• Introduction

    As a part of my UX Design education with General Assembly, designers were presented with the challenge to create an eCommerce website solution for a speculative business. I chose to focus on creating a website for a party supply store with the added layer of applying this challenge to the global COVID-19 pandemic demands.

    This project was a 2-week design sprint, and in that time I was able to conduct user research, business analysis, research synthesis, card sorting, site mapping, greyscale wireframing and present a mid-fidelity prototype.

    Goals

    The Party Palace is an upbeat, local party supply store in the Chicagoland area. It is owned by a husband and wife team that started in 1995, and they’ve been a staple in the city for all your party & costume needs.

     

    With the Covid-19 pandemic, they are looking to build a stronger online presence to keep their community safe & entertained at home.

    Challenge

    With this project being about a speculative business, there was the initial challenge of essentially building a business identity from scratch.

    Beyond that, there was the added challenge of figuring out designs that would allow for safe customer pick up or delivery options upon check-out.

     

    Success Criteria

    For this project to be successful, I wanted to create a MVP for successful user testing.

    The user testing insights showcased that:

    1. There is interest in this business and what they have to offer
    2. Further testing on a high-fidelity prototype is needed
  • Interviews

    In order to help me understand and discover exactly what customers would want to see in a new eCommerce website, I interviewed clientele who particularly enjoy planning parties and events.

    "I prefer to have things shipped to my house, but ethically don't want to support giant corporations that don't have their worker's best interests in mind."

    "I've been friend's with the owners for a long time, and I try to support their business however I can."

    "I get frustrated when I can't find what I need in a store, so being able to shop online with easy search capabilities is a huge plus."

  • Comparative Analysis

    I looked at the top party supply eCommerce sites and some related online stores to identify some commonalities for the following:
    • User Account Options
    • Categorizations
    • Help & Documentation
    • Consistency & Standards
    • Control & Freedom for Users
    • Types of Navigation
    • Featured Popular Items

  • Insight #1

    The Party Palace's main opportunity is to provide their customers with easy product search capabilities with the added safety and convenience of item pickup or shipping.

    This is especially important during Covid-19 so they can keep their customers satisfied and entertained while they shelter in place.

    Insight #2

    Clear information architecture will be key for an easeful product search experience.

    Insight #3

    While customers want to be able to support their favorite local businesses, they will still compare prices with competitors.

    The Party Palace has the opportunity to provide something that big businesses cannot - community connection & support.

  • Synthesizing

    Taking a look at what their target audience's needs are will be important for designing the functionality and intuitiveness of the site. I looked for a range of ages and backgrounds within the potential user base.

  • User Personas

    I identified two main types of people who would have the largest impact from being able to use The Party Palace's eCommerce site.

  • User Journey

    In this example, I show how our personas might move through their experience in ordering items - both in a pre-Covid world, and a post-Covid world.

  • Design Ideation

    Brainstorming through rough sketches to greyscale wireframing, and some mid-fidelity wireframes

    Sketches

    Greyscale Wireframes

    Mid-Fidelity Wireframes

    I combined all of the design elements into one clickable prototype - you can test it below!

  • Conclusion

    Creating an eCommerce option for a local business during Covid-19 would help them connect with their customer base with the goal of increasing revenue. By establishing seamless user flows, easeful searchability, and the agency for customers to choose curbside pickup or delivery would help put this small local business toe to toe with its big corporate competitors

  • Next Steps

    The next steps for me would be to go back and conduct more user interviews and more in-depth prototype testing to explore the item search & checkout processes more.