When it comes to offering detailed expertise online, snowboarding is an up-and-coming online shopping topic that has traditionally been an in-person only experience. But how does a small-town pro-shop keep up with increasing demand from consumers that frequently purchase any and all products online? How do they become competitive in an already competitive field while still maintaining their strong customer service practices?
SIDENOTE: World Boards is a real pro shop located in Bozeman, Montana. This project was not requested by them nor did they pay me to complete it.
A stunning, easy to use e-commerce site that is tailored specifically to World Board's current and future customers. To help keep users within their site while still showcasing their expertise, the site offers curated selections, intuitive filtering and sort features, detailed product descriptions and specifications. The site also offers personalized staff picks and recommendations to help users make informed decisions without having to enter the shop itself.
Tools Used: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch, InVision
Role: UX Design + Research. Logo Creation + Branding
With the emergence of online e-commerce store becoming more readily available for local businesses and national chains alike, World Board’s current online shop is not up to industry standards. Due to the large presence of ski and snowboard gear for purchase online, my main goals were to identify:
1. Why would a consumer purchase technical equipment like snowboards online vs. in store
2. Research top industry leaders and how their e-commerce stores have increased their business and what specialty information they offer.
3. What users look for when filtering and sort through a large quantity of product.
4. How do beginner and advanced level snowboarders differ when shopping for gear online.
METHODS + PROCESS:
• Competitive Analysis
• Market Research
• 1-on-1 Interviews
• User Personas
Throughout my research, several common themes became apparent. Consumers, no matter their skill level or expertise, want a tailored experience for their personal needs without having to put in too much effort. This meant that creating a quiz that would offer them a personalized list of goods would maybe not be the best direction, but to offer them incredibly detailed and organized search filters and sorting features to help them find their perfect match.
I came to the conclusion that the new World Boards website should have:
• Clean design with a simple color palette to not takeaway from the design of the goods
• Intuitive and easy-to-use filtering and sorting features to help narrow and organize a list of gear
• Human focus design without too many illustrations to keep focus on the products and the sport
• Incredibly simple checkout process complete with an account login process
• Detailed and descriptive product information pages that organize information with effort and thought
Due to the nature of this project and that World Boards currently has an outdated site, I took their current site map and created used that as my foundation for an updated design. Based on my research, I decided to not add sections for "men" and "women" specific sections, but rather added gender as a filtering option when sorting through products. This gives the site a very fresh feel that is incredibly accessible for anyone and everyone.
With the user flow, I wanted to give a user the easiest and most simple path to finding and purchasing a snowboard. I wanted to offer all of the information they would need to complete a purchase without having them dig around the site for answers.
After extensive research, I created a 6 page lo-fi wireframe design to help with grid layout and design concepts. Based on what I learned through my 1-on-1 interviews, consumers like the option to sort through curated or featured product sections, but they also want to the option to dig through the site on their own time. I created a grid layout on the home page, complete with a carousel header for featured products and 10 boxes for featuring curated lists by the pro shop staff.
In addition, each page relies heavily on information hierarchy from bolded fonts and detailed sections with featured information for high usability.
While initially, I wanted to stick with World Board's original branding, I decided that in order to really sell this design and look, I wanted to also create a new logo and brand to go along with it. To maintain a retro feel, I chose an embellished font for the logo itself and a class serif typeface (Rockwell) for the main headers. World Boards is very much a 90s born store that maintains it nostalgia value at any cost and to update the brand too much would have taken away from its heart and soul.
Design Assets include:
• Color Palette
• UI Kit including buttons, icons, nav menus, and other interactive elements
Using InVision, I constructed a complete user journey with tasks for usability testing to completed. These tasks included:
1. Find the entire list of snowboards the site offers
2. Filter the list by "All Mountain" Boards and by a length of 156cm.
3. Sort the filtered list by "Price Low to High"
4. Add the "Lib Tech Terrain Wrecker 2020" to their cart
5. Purchase the board
After conducting usability testing with 4 individuals, ages 18 to 68, some interesting similarities and differences were discovered between the users:
• All 4 individuals stated aloud they felt the site was “user friendly”.
• All 4 individuals stated they felt the design of the site was very clean and it was easy to find exactly what they were looking for/asked to do.
• 2 out of the 4 individuals were confused by the 3rd prompt to sort the selection and attempted to filter by price rather than sort the selection. However, they both stated they use the “sort by” feature on other sites but they never refer to it as “sort by”.
• All 4 individuals felt the checkout process was simple and offered enough information without becoming too crazy.
• 1 individual mentioned they would really like to see the shipping options, especially when buying such an expensive product. They also stated that if they were to buy something this expensive and still have to pay for shipping, they would buy from another site.
• 1 individual wanted the menu items to dropdown when you hover them in the top nav menu3 of the participants really like the specific product page information and felt it was succinct to make a choice on what to buy.
• 1 of the participants would like a “compare” feature for comparing different products
E-commerce sites, while many exist, few actually listen to their users enough to give them a site that feels genuine. To capture the heart of the pro shop and its staff digitally was a massive challenge. However, once I realized that offering their expertise in an organized and meaningful way, any consumer at any ability level, could purchase snowboarding gear online quickly.
For iterations, I would like to add a compare feature to help users see the difference between their potential purchases in real-time.