House2Home Case Study
As a retail experience designer in my past life, I was used to creating these environments that customers could walk into and be part of, like a wonderland. I had never ever thought of what difficulty customers may have in trying to construct their own wonderland at home, having no experience, on a budget, and given no direction. The House2Home design sprint challenge allowed me to design something from the other side of the table.
This case study is a solo 5 day modified Google Venture design sprint. The user research material was provided by Springboard and BiteSizeUX.
Solo design sprint
Affinity Photo & Marvel
Background & Problem Statement
Many people living off on their own for the first time want to personalize their living space but are unsure how. They either find it overwhelming, cannot visualize the end goal, their limited budget limits ideas, are not sure of what to purchase, or just have a hard time recreating styles they have seen. To further say, users find it difficult to interpret and express inspiring looks into an impactful decor kit.
I created an e-commerce website that allows the user to seek professional designer advice and discover and preview items within a space, all within a compact dashboard.
Day 1- Map
On Day 1, I kicked off the design sprint by reading through the provided research material to understand the goals and problems. House2Home surveys found that many of their customers have just moved into a new home or apartment and feel unconfident in personalizing their own space on their own. Seeing this as a great opportunity, House2Home wants to focus on helping the users with a “starter kit” of multiple products to decorate their new home instantly.
Reading through the research and interview material allowed me to synthesize common problems found throughout the users.
- On a budget
- Overwhelming amount of items too choose from
- Cannot visualize items in space
- Recreating inspiration is difficult
My goal is to find a solution that assists customers in finding the impactful look they want easily.
Day 2- Sketch
After spending the first day understanding House2Home and the presented challenge, it was time to start sketching out solutions. But before that, a competitive analysis was done via lightning demos.
To keep things light and focused, I limited myself to a 30min round of researching inspiration from other companies and how they found solutions to the same or similar problems.
- All companies allowed users to search items by categories like which room, style, or type of product.
- All of them featured a Pinterest-like collage layout with their inspiration pictures.
- Key features like 3D room tools were buried in the sea of product lists- they had to be searched.
And now it’s time to distill some solutions from the inspiration that was gathered. The Crazy 8’s Method was used to further keep action light and focused.
Referring back to the user flow maps made, I decided the most critical step for users was uploading photos / interacting with 3D rooms and products.
These screens showcased an interactive room layout where the user could swap out items, click on them for prices, and drag them around the space. Others featured a dashboard that allowed the user to access their shopping cart, snap a photo of their space, chat with a visual designer, as well as view other items and their prices.
Day 3- Storyboard
After taking some time to go over my sketches from the previous day, I decided to select the last screen as it was a combination of all sketches built upon each other. It allows the upload of a personal photo, is an interactive dashboard that features looks/products suggested by the virtual designer, has a chat feature, and shows user’s shopping cart. It provides a unique user experience and human touch with the chat, especially in this digital atmosphere.
Day 4- Prototype
To the Point
And now, the prototype. This prototype is intended to be completely visual and to get the point across. Within design sprints, the idea is to maintain a quickness throughout the process. In order to do so, I could not spend the amount of time I usually do creating high-fidelity prototypes.
Prototype with What Though?
I used Marvel to quickly put together a visual representation of my idea. Marvel itself is not as sophisticated as Sketch or XD and can be a bit clunky, but it does allow the designer to not get caught up in all the details. This was actually the most difficult part for me, but I am very pleased with how everything turned out.
Day 5- Test!
Phew, that was more difficult than I thought, but definitely refreshing and a great learning experience. But now it’s time to test the prototype.
What Was Tested
I asked 5 individuals for feedback. Of mixed genders and ages and all interested in making their space look the best it could. What was important for me to understand was whether the participants responded positively to the idea of a dashboard. How was the layout and did it all make sense?
I asked each person to complete 3 tasks.
- How would they seek help from a visual designer?
- How could they view the items included in each option?
- How could they add items or whole options to their cart?
What Was Learned
- Participants liked the idea of a “starter kit” being packaged and accessible within the dashboard. They stated that “shopping on other decor websites is a pain in the a$$. I have to thumb through pages. I do not know what I am looking at and when I do find something I have to navigate away to find something else. This allows me to have everything right there.”
- Most of them said that they would like the idea of having a professional designer assist them with ideas, but ultimately they want to maintain control.
- Two participants were hung up on how to add an entire option to the cart but admitted they had never seen this feature before and were unsure how it would work. The others said the (+) on the options and items were intuitive. - Perhaps having a small disclaimer near the symbol.
Based on the user feedback, the idea of having a one-stop-shop dashboard that allows the customer to contact a professional for design assistance, offers access to their shopping cart, peruse decor, AND enable them an end goal visualization, is a feature that could be of great use to House2Home. The hope to create a “starter kit” for the customer, I think, was packaged well with the dashboard.
For future consideration I would:
- Maybe incorporate some way to allow filtration/categorization of store items not just by “style” but by price, rating, and other searchable features.
- Create screens that show a customer’s uploaded photos with items added to that space instead of just the staged photos.
As always, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read about my projects.