This project was a five-day modified GV design sprint structured in partnership between Springboard and Bitesize UX.
House2Home is an e-commerce platform that sells decorative and affordable items for homes and apartments (with prices ranging from $10-$50). They’ve discovered that many of their customers are people who have recently moved into a new home or apartment, but aren’t confident decorating their places on their own.
Create “starter kits” for customers who have just moved into a new home or apartment and need help decorating within a budget.
Customize an affordable decoration bundle for the user based on his/her/their personal tastes.
•The user requires multiple types of products.
•Most House2Home products are $10-$50 (no furniture, appliances, or other large pieces).
UX/UI Designer and Researcher
Based on the challenge brief provided by Bitesize UX, I created a user persona to contextualize the kind of customer I'd be designing for.
Day 1- Map
Based on what I knew about the problem space, I brainstormed a few end-to-end user experience maps that would factor in budget, personal taste, and some form of visual to give the users a better understanding of how the items might look in their rooms (this last factor was included in the bottom two maps).
Ultimately, I decided to go with the last map in which the camera function of the phone is utilized. This would give users the most real sense of how their decor would appear in their spaces.
Day 2- Sketch
To gather inspiration and start formulating some ideas for my solution, I spent some time checking out competitors’ products.
Havenly allows you to find your style, the room(s) you’re looking to decorate, and proceed based on how familiar you are with interior design. This onboarding process is very simple and straightforward and eventually leads to a step where the user is compelled to sign up.
IKEA uses a camera to allow users to view the particular decorative piece they’re considering in the actual space they’d like to place it. This helps users feel more confident about their decision to purchase the accessory. There are also collections, categories, and personalized recommendations to browse through.
Pinterest already customizes interior design choices based on the user’s previous search history and pinned items. This makes it easier for users because it increase the likelihood that they will find items that resonate with them.
Wayfair allows the user to browse through various decoration categories and subcategories (e.g. under art, there’s “by subject” “by type” “by room” “wall art sale”). There’s also the option to like various items and come back to them as well as predetermined room ideas to look through.
Bumble allows users to swipe and be matched. A decoration app could use a similar approach by allowing users to personalize their profiles, grant suggestions to swipe through based on stated preferences, and then save various matches based on which items were right-swiped.
Crazy 8s Exercise
My next task was to sketch out eight distinct ideas in eight minutes.
I decided that the most critical screen is when the app offers options for decor. Initially, I considered the screen where the user drags and drops the items onto a photo of her room. However, I concluded that the most critical part of the app is when the items are filtered through in some form and selections are customized to the user since her struggle ultimately lies in a lack of confidence in making decor choices.
Day 3- Decide
Elaborating further on my solution, I built an eleven-panel storyboard around the critical screens (this would serve as a sort of low fidelity wireframe structure).
The user struggles to find items that are both within her budget and suitable to her living spaces. This is why she would use a camera function to take a picture of her room and an AI function would indicate to her whether the photo could use readjustment—this would ensure that when the user selects items, they will look as accurate as possible within her setting.
She would then offer her budget on a sliding scale and choose her favorite rooms from several stock photos so that the app can customize items for her based on her tastes. The user would then be able to favorite her top items—shown to her by category (e.g. “wall decor” “art” etc)—before proceeding to “drag and drop” the various favorited items onto her room photo.
The app would let her know how far off budget she’s gone and provide “delete” icons to adjust accordingly. The final step would be to finalize the purchase.
Day 4- Prototype
Using my storyboard as a reference, I began designing a prototype of my screens on Marvel.
In creating my first prototype, I realized I could reduce my number of screens down even further from what I had initially sketched out. I removed the photo adjustment screen, “the decorative pillow” screen, and the “your cart” screen. None of these three were absolutely essential to testing out the solution I was going for.
My goals for testing were to answer the following questions:
•Do users resonate with the customized items function?
•Does the “drag and drop” seem to help users decide what looks good in their space?
•Is the placement of the budget warning appropriate?
I hoped to learn more about whether the user felt that the solution offered was smooth and helpful. I also wanted to know whether requiring a photo of the user’s room would deter her from wanting to continue with the service or if the idea would be well-received. I was also curious to know whether a user might be likely to continue with her purchase even if it went slightly over budget.
Day 5- Test
I conducted five rounds of usability testing on recruited participants. Five out of four of the participants were young adults with ages ranging from 18-29 who had financial situations that required them to budget. I took note of some of the reoccurring pain points that I observed throughout the prototyping sessions and placed them in a color-coded table based on whether they seemed to be major or minor concerns.
Adjusting My Designs
Using what I had learned from my testing sessions, I adjusted my designs accordingly.