Steve Molter: UX Designer
home-depot.jpeg

The Home Depot

 
Home Depot Hero.jpg

THE HOME DEPOT
DIY Project App Feature

 

Summary

TYPE:
Team project,
group (4 total)

TOOLS:
MarvelPOP, Sketch,
InVision, Google Forms

MY ROLE:
Project Manager, Researcher,
Presentation

DURATION:
2 weeks

 

THE GOAL

Create a feature for The Home Depot's existing mobile app that can help its customers brainstorm, plan, track, document DIY projects; access all available tools and materials; and be used cross-platform.

THE APPROACH

Our initial idea was to split up our process into individual tasks, and use daily check-ins for progress updates. We each focused on areas in which we excelled while offering constant support to each other. 

 

My Role

A whole lot of everything

But mainly project manager. I began by offering overarching guidance in planning and coordination and consistently made sure we stayed on target with our progress while providing needed guidance when questions arose.

I also interviewed users, created and posted questionnaires on DIY message boards, crafted personas, researched competitors, sketched, conducted usability testing, and designed the final presentation of our work.

  Gotta love serious faces and a feature prioritization map. (That's me in the middle with teammates Russ Greene and Billy Valvo.)

Gotta love serious faces and a feature prioritization map. (That's me in the middle with teammates Russ Greene and Billy Valvo.)

 

Research & Discovery

Reddit loves surveys

We received 138 responses from our friends at the DIY and Home Improvement SubReddits, and conducted 5 in-depth representative user interviews which gave us quite a lot of data. So much that we had to hold three rounds of affinity mapping to hone in on our users' major pain points.

  Affinity Map Phase 1 (above), Phase 2 (top right),   Affinity Map Phase 3 (bottom right)

Affinity Map Phase 1 (above), Phase 2 (top right), Affinity Map Phase 3 (bottom right)

not prepared affinity map.JPG
  Affinity Map Phase 3
 

Sizing up the competition

The hierarchy of the The Home Depot's app was a bit confusing. One of my teammates summed up the experience by saying, "Where the f&%$ do I even start shopping?"

When reviewing the competition, only Ace Hardware had a usable DIY feature, but it was slim. There was plenty of room for my team to improve upon the heavy hitters' DIY mobile features.

  Competitive Analysis Screens (The Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, True Value)

Competitive Analysis Screens (The Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, True Value)

 

Problem Statement & Hypothesis

To plan or not to plan

Our users did not like planning. One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we received was that DIYers were frustrated due to lack of planning on their part. A tough fix unless you happened to be designing an app specifically for this purpose. Thankfully, that's exactly what we were doing.

 
 
Andy needs a way to keep his DIY drying rack project on track because he gets frustrated when he experiences difficulties due to lack of planning.
— Problem Statement
 
 
By designing interactive DIY projects in-house, Home Depot can guarantee the quality and availability of the necessary materials, tools, and instructions for those projects.
— Problem Hypothesis
 
 

Sketching & Wireframing

Building the drying rack, er, app

The team went through many, many design iterations on paper and had spirited discussions about what exactly would benefit our users.

To solve our users' planning pain point, I came up with the idea for a step-by-step walkthrough for the main project page. The idea is that users can see all the steps of the project laid out in front them, and can access any step in the process by simply scrolling and tapping to reveal the desired step. This would give users a clear understanding of the entire process while not overwhelming them with an entire page of instructions all at once.

I got together with my team to sketch out a handful of screens for our desired user flow which we later created in Sketch and tested on MarvelPOP. 

  A series of iterations for our Drying Rack product page. 

A series of iterations for our Drying Rack product page. 

 

Usability Testing & Iteration

Birth of the Scratchpad

Through extensive usability testing of our paper prototype, we determined that our design needed a lot of tweaks to get to an easy-to-follow user flow. A few initial button placements and certain flows were unintuitive, so we made major changes to the flow to create fewer screens and focus on heuristically-based interactions instead of trying to get cute.

During a team design studio, we confirmed our user research that stated a scratchpad/note-taking feature would be a great addition for our users. It would act as a free-form space where the user could add notes, sketches, images, and inspirations for later review. (I've included a gif of it just below.)

  Usability testing with a real person but a fake Andy.

Usability testing with a real person but a fake Andy.

 

Outcome

Nailed it!

We were able to keep on track to make sure we had plenty of time to create the presentation of our work. I used a wireframe outline that Russ created to build out the slides, after which I wrote a rough outline of the script, and filled in the blanks with the research and documentation my team and I conducted throughout the project. 

The presentation of our work and product demo went off without a hitch, and we received very positive feedback on our process, documentation, presentation, and the final product demo which you can peruse below.

 
 
  (l to r) Billy Valvo, me, Amanda Reiter, and a sleeping Russ Greene.

(l to r) Billy Valvo, me, Amanda Reiter, and a sleeping Russ Greene.

 

Next Steps

If only we had more time

We did quite a lot in the two-week timeframe, but of course had to reprioritize some features to Version 2 that will take our DIY experience to the next level.

  1. "Accountabilibuddy" feature that lets users share and collaborate on projects within the app to keep themselves accountable and on pace
  2. A calendar feature that shows the weather (a pain point for our users who work outside) and pushes task reminders
  3. The ability for our users to track their budget as they purchase tools and materials
  4. Tinder-like swiping for choosing tools and materials (a nice/funny-to-have, but absolutely unnecessary addition)