Arty’s Art Supplies, London
During a two-week design sprint, I was given a brief from a local art shop in Shoreditch, in aim to design their website experience. Their aim was to be bold but not intimidating, informal yet playful and overall simple and easy to use.
Where to begin? In order to understand the market, I began to research likeminded competitors of the company to really observe how each experience differs to another. What makes a local art website more successful than others?
I found that some features such as the recommendation and description of products were an important aspect of the web page. More specific information such as reviews also played a key role in the sale of items. However, while smart ‘user centred shopping’ was a popular feature amongst websites, they were not always accurate recommendations.
Gathering online data from websites was not enough in understanding the competitive market. We needed more… Which led us to a site visit to one of our competitors- Cowling and Wilcox. Through delegating tasks across team members, I had the role of recording the movement of people into and around the shop floor. Where was their initial point of focus? What elements of the art shop were most used?
Our findings were interesting… Bursts of colour, through paints, spray paints and glitter were most popular! This comes to no surprise. Groups, children and adults paused to explore the variety of colours that existed throughout the aisles.
A negative aspect of the shop experience, was that there was very little interaction between the staff and customer. Perhaps staff were not required as much as they are in other retail stores? Or perhaps people were so absorbed in the content of the shop that they did not require the assistance of others.
Moving on, my next step was to conduct an interview with users of similar background and personality as my target audience. To understand the target user, I conducted an interview with Rachel. Her personality matched the brand image in that she is a young, creative individual with a desire to do more in her day to day life.
This was a great technique in digging deeper and finding more answers to help my research. During a one to one formal interview, I asked relevant questions regarding her shopping habits. To my assumptions, she did shop online often due to time restraints. However, to my surprise, she found her issue with websites was the absence of ‘browsing’. During her in store experiences, she would find herself window shopping for items that would spark her creativity. This was limited online.
Visualising the Problem
By breaking down her situation into a ‘problem statement’, I was able to really understand how to tackle the users challenge.
‘A new events manager is looking for fresh ideas to help recreate her portfolio to impress existing clients and attract more work. Strict working hours limit her ability to explore new art materials and crafts, however she finds that her creativity is limited through online shopping experiences.’
So here’s the situation… ‘Rachel is a start-up level events manager, looking for ways to promote her image. During the day she works for a large sales company in central London.’
The problem is that… ‘She is not able to find sufficient time outside her main job to find creative and unique art supplies for her work.’
So her solution… ‘She discovers the Artsy Art Website through an online advertisement in her area. She finds it unique to others in that it offers personalised design ideas as well as being stimulating and easy to use.’
The Outcome was that… ‘Rachel now works solely as an events manager and finds she has plenty of time to find, create and order art materials with a few simple steps.’
I then began to categorise the various products during an open card sort. Understanding the many ways of naming the main navigation page was intriguing. This activity was undertaken with multiple participants, so the results were broad.
In order to gain further insight, I then picked the most popular categories and presented them to the next set of participants. This ‘closed card sort’ allowed the users to once again categorise the products, however this time, according to the given headings. This allowed me to observe any difficulties during the challenge, and further refine the dedicated categories.
Mapping the Result
After translating this physical information into digital form, I was able to begin to uncover the user journey. Below is a happy path diagram of what would be expected from the user in his or her journey towards the purchasing of an item.
Designing the Website
The process began with paper and translated to digital form. The initial sketching of prototypes played a key role in the design process. It was through here that the webpage was drafted, tested and redesigned, multiple times.
The process of reiteration was key, and lead towards the digital mockups.
After multiple iterations of the design process, the final design was a medium fidelity prototype (Below). The design aimed to incorporate the inspiration page throughout, in order to guide and inspire users throughout their shopping experience.
To view the above prototype, please visit the clickable link indicated in the image caption.
This journey taught me the essential aspects of designing for the user. I was able to practise and understand how relevant the user is to every aspect of design.