E-commerce Web Design
Pencil and paper, Google Forms, Axure
User Interviews, Competitive Analysis, Wireframing, Sketching, Personas, User Scenarios, Usability Testing, Sitemapping
I chose to design the e-commerce experience for Cheapo Records to create an intuitive and efficient way for customers to find their favorite used records. The new Cheapo Records site should help the business keep track of inventory and provide accurate recommendations of similar albums to the target audiences while providing large and detailed photographs of the albums.
To gather insight from from representative users who purchase vinyl records as well as conduct competitive analysis on the common pain points of purchasing used records online.
Wearer of all the hats
I did it all. I interviewed the manager of the Cheapo Records to gather insight into their goals as a business and the make-up of their clientele. I recruited vinyl record collectors, music purchasers, and friends for interviews and card sorting exercises. I posted surveys on vinyl collector message boards to gather representative and qualified data. I thoroughly analyzed the user research to ensure I was focused on the user needs. I crafted a primary user persona to guide me on the journey. I documented the main user needs through competitive analysis and affinity mapping, then began sketching.
This led me to define my problem statement and hypothesis, create user scenarios and tasks, design wireframes in Axure, conduct usability testing, set up the site's information architecture, all the while iterating based on constant gut-checks with my user persona.
Research & Discovery
Vinyl collectors love their record stores
Equal numbers of customers shop at the record store as they do online, and if their favorite record store had an online shopping option, just about 90% of them would still shop in-store.
Sizing Up the Competition
I analyzed two record stores within the same general commercial space as Cheapo Records—Newbury Comics and Amoeba Records—as well as Reverb LP, a new player in the online used record business. All had the same general idea behind their sitemaps, but Reverb LP was lightyears ahead of the game as far as visual aesthetic and clarity of product. I used their site as a template to inform my initial sketch work.
Problem Statement & Hypothesis
A few simple fixes
Based on the data I gathered during research, I was able to boil my research down to the following problem statement and hypothesis.
Sketching & Wireframing
Steal like an artist
My initial sketches were primarily based on LP Reverb's parent website Reverb.com, which is the eBay of musical equipment sales, and my paper prototype usability testing validated its functionality, so my sketching and wireframing went smoothly.
Lo-fi like boards of canada
Finally, my lo-fi wireframes came together in Axure. It was time to test these beautiful pages of boxes with Xs in them.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy (sort of)
Usability testing on the clickable prototype revealed that my design was generally understandable and easy-to-use, but was in need of a few minor adjustments.
Based on user insights, I revisited the navigation and switched the order of Artists, Genres, and Records categories. I also adjusted the layout of a few items, such as a “Continue Shopping” button that was placed on the top righthand side of the cart page. Multiple users clicked through that button despite the fact that they were in the middle of purchasing an item. Not a good idea to take the focus away from a purchase.
All right, all right, all right!
I received glowing feedback about my process and presentation, especially when it came to my ability to craft a story around my persona and her needs, as well as my overall clarity and confidence presenting my work.
V2, the promised land
It's tough to get to everything you want in a two week project. Here's a list of next steps that I'd love to add to the Cheapo Records online shopping experience.
- Incorporate a zoom feature on all product images
- Build out paginated genre and artist lists
- Create an option for users to sell their own records