Personal Stylist App

Dates: Oct 2017 - Jan 2018
 

Responsibilities: Research, Interaction Design, Prototyping, Usability Testing

Introduction:

I worked with a client that was interested in disrupting the retail industry. They already had a few product ideas, but I vouched for the importance of bringing human-centered research and design to help shape their business idea.

 

To understand where to begin, we started by identifying a problem we’d like to tackle. 

Problem:

Fashion is difficult. From understanding how clothes should fit, to how colors should match, figuring out what to wear can be overwhelming.

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User Research

Understanding the problem space

Observing how and why people shopped was a pivotal step in figuring out what solution the client could build.

Brainstorming user interview questions

Research Goal:

To observe people's natural shopping behavior (contextual inquiry) and understand their attitudes /feelings about shopping in general (interviews).

Research Synthesis

Modeling user needs

To consolidate our research, I created an affinity map from the research insights. I then met with the client and used this affinity map to brainstorm reasons behind user behavior and attitudes. To model these findings, we created user personas to represent our prior synthesis. 
 

These personas helped us create a solution that not just tackled a user’s surface-level problems but also helped them achieve their broader goals. 

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Ideation

Brainstorming solutions

I presented my research findings to the client and we brainstormed some solutions to the problems uncovered. We came up with a list of potential features and used a cost vs. impact map to prioritize what features the solution could include. “Cost” in this case represented time, money, and engineering resources. Finally, we consolidated these features and decided to create an app for booking personal stylists. 

Prioritizing features by mapping cost vs. impact

To understand the service’s various touchpoints and interactions with users, I ran a workshop with the client where we built a business model canvas.

Understanding the product's various touchpoints

Sketches & Wireframes

Evolution of design solutions
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Wings-inspired sketches. Not an ad :)

I began conceptualizing ideas for solutions to the problems discovered throughout my design research. I used paper prototypes for early-stage testing and to identify improvements to the design. I discovered many usability issues from these early user tests but was able to rapidly iterate the design.  

Designing the product's user flow
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Converting the flow to low-fi wireframes

Usability Testing

Scenario-based tests, iterating to success
Interactive Prototype

I converted wireframes into a high-fidelity prototype that would be used for testing. I again went to the mall and found people to interact with the app. During each test, I told volunteers to perform specific tasks and noted any usability issues that came up. Since the prototype walks users through the onboarding process, I didn't give volunteers any prior information. 

Here are a few of the usability issues that arose during the various testing sessions:

Onboarding Process - Sizing

Early in the testing process, I discovered that users were having problems filling out the sizing form. Many users simply didn’t remember their sizing information and did not understand why this information was important. This led me to redesign the form's UI to be more visually appealing and more importantly, made the form optional. 

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Before
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After

Error Resolution

Part of the user experience we wanted to test was what would happen if a stylist wasn’t available during the user’s requested time frame. Users were frustrated with the fact that the initial design didn’t provide any option for what to do when a stylist was unavailable. My solution was to provide alternative times that a user could select, which led to a much more efficient error resolution. 

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Before
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After

Final Designs

Explaining design decisions

Facebook login for added security

Stylist reviews

Never miss a booking

Easy directions

Onboarding form to understand styles that users enjoy

Efficient error resolution for when stylists are unavailable

Affordable group service

Customized budget 

Purchase history and style tips

Payment  history

Conclusion

Reflecting on the design

After 3 rounds of testing, I felt confident in the design and presented my work to the client. While this project never ended up being developed, I chose to include it in my portfolio as it shows my ability to use UX research to design not only an app’s UI but also help define a business strategy. 

How I Could Improve:

  • Ask more open-ended questions during user interviews. Looking back, I may have asked leading questions that could have influenced my user research. I've identified a great article to read. 

  • Conduct a comparative analysis of other apps/services to understand best practices and accepted market standards. 

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