Timeline: August 2017 - December 2017 (PSYCH 6023 Research Methods in HCI, Georgia Tech)
Team members: Sarah Brooks | David Lacy | Nikhila Nyapathy | Huaiwei Sun
Tools: Sketch | Justinmind | InVision
UX Research - Conducted in-store field observations, performed task analysis for an e-commerce platform, contributed to competitive analysis, conducted 2 semi-structured interviews and one retrospective interview, designed and deployed surveys, analyzed data using affinity diagramming, built personas, formed a list of user needs
UX Design - Devised design criteria from the user needs, participated in brainstorming and ideation, sketched ideas for the 'suggestions and availability app', contributed to design ideas for wireframe, moderated and took notes in sketches and wireframes feedback session
Evaluation - Conducted 1 cognitive walkthrough and applied subsequent results to improve wireframe, conducted 2 usability benchmarking tests
The prompt given to us was to choose a product and a corresponding brand and redesign the purchase experience for it. We chose gaming mice as our product and Logitech (which we pivoted away from for reasons explained below) as our brand. Gaming mice are different from regular mice in that they come equipped with features to extend the capabilities of the mouse to suit PC gamers, like programmable buttons, ergonomic grips to reduce fatigue, ten thousand DPI sensors for extreme precision, back-lit colors in the mechanics and more. Different types of games (MMO, RPG etc) require different types of mice. As evident - it is a complex sea to navigate, given the sheer variety which interested us in this space.
Disclaimer: All the research was conducted with a handful of participants and is not representative of the entire user group.
Phase 1 Divergent Research
Our first phase of research was focussed on understanding various avenues of purchasing gaming mice, what the common trends and problems were with them, how satisfied people were with their most recent mode of purchase, what they liked and didn't like, and what factors influenced their decision.
We used an affinity diagram for the interview data. Key takeaways included: “I want the best deal” “I care about touch & feel” and “Physical features are important”.
We generated infographics from the survey data to understand trends and patterns.
We drew up a comparison table to analyze our context exploration findings.
Key insights & context decision
We decided to focus on the in-store buying context due to the sheer number of pain points reflected through our research. The many deficiencies included not having many (if any) mice on display, no functional interactivity with the mice, lack of specs, inaccessibility for those in wheelchairs, limited selection and lack of convenience. The highest percentage of unsatisfied users were those who purchased a mouse in-store. We decided to focus on BestBuy instead of Target as Target did not seem to have the scope to have specialized gaming equipment. It was here where we pivoted away from Logitech being our brand focus - since the problems faced by the customers were brand agnostic.
Phase 2 Convergent Research
Our next step was to attempt to narrow down on our focus in the store context. For this, we wanted to find out what the pain points of those who were shopping in-store were, and compare them. At the same time, we had to consider the advantages of the in-store context to retain them in the final solution. We were interested in seeing if we could bring the convenience of online purchase to the in store experience. We needed to learn more about the users, their motivations and influencing factors.
We conducted quantitative analysis of the survey results to gauge which pain point was the most common. We also analyzed which attributes of the mouse were most important, as well as trends amongst different employment categories and budgets. Main issues found were lack of in-store selection, pricing issues, lack of touch & feel and lack of interaction.
We used an affinity diagram to analyze the results of the contextual inquiries and semi-structured interviews together due to the similarity in the data received. Key takeaways were that the participants found a lack of information in-store and issues in demonstration of the mice (not being able to truly test it out before buying).
We formed these based on the demographic information collected from the research - we found that most problems were common across all groups. We decided to develop two personas with mostly common problems but slightly differing priorities.
After brainstorming various ideas and refining them based on feasibility and relevance, we ended up with 4 ideas which we sketched out.
This was an in store kiosk which would scan mouse to see if there is a cheaper deal elsewhere and print a coupon to show in store for a price match guarantee.
Appointment system of immersive demo area
This was a system to book an appointment for an immersive demo experience in-store.
Interactive Question & Answer app
An app to post questions and get real time answers, watch live streams of their favorite streamers and receive weekly digest of gaming content.
Suggestions & Availability app
An app to give personalized gaming peripheral suggestions based on gaming styles and habits, asked in the form of a survey. It also shows the availability of different models in nearby stores.
Sketches feedback session
We used a between subjects design for the feedback session, with a randomized order of presentation of sketches to reduce bias. We collected information on what they liked, disliked and wanted in each design. We then analyzed the data using spreadsheet analysis.
Based on the given feedback, we decided to go with the appointment booking interface, integrated with the personalized mouse suggestions. We had to let go of the price matcher simply because it was part of the pre purchase process and was clunky along with the chosen interface. We decided to make this an add-on to the BestBuy website as users had indicated reluctance to download a new application.
We conducted a feedback session for the wireframe, where we tried to gauge the usability of our wireframe, and what the participants would change/retain. The data was analyzed using the SWOT technique, and we made annotations to denote things to change.
We incorporated the feedback shown above to develop our final design.
Note: We did not go ahead with our plan to adapt the system to an in-store walk-in appointment experience as it was a different system altogether and out of scope given our time.
After conducting the cognitive walkthrough, we iterated again over our prototype with the suggestions by the experts, before going into the usability benchmarking. The final design and prototype is shown here:
Feel free to check it out!
The average weighted SUS score measured was 88.5.
In Conclusion: Takeaways
It is not always possible to target 100% of the possible scenarios. We faced this difficulty while trying to integrate the price matcher into our system, and also when we tried to adapt our system to an in-store context. After a lot of back and forth, we realized it was outside our scope.
Accessibility is a huge factor, not only in designing our solution but also in designing the actual demo area. We had multiple discussions about maintaining the accessibility of the website.
Users do not always want to download new applications. This was one of the reasons we went for an add-on to an existing website rather than a separate system. People want smooth integration into already existing functional solutions.
Pivoting may seem daunting, but is sometimes necessary. We had to pivot away from having Logitech as our sole focus as the user problems were largely brand agnostic.