In the heart of London's East End, you'll find Progress Hardware. For over 50 years they have served the community supplying local residents, tradespeople and businesses with their building supply needs.
I was tasked as sole UX Designer for this 2-week design sprint concept brief to take this much-loved store online with an E-commerce website. The challenge was to ensure easy site navigation, and clear product display and organisation. It was also key to keep their small shop appeal, great customer service and to showcase their highly-curated inventory.
Some fellow UX researches joined me in carrying out an in-depth feature analysis of all competitors online presence. I took all the major high-street and online brands as well as some medium and small local competitors.
We gained a clear view of what was essential to have, what could be included and what could give us a competitive edge. We also carried out Contextual inquiries across a number of stores to discover:
I interviewed a number of individuals ranging from trade, regular DIYers to the not so seasoned hardware store goer on their buying habits. I discovered a number of qualities they look for when carrying out buying items for hardware tasks.
My focus then turned to the navigation and with the aid of card sorting I took 75 varied and popular products and had a number of people sort into and name categories that they felt they belonged in.
I first allowed people to arrange them and make the headings themselves. This gave me an organic and natural list of potential tier 1 headings.
Using the results I was able to conduct closed card sorts where I narrowed down the potential site heading and organisation.
I began mapping out the site map, concentrating on giving customers the quickest route possible. Some top level changes were made to avoid quaternary level product links.
Progress Hardware has three key user types. Your seasoned DIYer, tradesperson and the less familiar newbie and gift buyer. I created three hypothetical user scenarios and mapped out their user journey to figure out how they would achieve the desired task.
I then began sketching out the website, breaking up each category, section and feature separately. It was important to refer to my competitor feature analysis and look to incorporate features that would be familiar to the users.
Features like a prominent search bar, clear delivery information and shopping basket indicators were vital.
Prototyping & Testing
More detailed wire flows and screens followed in Sketch. The screens reflected:
Using InVision I put a prototype together and set about user testing.
I used a rainbow chart spreadsheet to document the usability test findings which made the results clear with actionable steps.
The header was deemed too busy and unclear so I simplified whilst trying to keep the important information.
Separate landing page
Users were expecting landing pages for the main product sections like paint and decorating.
The gift card option was missed by most if not all users.
Repeated options in the checkout process left users confused.
The filtering options and what users thought they did threw up some changes to the structure and their purpose. There was also a feeling of too many options at once.
Breadcrumbs were an important omission according to users. As was the inclusion of too much information in the form of reviews and tech specs, tester pots ordering and clear
Birth of the curated guidesFollowing the usability testing, it was felt that whilst the gift card option would serve the purpose, it didn't fully showcase the unique and hand-picked inventory that Progress Hardware offered.
To address this I testest a number of concepts based around curated guides to assist both the DIY hobbyist, collector as well as the gift hunter.
The section led to great user feedback with multiple routes to finding a gift or unique item - a USP of the business.
PrototypeLink to a clickable prototype (InvisionApp) https://invis.io/4FPY8RT5GYQ
ConclusionA lot of time was spent on the Information architecture aspect of this brief which resulted in a product that tested well. The primary goal was to ensure clear navigation and cater to the diverse customer base whilst translating the heritage and unique aspect of the store's inventory. The extra additions of subscription tool clubs, curated guides and 'Deliveroo style' hardware speedy delivery service would need more research but appear unique business additions to the store.
Feedback is welcomed and encouraged so please share it. I'm also happy to answer any questions you may have.