BHS

User Experience
Low-fidelity prototyping
Information Architecture
CLIENT

UXDI Project

SKILLS

User Experience, Information Architecture, Low-Fidelity Prototyping

PROJECt DURATION

2 weeks

CASE STUDY

The Brief

Design an independent site for BHS to inspire and sell products to home decorators. BHS is a leader in home decorating retailing. From recent market research, it has been found that most people find it difficult to decide on a decorating style and when they do find one, they do not know where to start or how to replicate the style. BHS’s current site which focuses on home decor (bhsfurniture.co.uk) focuses mainly on selling individual items rather than inspiration. This was identified as a market opportunity to create a new website for BHS.

The Solution

The main features of my design included

  • Filtering inspirations by various unique constraints
  • Sharing ideas with shared lists

Main Challenges

Determining the source of inspiration for my primary persona

User Research and Discovery

Card Sorting 

To figure out how people categorise items on the site, I conducted card sorting tests to see how people group products sold by BHS. This helped me develop the information architecture.

Competitor Analysis 

I analysed competitors to identify what BHS’s main competitors are doing in this space. The main competitor found was Ikea who offer a wide range of inspiration of styles. This is both represented on their website and in the brick and mortar stores.

User Interviews

The design approach focused on how people get inspired and what we can do to help them to decorate their home. Below are the user flows and user journeys for various people I interviewed. These represent the decision points which are taken when achieving a specific task. This is used to identify various pain points for users.

From my user research I identified one primary persona as a key customer for BHS. I named this persona Michael and he represents the the key customer my design revolves around.

Michael - 31 YO Assistant Manager At Insurance Company | Cares About : Value. Family.

“I’m always short of time, and I don’t have the budget for the unnecessary.”
Bio

Michael has been married to Suzie for 5 years. They have a boy (2) and a newborn daughter. He works a lot as he wants to become a manager as soon as possible, as his family expenses are growing. To save money they decide to redecorate/remodel their home instead of moving. He and Suzie decide that she will make the creative choices for their project but Michael will be responsible for keeping control of the budget and tracking it. Michael likes being a handyman and will do some of the DIY.

Behaviour
  • Product knowledge: Decorating/styling - Poor. Tools/hardware - Good.
  • Purchase cycle: Decorating - Never. Tools hardware - occasional. Has most equipment he needs.
  • Tech knowledge: Ok. He’s not the first to buy. Likes to wait until products are proven.
Needs from an online store
  • Wants easy access to value options
  • Knowing what's popular on repeat visits
  • Being reassured by familiar brand names
  • Feedback from others to know how well a product performs
  • Alerts to special deals he’s likely to be interested in
  • Recommendations from experts
Pain Points
  • Unclear or overly brief descriptions
  • Confusing navigation
  • Not having store pickup options
  • Difficult returns process
  • Poor order tracking

From my interviews I identified the thought process of picking a decorating style between Michael and Suzie. They would typically use Pinterest to get inspiration. Suzie would pick things she likes, and Michael would then have to do the research on how feasible the project is. This requires Michael to do research on cost and time the project will take. This is a repetitive and time consuming process as Michael always has to get Suzie’s approval.

Design

Design Studio

The design process started with holding a Design Studio. This is where I get developers, managers, marketing, customers and other stakeholders together to design a solution for a particular task. People are grouped into small teams. Each team gets 5 minutes to design a solution. Each person gets to talk about their design and get critique. This process is repeated to refine the ideas. This method lets me get a lot of ideas quickly. From this method, I gathered many ideas regarding the product description page. Interesting ideas that came up were

Prototype

Paper Prototype

My final design allows my users to view decorating styles and choose the criteria that my main persona, Michael might be interested in. This includes cost, implementation time and style. My design also allows to “pin” styles that are liked by clicking the “favourite button”. These items can be added to shared style lists. Shopping lists can also be created and shared. With these features, this would seem to solve the problem I have identified.

Paper Prototype

Digital Wireframe

Digitising my paper prototype allowed me to add more detail to my designs. It also let me create a digital prototype that let my testers click on things and see the actual flow of the design. My results were mostly positive. There was a bit of confusion with certain buttons on product pages such as my “Download” button for a shopping list. There was also confusion around having both “add to favourite” buttons and “save to list” buttons. But once I explained them, it seemed to make sense.

View PRototype
Conclusion

Summary

My final design allows my users to view decorating styles and choose the criteria that my main persona, Michael might be interested in. This includes cost, implementation time and style. My design also allows to “pin” styles that are liked by clicking the “favourite button”. These items can be added to shared style lists. Shopping lists can also be created and shared. With these features, this would seem to solve the problem I have identified.

Next Steps

In my final design, there is still initial confusion with the “add to favourite” and “save to list” buttons. I would like to do further iterations to include coach marks and test this to see if it helps first time users. Mobile is also important, and it would be very interesting to work on a mobile design for this site.

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