E-commerce Design Sprint — Case Study
House2Home is a (hypothetical) e-commerce website that sells small decor items and accessories. Through customer surveys, they have found out that many of their clients just moved into a new place and want to buy multiple items to quickly personalize the space. House2Home sees an opportunity to start selling decorative “starter kits” that would include small items and accessories ($10–50) to help users instantly make their new place cozier.
The final design is what I refer to as an “interior designer on a budget” — a hybrid of a typical e-commerce website and services of a personal interior designer.
Challenge: to design a new feature allowing House2Home customers shop for decorative “starter kits” — set of items that will help users achieve the look and feel they want for their new place quickly and on a budget.
Outcome: a prototype well received by user testing participants. Participants were able to move through the interaction smoothly and mostly without questions.
My role: I have adopted a Design Sprint approach as a solo designer to quickly establish what a “starter kit” solution could look like based on the existing preliminary research.
Insights (Day 1: Understand/Map)
I went through the presented research findings and interview recordings to better understand House2Home users. I have recently moved and was going through a process of decorating my new place, so I felt connected with them They were inspired by attractive interior decor images they have seen on Pinterest or Instagram, yet struggled to buy matching items to recreate a look they had imagined quickly and on a budget.
I have established that users were:
- Knew exactly what kind of “look” they wanted, yet had trouble recreating the desired look
- Often had challenging spaces (small, dark, etc. )
- Already had some items in the apt that had to be incorporated into a new look
The biggest challenge was to help users get exactly what they wanted while accounting for their financial, timing, and living space constraints.
One of the user’s quotes about hiring an interior designer inspired me to think about the interior design process. A designer first takes an order from a client with all the necessary details, then offers several solutions, and then tweaks the solutions based on the client’s feedback. This process served as an inspiration for my User Map and my overall design.
Looking for a solution (Day 2: Sketch)
First, I determined the key features for the design:
- a survey to establish clients interests
- kit presentation page
I was inspired by an online interior design service Modsy and by a variety of subscription boxes that often have many customization options.
With lots of examples of customization, I had to decide how I wanted to present the kits and customization options to my users
For the Crazy 8s exercise, I chose “presenting kits” to the user as my most critical screen. This screen can make or break the entire experience either getting users engaged or disappointing them. It was also important to decide on how customization will be presented in the interaction (whether to allow users to customize step by step, or within the kit).
I have experimented with several options sketching 8 screens in 8 minutes, and ultimately settled on a version where the user would see a high-level presentation of kits selected for them after completing a survey, and then would be able to see all the details and customize the kit from the kit’s page.
Full sketch (Day 3: Decide/Storyboard)
After ironing out the customization flow and creating 3 key screens in the previous step, I structured the rest of the interaction.
I broke down the entire process into five stages:
- Presenting Kit Options
I designed my Discovery Stage screen as a banner showcasing the kit feature, which then proceeds to the survey. All survey screens were meant to be the same and I only designed 3 in order to save time. The final product version would, however, have more questions to better understand users’ preferences.
Solution (Day 4: Prototype)
Given how fast the design sprint process was, I had to think on my feet when choosing a visual language for the prototype.
The product itself (getting several inexpensive items for the apartment) is a reflection of a minimalistic design and lifestyle. I wanted to translate this sense of minimalism to the visual design of the product.
My visual design solutions to recreate the minimalistic style were:
- neutral colors
- “clean” design
- ample white space (to mimic the unfilled white space of users’ apartments)
The final product (Day 5: Validate)
For user testing, I reached out to personal connections who have recently moved to a new place and could relate to the presented testing scenario easily. I conducted 5 remote moderated user interviews and established that participants were able to move through the interactions easily and mostly without questions.
There were several minor usability issues that came up during testing and required improvement.
- Some confusion arose around color schemes for the kits
Potential design change — include information section explaining that colors could be changed for the whole kit, or individually for each product
- Some participants mentioned that they would want to see how products look when they are arranged in the room on a “presenting the kits” page
Potential design change — add a picture of arranged items to the page
- Some participants wanted to customize their product right on the kit page
Potential design change — have customization options as a carousel on the kit page rather than taking users to a separate page.
Overall, the design sprint was a successful start to addressing the needs of House2Home users who just moved into their new apartments and wanted to decorate to achieve a certain look quickly and on a budget. The proposed solution was well-received by the user testing participants. Minor changes are now needed to improve the product.
While working on this project, I have learned about the essential principles of working on e-commerce designs. I have also learned how to use the Design Sprint approach to quickly ideate, put together a prototype, and validate ideas.