In the digital world we live in, ideas are easily lost or forgotten. Sticky-notes are physically visible on walls and live on as tangible byproducts for many UX processes. Seeing all the different ideas in different handwritings and colors listed on the same wall creates a sense of diversity and equality, and reinforces the sense of belonging to the team. Sticky-notes are not the work of any one individual — they are the visible evidence of a group effort. In this context…”A Sticky Situation”
I had my first group collaboration with two talented designers. We worked to design an e-commerce platform for high quality groceries.
Scope of Project
ABC Company’s e-grocery platform needs to translate the store experience in some way. The basic e-commerce needs to be there, but the CEO is looking for one additional feature that will give them a competitive edge in the space.
ABC Company’s vision is to design a user experience that goes above and beyond the e-commerce marketplace models that Amazon and other competitors (like Walmart) are offering. They want to add value for their customers by finding a way to leverage their successful premium store model and replicate it into a differentiating digital experience.
(Disclaimer: the client’s brief was created by Ironhack Amsterdam to imitate a real-life experience. This article does not represent the company.)
As this is an MVP for a pilot test, the platform should focus on:
- The basic grocery-shopping main user flow and architecture
- One main distinguishing feature and its corresponding user flow
With the short time restraint on this project and the evolving nature of the eCommerce industry, we decided to use the Agile approach of development. This would help us refine and tweak our product as we progress.
Research and Finding
We started our research, after analyzing in depth the business with which we were dealing with and its new objectives. We identified users who were already Abc customers, those who were not, and users of online shops and even users who were still reluctant to this type of online purchasing platforms. Through this, we could put in value, focusing on Trust, Efficiency and Customer experience, the pillars for our client’s business.
We researched on a few competitors to see how they worked, and did a SWOT analysis. We highlighted the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of each one of them. It helped to ask questions like: What is working? What is not working? What features do they have that our users would expect? and what features are they missing?
User Survey & Interviews
We send out an online survey to collect quantitative data on user shopping behaviours, engagement with the brand and their awareness of the online store. We collected 20 responses from users aged between 17–30 years old. A summary of our key findings:
Shopping behaviour and engagement:
- 77% of shoppers, shopped online for convenience.
- 50% preferred to shop online because of the vast product ranges.
- 64% of their challenges shopping online was due to delayed delivery.
- 36% of shoppers buy everything online.
We ended up interviewing 4 people, some who already shop online, and others who don’t do it yet but they’re interested. The data we received from the interviews can be summarised as the following:
- 75% of shops in POPULAR for its convenient location
- 91% chose to shop online because of the affordability of their product price points
- 83% likes the wide-array of items online
- 67% prefers to head down to store to purchase groceries because they want to feel and touch the product they are purchasing
- 0% of the traditional shoppers used the online store to purchase their items
Discovering trends through Affinity Mapping
We synthesised our findings with affinity mapping to discover the trends from our user research.
The comments from our users are written on sticky notes and grouped together on a whiteboard.
This is the moment I realized, sticky notes strengthen team dynamics and represent an egalitarian, concise means for expressing ideas in UX design projects.
We sat down to synthesise all of this data. We decided to take 5 minutes to start getting keywords, quotes and ideas from all the information and did an affinity map. Without talking to each other we all started making groups out of the things we wrote down, and then gave names to these findings.
This helped define our problem statement and gave us an idea of what our users want and need.
In the Netherlands, most people find it difficult to be efficient with keeping up a healthy eating life and shopping for groceries. We know that they value time and health, and they are seeking for the balanced life when it comes to eating habits.
There is an opportunity to help people stay efficient and to save time by assisting them with their daily shopping habits, deliveries to their home and making recommendations based on their health goals and favorite products.
People with busy schedules need to have meal- and product recommendations based on their health goals, because of the lack of time to plan and shop.
With all this information in mind, we pictured our user persona.
Please meet Ama Mensah, who represents our target customer.
She is an independent woman, who is passionate about technology.
Ama loves to eat seasonal and fresh produce but often doesn’t have enough time to buy them due to her busy work schedule. She shops mostly on weekends and finds it tiresome to stop by a grocery store after work.
She normally goes through frustrations when looking for the product she needs online and her groceries are always late when delivered. On the days she goes to the supermarket, she gets into a long waiting queue before she pays.
So how could we help Ama?
To ideate a solution we used quick brainstorming methods like Worst Idea and we came up with the craziest ideas possible. In the end we had a lot of feature-ideas.
Collectively, I believe a team has more knowledge, experience, and insight than an individual. Ideation channels this and applies it to a particular product. Ideas are born organically from collaboration, rather than the top-down “this is what we’re doing, let’s just make it happen” approach.
With the Moscow method we prioritized them in groups for a “must have”, “should have”, “could have” and “won’t have”. We found a way to add value for our customers by offering a healthy recipe package. The recipe package will have all ingredients based on a customer’s diet, together in a box and ready for preparation. Also, we added a Virtual Shopping Assistant feature, to help recommend meals and products tailored to our user’s preferences.
This means they can still eat healthy, enjoy cooking and keep their fitness or diet goals.