I designed a concept project (website) that provides users with a digital gift shopping experience that mimicked the authentic in-store experience.
Some might argue that receiving a gift is better than giving, but many enjoy the gift-giving process. Whether that be in the store or online, gift-givers are looking for ways to give gifts with the same quality and customization as in the store.
The MCA gift shop website is a place for customers to buy merchandise featured in the store. Their inventory varies vastly from fashion, books, to the artwork. The primary focus of this project was information architecture and creating an easy navigation system.
2 Week Sprint
Sole UX Designer
Competitors Focused on Gift Recommendations
I looked at a mixture of local and worldwide museum gift shops, and Amazon. It was clear that there was a strong focus on gift recommendations for various recipients. The museum's main focus point was the current exhibit. Custom gift options, such as card and gift wrapping, weren't featured on any of the competitors websites.
Getting to Know the Business
I had the opportunity to interview the MCA's Business Analyst who oversees the store and website. Below are a few key insights from our interview.
Increase revenue to support MCA Museum
Create buzz for current exhibit and merchandise
Prefer website to represent the museum's aesthetic/brand
Finding the Problem
MCA Store (Current Website)
Based on the heuristic analysis, I believed there were too many options on the home navigation. I decided to conduct a card sorting activity which confirmed the users were confused by the different categories, especially the gift section. They also placed items that might be a suggested gift into these categories as well.
Categories were overwhelming
Needed to be slimmed down
Unable to identify with category types
Who will use the product?
I had the opportunity to interview customers while they were in the store shopping. I did have assumptions that users preferred shopping online, but the interviews led me to a completely different conclusion. All of the customers I interviewed enjoyed shopping in the store. They appreciated having someone assist them with gift suggestions for particular people, gift wrapping options, and overall excellent customer service.
The Gift Giver
Values her judgment over others
Does not enjoy online shopping
Appreciates flexibility and honesty
Values human interaction and experiences
Evaluates her constraints first when making a decision on where she is going to shop
Recommendations are important
"I hate shopping, but when I do I will shop at small boutiques for gifts. I enjoy the special touch they put into the gift wrapping."
The users enjoy purchasing gifts in the store, but they also prefer buying online when time constraints occur. They need a way to ensure the gifts purchased are of good quality and insightful for the recipient.
How to Build Trust
Users found it difficult to trust online gift purchases because they weren't able to receive the same attention to detail and recommendations that they would during an in-store purchase. By incorporating a customized gift buying experience into the website, the user will feel confident and trustworthy of shopping online at the MCA store.
Creating the Ultimate Gift Experience
The user interviews made it very clear that MCA store customers were looking for an experience that was similar to the one they received in-store. How could MCA create the same experience as in-store? What about offering the same gift wrapping and recommendations that their staff provides in-store?
While interviewing at the MCA store, customers mentioned that they had often found themselves in a pickle and needed to order a gift online. This is where the lack of trust came in because they would have to ship the package to themselves to gift wrap and add a card.
At MCA store, the staff offers to gift wrap every purchase and they sell various greeting cards. To create that memorable experience gift options including gift wrap and different cards based on the occasion. The customer would also have endless gift categories to choose from, which imitates the in-store recommendations of the staff, allowing the customer to find trust in the online shopping experience.
This approach offered insight on how the user’s navigated through the gift purchasing process and signing up for the newsletter. There was some confusion initially on what was considered a budget friendly gift. One user even mentioned that they would think that a budget friendly gift would be below $20. Based on the results from the usability test, I was able to revisit the check out process and adjust based on the users needs.
Purchase a budget friendly gift.
Send a gift to your friend.
Find a way to get information sent to you on a regular basis.
Users were confused about the store/museum, they didn’t know what the button did. They also clicked MCA to go back to landing page instead of the store. I updated it to the simple MCA store logo, so there would be less confusion. This button will lead them back to the landing page from any page.
Users were confused that there were 2 continue buttons which made them believe the buttons had different actions. I moved the contact information with the shipping, because it should be the person who needs to be contacted during shipping. I also eliminated 2 continue buttons, since it was the same action.
The majority of the time spent on this project was in the research phase, leaving less time for ideation during the design process. It was interesting trying to find the balance of what the business wants and the customer needs to be happy. If I had more time, I would have continued usability testing on the high definition mock ups.
What I Found Enjoyment in...
I found this project enjoyable because I was able to dig into the information architecture of the MCA website. I am a minimalist at heart, which made it easy for me to enjoy organizing and structuring the website in a manner that aligned to the user's needs. I also enjoyed revisiting this project and updating the branding and creating high-fidelity wireframes. When you go to MCA it has this minimal modern vibe, and I feel that I effectively captured this in the redesigned website.