“I wanted an e-commerce website that had scope to be a long-term solution for us. Nerida created a foundation that really allowed this to happen.”
Case&Co. (also trading as Patagonia Byron Bay) engaged me as a user experience research and design consultant because they were dissatisfied with the customer experience and performance of their outdoor sports and lifestyle e-commerce site. They wanted to increase sales through their mobile site to 80 per cent by reaching a younger customer segment.
“The Web team from the National office was impressed by your UX [research] - congrats. They loved your work.”
After conducting an in-depth situational appraisal (e.g. stakeholder interviews, heuristic evaluation and other methods) of their business and user experience needs, I discovered that the client knew little about their prospective customers' motivations, goals and behaviours. Understanding this younger customer was a strategic necessity for their business to prevent further wasted resources, costly mistakes and missed opportunities.
We committed to conducting customer development and user research with screened prospective customers to test pre-existing assumptions about the business model, prospective customers, and the existing e-commerce site. This approach also ensured that the user interface designs and other decisions would effectively align with the business and customer goals, and in evaluating the final designs.
“I feel like I’m going through a lot of stuff to get to something I like. I probably would have given up already. It’s not very fluid.”
“It feels like there is a lot of back and forth here, like I’m not really going on a shopping journey.”
From the research material I developed an insightful customer profile and other valuable research insights, including an outline of my recommended next steps for Case&Co.
The research confirmed the e-commerce store experience did not meet customers’ needs primarily because of the inconsistent shopping journey (especially on mobile), slow site speed, and confusion about the Case&Co brand and unique selling proposition.
The most important unmet needs for the prospective customer were: effortless research and comparison tools; realistic examples of product use; and a palatable ethical shopping guide.
The long-term vision for the Case&Co experience was to work towards creating an ecommerce store that acts like a virtual shopping assistant. The short-term vision was to improve the basic user experience so that it became a fast, fluid and consistent shopping journey.
“I didn’t expect the user research results to be so negative. It really increased the priority of User Experience Design for our business and I can now see an opportunity for us to target these customers.”
The Vision: A fast, fluid and consistent shopping journey.
My preference is to work in tandem with a developer to iteratively produce and test the designs, however this was not an option for this project. Instead, when we were clear about the overall design strategy and direction, I hand-sketched and created prototypes with Proto.io.
I was able to reduce the site from approximately 20 core pages down to approximatley 10. Once the client had approved them I mocked-up custom digital wireframes using Sketch app and mobile and desktop prototypes using Invision app.
“The benefit of working with Nerida was the time she took to understand our customer and their needs. She executed these insights in a clear and succinct way to ensure the customer experience was paramount and seamless.”
I tested the wireframes with user participants and received the client’s feedback. With these insights I improved the designs and created the visual designs to match the existing Patagonia branding. I then tested the designs again with user participants. The user testing indicated that the new user experience was approximately five times faster because it was a more fluid and consistent shopping journey.
“I highly recommend her design aesthetic and professional approach.”
“We love it! I would work with Nerida again as she puts the customer and client’s needs first with little requirement for back-and-forths, she got it right the first time.”
The site is currently being developed. The project was delivered on time, on budget and within scope. The client was thrilled with the final designs and the entire process of working together.