customization” phase of the ordering process and we focused on creating an easier method to flower box customization which we successfully created to some degree.

Prototype-Testing

We eventually went onto mid fidelity prototypes which were the pencil illustrated screens of what we’d like our app to look like. Using the Marvel Pop app we created a functioning mobile prototype that as we could use for the ever important, user testing phase. Our instructor Maite continually emphasized the importance of user testing often saying that failure is a perfectly acceptable outcome and embraceable as it gives data as to what’s NOT working and thus allows us to move onto solutions that would eventually work- every option should be considered, “fail often and fail fast” was a mantra she often cited!

We tested our working prototype with 5 beta-testers as current convention indicates a minimum of 5 user/testers can account for 85% of user testability results. Our prototype showed promise as many users cited it’s ease of use and liked the ability to easily create “customizable” messages but some made mention of some degree of confusion to the “look” which may be partially based on the “pencil” illustrations we used to mockup the displays- we would need further testing to verify and validate that point or perhaps reveal other underlying issues we may have missed. Clearly additional user testing and research would be necessary to provide the best possible solution.

Although our solution addressed and corrected the customization issue we uncovered, given more time, more research and testing I feel confident we would come up with a solution that further improves on our current version and could be implemented with success.

Summary

As stated previously, our presented solution to the customization process showed promise but would require additional research and user testing to truly be considered a viable solution to the low number conversions. The confused responses to our app deems this additional testing and refinement continue if permitted.

Wrap Up Conclusions

Our instructor Maite (and TA Keri) dove straight into the “GV Design Sprint” methodology and it’s merits in use for Ux/Ui designers. We were introduced to the steps of a GV Design Sprint and why top ux/ui designers widely adopt it’s use and the recommended minimum of 5 user testers as it accounts for 85% of user testability results and why we should adopt this mindset. With this knowledge in mind we were introduced to the steps of the GV Design Sprint and onto our first design brief, “BloomBox Miami.” In 5 days we formulated solutions, created working prototypes and user tested them…..we had some success and some failure……from this point on, I assume nothing and will continue to observe and learn from the outside in!

This was a case study of learning~ using the design sprint process- a perfectly viable method of solution formations.