Overview
As part of my “User Experience Design”course curriculum at General Assembly, we were given a final team project to work with a client. "As Above” is a U.S based 3D Jewellery brand that specialises in creating custom made birth chart necklaces based on your astrological chart. 
Duration
3 Weeks
Team
Ruchika, Jahaan, Chun, Joceyln
My Role
As a UX Researcher and Designer, I collaborated with a team on doing user research, usability testing, competitive analysis, heuristic analysis, designing high fidelity designs, and prototyping. ​​​​​​​
Finding the problem
The brief of the project presented an existing user experience problem with the “Gift Envelope” service offered by “As Above”.

When a user purchases a birth chart necklace for a friend, they can opt for the “Gift Envelope” on the product page. By selecting this service, they can immediately send a premium printed birth chart to their friend/loved one as the final product takes 5 weeks to arrive. As Above is using this feature to overcome the objection to buy because of long shipping time. 

But, users aren't sure what the "Gift Envelope" is and why it is mailed before the actual product and what they will eventually receive. Our project brief was to communicate this information with a good user interface and experience design.  
Proposed Solution
Our proposed solution was carried out in two stages/two prototypes. 

Prototype 1 
Through our first usability test data and competitive analysis results, we identified that “As Above '' could use more emotional design aspects to create a story around the product so users can holistically understand the brand and its purpose.
We also tried changing the terminology of "Gift Envelope" to "Teaser" and elaborated on the process with icons on the homepage in order to build anticipation and convey the message but it wasn't received well. 

Prototype 2 
To further remove the confusion around the “Gift Envelope” service, we changed the terminology to "Early Gift Chart" and created a new user flow with a new page that specifically offers the gifting feature on the website.
DESIGN PROCESS
Discover, Define
Google Analytics
Heuristics Evaluation
Competitive Analysis
Usability Test
Card Sorting


Ideate, Deliver
Prototype 1
Prototype 2
Client presentation
First thing first, we had to Unlearn  
Usability Test
We began our design thinking process by conducting a usability test on the existing website to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the interface and test the assumption provided in the brief with the "Gift Envelope" feature. 
Method
A moderated test with six participants both male and female, who were Gift Givers with or without any interest in Astrology were selected. Considering that the product offered is astrologically inclined, we wanted to ensure that we also understand the common behavioural pain points and concerns for users who weren't coming to the site warm. 

Tasks
We asked our participants to complete he following tasks:
Task1 - Buy the product for yourself  (Usability Task)
Task 2 - Buy the product for your best friend (Usability task to test the gift feature)
Task 3 - Find out about the return/refund policy (An important Usability task for any e-commerce platform)

Follow up questions - We also asked our users to share their impression of the homepage, understanding about the product, customisation and shipping details. 
Unveiling the opportunities
Key insights from our usability test gave us a direction to work on and proved the assumption given by the client to stand correct.

1. Users couldn't clearly understand the product because of inconsistencies in the content and ambiguous brand language
2. Users considered "Gift Envelope" as a wrapping service as the website doesn't explain that its an additional feature
3. Users were unsure of what information they had to input for the customisation of the necklace as the terms - "What", "Where", "When" weren't specific enough.


After analysing the results, it was clear for us that we needed to change the tone of the brand on the homepage and make it more consistent. Users were also confused about what they were buying into, so we had to bring in the principles of transparency, desirability and personalisation
We also conducted a competitive analysis in the custom made jewellery industry such as Space Time Coordinates, Encode Ring, Talia Sari to see how they are positioning their products and what was missing for As Above. ​​​​​​​
Many aspects of emotional design had to come in play. 
We worked on implementing our solutions and features in two stages, find below the iterations. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
DESIGN SOLUTION
Users don't understand what the product is based on the homepage
Existing
Prototype 1 & 2
By creating a consistency with the product term used on the homepage to be 'necklace' instead of jewelry or object, we increased the understanding of the product from 50% of participants in the first usability test to 100% of participants in second and third round of usability test.  
Users were confused with the "make" page terminology
Existing
Prototype 1 & 2
By specifying the input terminologies and adding a personal tone to what is required from the user to create the necklace we reduced the confusion and improved the understanding from 16% of participants in first usability test to 100% participants in second and third round of usability test.  
Users considered "Gift Envelope" as a wrapping service 
Existing
Prototype 1
Design Updates
Prototype 2
We changed the "Gift Envelope" term to "Teaser" in the first prototype and improved the overall understanding from 16% participants in the first usability test to 60% in the second usability test but because it wasn't satisfactory we then changed it to "Early Gift Chart" and increased the number to 100% participants in the third usability test. Users were aware that gift chart meant a printed chart. 
Users are not certain what their giftees will experience
Prototype 1
Prototype 2
In the existing website there is no user flow for communicating the information about the "gift envelope feature" or what the user is buying into. We displayed the gifting flow on the homepage for our first prototype and created a new page dedicated specifically for when a user wants to buy the product for a friend in the second prototype. 
Users are unable to find the relevant information about returns or refunds easily
Existing
Prototype 1 & 2
By simplifying the information and providing the "Help" section in menu and footer in an easy to read and intuitive manner, we improved the ease of finding information for the users about returns and refunds from 66.6% of participants in the first usability test to 100% participants in the second and third usability test.  
You are not your user
Key Behavioural Discoveries
Despite having a clear understanding of the gift chart and its intended use, after testing our final prototype. We found some key discoveries in the shopping behaviours that go against the "Gift Envelope" service provided by "As Above". 

In our final presentation to the client, we indicated these insights supported by our user interviews and usability test data. 

1. Users indicated that they would rather purchase a different gift than use the gift chart option
When purchasing gifts, having the final gift arrive on time is an absolute necessity for gift givers. If it cannot be achieved, they will look elsewhere.

2. Users needed more customisation options to personalise the gift
It was discovered that adding personalisation was very important to users. Users would even go to the extent of having gifts mailed to themselves so they could attach a handwritten card before sending the package to their giftee. Users are even willing to pay more if they can add personal notes, messages, choose a wrapping paper etc. 

3. Users are not willing to negotiate on the element of surprise when gifting 
Users placed great importance on maintaining the element of surprise when it came to online gifting. This would usually be accomplished by mailing the item to themselves first and then sending it to the giftee. Or by indicating on supported sites that they did not wish for the recipient to be informed
going forward
we proposed a Pre-payment  Gift Giving Feature

We recommended to create a new gift giving feature with a pre payment method. A user can select an amount on the site, considering the material of the product and buy the gift card. The card can then be sent to a friend/loved one to access and use. They can input their birth details and buy the product for themselves. This allows a user to gift an experience without worrying about retrieving information (birth date, details) to buy a the unique product for their loved one. ​​​​​​​

Lessons as a UX designer/researcher
This project taught me the importance of amalgamating brand strategy and marketing with user experience design. The content and terminologies used on an app/website needs to speak to the users. Sometimes, you might want to offer a solution to a problem you think your users may have but a deep dive in the user research can help enlighten you with a new perspective. ​​​​​​​
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