Hi, I’m Lauren.
Hi, I’m Lauren.
User Experience Research + Design, 2014
Maps.com wanted a new e-commerce website and backend system to replace their aging solution. I researched and designed customer personas and user flows, constructed the information architecture, established a more automated and intuitive customer service and fulfillment process, and built/trained them on the Magento Enterprise platform. I worked with the marketing and development teams to strategize, structure, and execute designs and interactions to maintain a new Maps.com brand and adhere to their evolving business objectives.
The goal of this project was to reorganize the website’s front/backend to reflect a cleaner, navigable, and more user-centered design to free up the overextended eCommerce team while simultaneously increasing conversions.
A user’s goals never end at “buy X product”.
Their true goals are higher, more emotionally laden concepts to which goods or services help them get closer. They are things like “feel better about my body” or “make my child happy” or “remind my wife how much I love her”. Good user experience should make them feel they are on their way to achieving that.
Walking around the room, I was getting the impression that people were getting frustrated (as the user). At this point, we discussed the balance of frustration/anxiety vs relief/good feelings, and how they relate to continuing down a path that includes the services we provide as their solution or leaving for a better alternative. They were thus instructed to mark on the journey map the moment they naturally felt they would leave the site to find a solution elsewhere, and to mark on a scale of 1-10 where they were emotionally previous to that decision. Once they marked that hop-off point, they were prompted imagine a “perfect environment” that would help them get to where they needed to go, and to continue recording based on these ideas.
Every one of them left the site at some point. Nobody achieved their goals with our current solution.
Much of the frustration was in result of:
Simply knowing these problems gave us excellent direction in prioritizing our energies in developing the new site, and help alert everyone of the specific frustrations our users have been dealing with over the years.
I recognized many unnecessary roadblocks and manual touch points that could easily be solved by a more powerful backend system. As we designed the website, I worked with IT, management and marketing to identify a cleaner solution. This largely involved system automation/communication, intuitive product tracking and email touches to help keep customers up to date with the progress of their order.
An additional issue was our return rate and calls to customer service. People were returning items simply because it was the “wrong size” for the wall. A disconnect that needed tending to was that we aren’t another Amazon, but rather a map house that prints and ships on site. We decided to make the order tracking process more ‘human’ in language, and align our brand to the romantic concept of a cartography studio. This, we hypothesize, will warn them indirectly that the process is expensive and time consuming, thus quelling their impatience.
We identified that people were calling customer service because:
Simply knowing these problems gave us excellent direction in prioritizing our energies in developing the new site, and help alert everyone of the specific frustrations our users have been dealing with over the years. In this case, we agreed that a more robust, and again, more human notification system after the point of purchase meant less calls, more repeat orders, and happier customers.
I created four separate card sorts via OptimalSort. Each sort included a bisected sample of 75% products, styles, and product identifiers they would most likely purchase/search for and 25% mixed bag from a group of vastly differing products & terms than what they would want/use. Each test took approximately 5-7 minutes.
I then went to where the fish were biting – some in Starbucks, others on the street, and even more around stores where I knew they would be shopping.
The greatest lessons learned from the product category exercises were determining what qualifies as a category, what elements are filters, and what are sort.
Each category page is bound to be at least one click (a page refresh, or a sense of starting at the mouth of the tunnel). Attributes, then should be easy to select and deselect, never giving the user a sense that they are going much deeper into the tunnel, just deleting potential paths. Once they have filtered based on attribute, they may sort to get a finer-tuned list.
I designed the left navigation with selector elements for quick filtering, and made sure to only include the location search widget for categories whose products were most likely first filtered by location.
The most important lesson I learned from this part of the project was that the interactive wireframes looked too “done”, and the developers initially developed everything to the pixel. I had to then explain that this was in accordance to our current CSS, and made sure to point to each element and connect the code for them via Snagit.
It is becoming widely known that the bigger your product images, the better converting your pages are going to be. Particularly with art, people want to see detail.
The more you help them visualize how the product will fit into their life, the better. With this concept in mind, I hand selected a series of editorial backgrounds to superimpose the map images on top of. Again, these were selected according to persona.
As we have thousands of skews, I worked with our devs to create a quick script to make it all possible pre-migration.