Case study: Styling the stylist, a redesign of Eco-Stylist
In our challenge brief a quote by John Wooden said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” I found this to be true throughout this project and in reflection when thinking about sustainability, design and even teamwork.
This project was about building a clickable mid-fidelity web application within a two-week timeline using Agile methodologies, UX fundamentals, design thinking, usability testing and Axure.
My team choose to tackle a redesign of Eco-Stylist’s curated marketplace in an effort to find ways to add value to their customer’s experience. Eco-Stylist aims to help men from find sustainable clothing and dress confidently by curating a list of sustainable brands and providing customers with information on why they should support those brands. They have a personal styling option as well.
“Dress like you give a damn: the act of looking sharp without compromising your values. Eco-Stylist’s mission is to help you do that.”
What I Did:
Technically, my assignment was the Interaction Lead for the prototype in Axure but the reality was, roll up your sleeves and do a little bit of everything! Luckily, with my background in operations for a small company, that attitude is very much ingrained in me.
We began our research by looking at companies that provide similar services in terms of e-commerce and styling. Outside of individual brands that tackle sustainability we saw Stitch Fix and Trunk Club as the biggest competitors worth exploring more. We looked at what they offer, how, pricing and compared to Eco-Stylist. Here’s what we found:
I should mention, we did this early on and ultimately pivoted away from e-commerce, for better or worse, in an effort to stay within the business scope and based on what we heard from users.
Although Eco-Stylist has positioned itself for men, we didn’t limit our user’s to only men. We sent out screener surveys and conducted 13 user interviews of men and women aged 24–42. We synthesized our interviews in an affinity map uncovering a number of insights about user’s experiences shopping online and sustainability knowledge.
- Gap between wanting to shop sustainably and actually doing it = EDUCATION
- Users don’t want to spend a lot of time shopping
- Connection between quality/fit and new brand confidence
- Salary not necessarily a factor in spending more money on clothing
So, who are our users?
Understanding The Problem
We used this to method to stay on track and begin to organize our flow while making sure we were designing with Leonard in mind:
Must have — brand directory and a better product page
Should have — curated styles/looks; reviews
Could have — info on fit/quality; blog
Won’t have — profile to assist with personal styling/algorithm
We identified which user paths would be of most value initially for basic functionally and optimized for speed and clarity of content.
Design charrette was a great way to break the design ice and brainstorm to get ideas flowing. Paper prototype and wireframe testing was incredibly helpful before getting into Axure. We iterated on our design’s several times based on our user’s feedback.
We conducted 6 user tests on our prototype in order to assess the flow and overall usability of our site. This was my first time testing something I had helped build and it was thrilling to observe.
We learned that overall the site easy to navigate and the concept was understood and well received. As you can see below, we redesigned our navigation bar based on feedback that it read as heavy and emboldened the appearance of our shop tabs and brand filters for optimal use. We also caught a bug that we missed during QA.
Please keep Leonard in mind when viewing. Think about how you are trying to be more conscious about sustainability and educate yourself to make more informed purchases. And then — click, purchase, done!
Next Steps & Lessons Learned
Through our research we learned a lot about what users expected out of Eco-Stylist, but unfortunately were unable to address all of those expectations due to time, group dynamics and admittedly, allowing perceived business constraints stifle our creativity a little.
Many of our interviewees were lackluster in their interest for personal styling but we think exploring customer profiles could help other issues like personalization, fit, and time.
We also believe in opening the site scope beyond only menswear. It would not only be more inclusive, but it would promote positive sustainability practices to a larger demographic.
A personal takeaway from this project is that it’s easy to forget the impact of a purchase or the power you have as a consumer (designer and teammate too). There are small steps we can each take to pave the path toward a more sustainable fashion future so I know that next time I’m shopping, I will do my research.