Phase 2: Problem Framing

Following our exploratory research, we proceeded to map the user, identify points of intervention, and develop preliminary ideas for possible solutions.

Defining the Persona

We identified several stakeholder groups and subgroups:

  • Employee: general manager, stock manager, salesperson, cashier
  • Shopper: purchaser, returner
  • Companion: partner, friend, family member

Due to time constraints, we design our solution for one persona mainly — a college student who is shopping at Little’s Shoes who has the following characteristics:

  • Current shoes are wearing out, needs shoes that can be worn in almost any situation
  • Don’t have much time, needs a pair of shoes that fits well & won’t have a chance of needing to be returned
  • But at the same time, still wants something that looks good & is fashionable
  • On a budget
  • Uncommon foot type, small & narrow


Initial, rough brainstorming diagram
Exploring the user journey

“Design Gardening”

In our brainstorming session, we applied the Rose, Bud, Thorn method to identify things that are positive (rose), having potential (buds), or a problem (thorn). We initially separated them into what we felt were nine distinct segments of the user journey:

Rose, Bud, Thorn table

Finding Intervention Points

With these points, we were able to identify some possible points of intervention that we were interested in pursuing, which we have notes below.

Intervention 1: Salesperson to & from back (including knowing stock)

  • Knowing what options are available for a certain shoe model (style/size)
  • Knowing if those options are in stock
  • Physically getting those options from stock (which means customer has to wait)

Preliminary ideas:

  • Runners who bring shoes from stock to show floor
  • Display on shoes with options & what’s in stock

Intervention 2: Keeping track of what you’re interested in/keeping track of goals

  • Ranking shoe options as you try them on
  • Knowing shoe prices
  • Communicating interests to salesperson

Preliminary ideas:

  • AI/smart agent that you tell what you’re interested in

Intervention 3: There’s a lot of variables to keep track of customers may not be familiar with (such as firmness, arch support, width)

Intervention 4: Sizing — measuring & matching with shoes