Maynooth Furniture

Affordable High-End Furniture Online.

An E-Commerce website for people to browse and purchase for home delivery.

Overview
 

This is a portfolio case study where I worked on all aspects of the design system and UX. This case study is inspired by Udemy’s UX Design Course, and Adobe XD Course. 

ROLE

User flows, wireframes, interactive prototype, mockups, style guide

TIMELINE

January - March 2020

TOOLS

Adobe XD, Photoshop, Figma

PROCESS

I followed a user-centred design approach that allowed me to empathize with users through interviews and probes for context mapping, defining problems and ideating solutions, and conducting user testing of prototypes to validate my final design.

Empathize with users

 

USER RESEARCH & DISCOVERY

 

Having participants in the comfort of their own home, I carried out user interviews through Facebook's facetime, and by telephone with friends and family to understand:

1. Why users would purchase new instead of used.

2. What factors influence their purchasing decisions.

3. Why they prefer shopping in person vs online.

 

For Online Shopping:

+ I don’t have a car and I need help moving items 

+ Online is quicker and easier than going in person

+ I can see the prices and styles online

 

Against Online Shopping:

- I need to see and feel what I’m buying in person

- I don’t want to pay additional shipping charges

- It’s hard to schedule a time to be home for delivery

PROBES

During the user interviews, I asked the participants to complete a set of tasks that would allow me to probe into how they shop for furniture online.

 

They needed to choose an online furniture store and talk their way through buying a few pieces for a room of their choice.

 

Although relatively straight forward, this probe allowed me to discover any pain points they experienced with online shopping and at the same time gave me usability insight into competitors websites.

BIGGEST PAIN POINTS

61%    I need to see and feel what I’m buying.

45%   I don’t want to pay shipping charges.

38%   It’s hard to schedule a time for delivery.

27%   It's too expensive.

18%    How do I return if I'm unsatisfied.

USER SHOPPING BEHAVIOURS

52% always have an idea of what they’re looking for even before visiting an online store.

69% felt comfortable browsing online.

6% were new to it.

MOST IMPORTANT FEATURES

95%   Colour, availability, and pricing.

85%   Design ideas and inspiration.

73%   Accessories and accent pieces.

68%   Free home delivery.

48%   Little to no assembly required.

USER SURVEY ANALYSIS

This survey uncovered a list of user pain points that need to be addressed.

 

These include:

  • I need to see and feel what I’m buying in person.

  • I don’t want to pay additional shipping charges.

  • It’s hard to schedule a time to be home for delivery.

​​

The survey results indicated that the shopping behaviours of my target users were very diverse, which was taken into account when creating personas.

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

To better understand the marketplace, I explored both web and mobile versions of popular competitors. I reviewed three companies: Ikea, The Brick, and Leons.

While there are many more competitors (large and small), the vast majority are poorly designed and offer very little information beyond price, availability and colour options.

PROS:

+ Easy checkout process

+ Modern look and design

+ Use of augmented reality

CONS:

- Lack of in-app ideas

- Confusing interfaces

- Information organization problems

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Through my competitive analysis, I discovered several features I knew I'd want to include - as well as some problematic elements I could avoid.

For example, I had initially thought that categorizing furniture by material could help users find items more easily. However, this pattern highlighted an organizational problem within one of the competing apps: too many options would become displayed. "Users bombarded with choices have to take time to interpret and decide, giving them work they don’t want".

 

                                    "The time it takes to make a decision increases with

                                                the number and complexity of choices"

                                                        - Hicks Law (or the Hick-Hyman Law)

 

For this reason, I decided that organizing furniture by room, and then sub organizing by item type, size, price, and alphabetically with a prominent search bar would be the best strategy.

Define the problem and ideate solutions

Based on my user research and survey dataI, I created three personas of ideal shoppers of Maynooth Furniture.

1. The working student

2. An adult in their 30s and 40s, likely with children

3. An older adult, likely with children old enough to have moved out

These personas experience common issues as well as having unique habits, routines, and needs when shopping online. By understanding my users' motivations, I could more effectively design a website that would cater to their goals.

 

The next step was to start ideating solutions using common techniques like Point of View, “How might we” Questions, and Challenging Assumptions.

POINT OF VIEW

 

I need to buy pre-assembled furniture online that will be delivered to my home address on my schedule. Since I'm alone, I’ll need help moving the furniture into my house and put in the appropriate rooms, including on the second floor.

“HOW MIGHT WE”

- HMW allow for delivery and pick up      

   24hr/day to meet peoples busy schedules?

- HMW provide a service to aid those alone

   at home to move heavy furniture?

- HMW provide a service of furniture

   assembly before or after delivery?

Prototype solutions 

STORYBOARD

I created a storyboard that shows the steps the persona of Kathlene takes in her shopping experience - where she needs to take further action by contacting support for help. This allowed me empathize with potential pain points the persona and real users may face. This also helped me plan the next steps when thinking of designing the wireframe.

WIREFRAMES

I began the layout of the website based on the projects initial requirements (Home page, Category page, Product page, and Contact Us page). As the project developed, the wireframes were modified through user testing until a final version was appropriate to develop into a High Fidelity mock up.

HIGH-FIDELITY

The High Fidelity design concept was inspired by the personas - after all it has to appeal to those with a sense of style! A sleek and minimalistic approach was utilized to give the site a modern look and feel. Photos from Unsplash.com were inputed for the prototype.

Conclusion

As my first UX Design project, I not only had to become comfortable with taking a user-centred design approach, I also had to learn how to use Adobe XD, and tackled the scope of the website’s design. 

 

This project wasn't a fully designed website, instead there was a focus on several main pages which kept the project manageable. Moving on, there are many ideas I would love to implement, and some design aspect I'd like to further test, develop and change. In my free time I will continue to work on this project by building the missing pages (Account/Login page, Checkout page, etc), and design a mobile version.

After the Adobe XD design course, I completed my certification from IDF and was able to bring many aspects that I learned into developing this project even further.