Aros is an emerging fashion brand specialised in producing high-end bags and accessories. Over the past few years the company produced a series of bespoke limited collections, mostly for stylists and fashion influencers, and were used in various fashion shows. Aros founder Kauri Kong used her blog as a platform to showcase her latest designs. Simple and visually attractive design portfolio template was a convenient way to present her works. Now, when Aros first full collection is ready, the company needs to launch a professional online store to attract more business.
User-friendly online store which will be the main selling platform for Aros products. At the same time the website needs to be visually attractive when presenting all Kauri's works.
How to combine functionality of a user-friendly online shop with a minimalistic look and feel of the brand?
Research, user interviews, competitor analysis, creating personas and users journeys maps, idealisation, wireframing, usability tests, UI design, prototyping
To understand more about the audience this online shop is targeting – i.e. the group of people I'm designing for – and their preferred shopping experience, I conducted interviews with potential customers. I asked twelve Aros potential customers about their online shopping habits and behaviours, thinking journeys and preferences. To allow participants to better reflect their thoughts and opinions, I made sure to ask open-ended questions.
Based on the insights I gathered from the interviews, I created three personas and their journey maps for different hypothetical scenarios.
- Some customers will be looking only for products on sale
- Customers might be suspicious towards small, unheard brands
- Easy access to "sales" section
- Clear information about return policy, tracking order option, easy contact form
- Some people, for many reasons, are looking for a product, but they might only purchase it in the future
- Some customers want to know about sustainability of the product
- Well presented "sign up for the Newsletter" section
- Information about materials, environmental- friendly policy of the brand
- How to assure a potential customer, who just discovered Aros, that all transactions are secured and transparent?
- Buying clothes and accessories online can be tricky in terms of choosing the right size.
- Secure and trusted payment methods (Cards, PayPal, Venmo, etc)
- Good quality and detailed product pictures. Product pictures on models. Detailed size guide.
Before I started looking for design solutions, I conducted a competitor analysis. I compared our potential features and functionalities with four direct and four indirect competitors. That step not only helped me familiarize myself with solutions adopted by competitors, but also highlighted areas where we could potentially outperform them.
From the beginning we knew that we want to include in Aros website features and sections like "newsletter", "customer service", "brand history" and information about company's environmental -friendly character. The rest of the sections and features listed above we considered as optional. Competitor analysis brought us too few conclusions:
- All recognised brands have FAQ section, but it's quite rare among the emerging and smaller brands
- We can outperform our direct competitors by including sections like "wishlist", "comments"
With the insights gathered from the research phase, we named the key features of Aros website and added some structure to it. I also drew a site map and users flow.
Afterwards, I started sketching and then moving the sketches over to wireframes.
I conducted a usability test using the Treejack before I moved onwards to design high-fidelity mockups. I found that the participants struggled to get to the "wishlist" section. I decided to add a "wishlist button" at the top menu and move a link from "your account" page to the main menu page.
Once the information architecture and wireframing were done I used AdobeXD to design high-fidelity mockups and prototypes. Aros is a modern brand with a strong environment- friendly approach. I wanted to highlight this. In one of our sessions Kauri mentions that quite often her designs are inspired by dark deep blue ocean with white foamy waves. I followed this idea. My inspiration was foamed white waves, navy colour of southern Pacific waters and black Icelandic beaches.