JENNIFER HOWELL HUGHES

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Party Planner Concept Microsite

Party Planner Home Page Wireframe

Party Planner is a party planning microsite where people can get inspiration, organise their party and purchase supplies. This project was completed as part of UXDI course at General Assembly.

Team

Jennifer Hughes

Duration

2 Weeks

Methods

Competitor Analysis, User Research, Information Architecture, Task Analysis, User Flows, Experience Mapping, Wire-framing, Prototyping, Usability Testing.

Tools

Pen and Paper, Omnigraffle, InVision

The Brief


Create a microsite for a high end department store that will help people plan and manage their themed parties. The brief contained a number of requisite features for the microsite and four key user tasks were identified as a focus.

My Process


User Research

A set of three personas were provided. I selected a single persona to target for this project whose party planning style and budget most closely matched the store’s brand and the brief’s feature requisites.

I conducted additional user interviews to clarify and substantiate the persona and to identify any additional key insights.

Gayle’s Key Issues

  • Gayle feels that she shoulders most of the financial burden for the party. Although her housemates contribute, she feels she ends up paying more.
  • Gayle finds it harder and harder to come up with new ideas for her parties.
  • Gayle has less time to organise her parties as she has new commitments to her time.
Experience Map of Gayle's current party planning experience

Competitor Research

Before starting on the microsite I conducted competitor analysis on 6 key competitors in the party planning space. Both direct competitors and in-direct competitors such as social networks and specialist invite and guest list management sites were included.

The competitors were analysed over 8 scales based around purchasing and party planning and this primarily indicated that a site that provided both a wide variety of products for purchase and the necessary tools for planning a party might fill a potential gap in the market.

Competitor Analysis Spider Diagram

Hypothesis

I believe that the Party Planner website will allow the users to organise a unique themed parties easily and with less financial burden by providing them with theme inspiration, the tools to plan their party and the ability to purchase and split the cost of supplies.


Information Architecture

The site contains an inventory of party supplies. A series of open and closed card sorts were performed with users to obtain the classification for the products.

This was then incorporated into the complete microsite site map which was tested with users.

 

Testing my initial site maps indicated that it was not clear how a user would find a theme idea for their party. The site map was revised and tested multiple times until users could successfully navigate it.

Four key user flows were identified in the brief to be focused on. Once the initial site map had been developed and tested I created task flows for each user goal as defined in the brief.

Site Map for Party Planner Website

Navigation Schema

Once the site map had been tested and I had a version to start working from, I devised the navigation schema for the site.

I have used standard navigation patterns, with horizontal global and primary navigation and a drop down for secondary navigation.

Wireframe of Navigation Schema

Wireframing and Prototyping

Digital wireframes for each of the required pages were created in Omnigraffle and a round of testing was completed prior to prototyping. This identified some usability problems relating to the navigation language. Once this had been updated and tested successfully, I created a clickable prototype in InVision for usability testing.

Wireframe of Budget Page
Wireframe of Checkout

Iterating the Design

Many iterations have been made throughout the process in response to testing feedback. However a larger change was made to the design after a design studio session was held with a number of my classmates during which we sketched out our ideas for one of the user’s key issues -splitting the cost of party supply purchases.

"We all just went to the shop and split the bill at the checkout"
Photograph of Design Studio Sketches

Usability Testing

To date, two rounds of usability testing have been completed. Round one was completed on all four user tasks. A prioritised list of usability issues was made after round one and high priority and also medium priority ‘quick wins’ were addressed. Round two of usability testing was conducted on the dividing cost and checkout tasks. No further changes have been made to the prototype since round two of usability testing was completed.

Key Insights from Usability Testing

  • - Splitting the cost a checkout in a online store is new concept to most users.
  • - Knowing the exact delivery date is important to users, especially for last minute purchases.
  • - Language and copy across the site is not clear enough.
  • - Users thought that the checkout process was lengthy and like to see a list of the items they have purchased on the checkout confirmation page.
Photograph of Usability Testing

Outcome

Although the splitting the cost function of the microsite would in theory provide a benefit to the end user, testing has revealed that the current implementation impacts on a number of other areas of the user’s experience (for example delivery options) that may negate the benefit received. Much more testing and investigation would be required.

Next Steps

  • - Conduct further competitor research to identify current competitors offering both products for sale and party planning tools.
  • - Revisit the delivery options with the business. For instance, is there a possibility to dispatch goods if the account holder acts as a payment ‘guarantor’? Investigate if this would this impact the user’s experience of splitting costs.
  • - Investigate the possibility of shortening the checkout process without losing the clarity that the additional split cost step adds to the user’s understanding.
  • - Conduct further testing and iterations on the guest list management and shopping list functions of the site.