Creating & Researching Engaging Experiences
Molly is an expert at creating engaging content to use in email marketing as well as social media platforms for her clients. One example is the Pretty Palettes campaign for which Molly designed content, provided photography, managed social media campaigns in Facebook and Instagram as well as webpage creation from January 2017 through March 2022.
User experience research and usability evaluations of websites provide insight into the way clients and customers navigate digital platforms. The following research is a digested version of research used to help identify the website’s audience and create a journey map and task-use analysis of two tasks within the shopping experience. At the time of testing, the website was one year old.
Usability Test Moderator
I recruited 94 participants via social media completed a questionnaire created in SurveyMonkey to collect ethnographic information about beaders. From the data collected in this survey I created user personas. Survey participants, from novices to experts, were contacted and participated in user testing to create a Task Analysis diagram. I recorded them remotely via Zoom as they progressed through the tasks, describing their choices in a cognitive walk through the website. This helped identify “pain points” during specific tasks. Time to navigate through the task, number of clicks, frustration points, and moments of flow were used to evaluate the process.
Ninety four participants completed a survey that defined the motivation, behavior, needs, cultural themes, and constraints of people in the beading community.
I created user personas for expert and novice users based on the ethnographic data collected in the user survey.
Cognitive Walkthroughs & Interviews
Participants were asked to complete two tasks “in the wild.” They completed these tasks remotely, in their homes or workplace while I observed, listened, and recorded their click action via Zoom. Their tasks were to find and purchase a specific set of beads needed for a project and to search the website for a specific item. The number of clicks and time required to complete each task was recorded as well as emotional responses to the process.
A task analysis diagram showed the flow of different customers through the process of completing a tasks.
Journey maps enabled me to see, compare, and analyze the users’ emotions, actions, and pathways as they traveled through the experience.
I created a sequence model to show the detailed structure of a specific task and identify user intents and create a user flow that eliminates any wasted steps. This provided a guide to structure the process to match and extend the way people approach a task.
For the first task of searching for a specific item, expert users were much faster and used fewer clicks when locating a particular type of bead on the website than novices. All users experienced frustration with the number of clicks it took to add an item to their cart. Notably, many less experienced users searched by color or material in the sidebar instead of typing into the Search field, which led to longer, less successful searches. New users thought that clicking the “+” symbol beside an item would add the item to their cart; instead it magnified the image of the item being displayed.
The second task was to search and add all of the items needed to make a particular project to the Cart. Expert users were faster to locate items, but they were also more selective about their choice of item, which would often take more time. Novice users who were unfamiliar with beading often placed incorrect items into their cart. The Shopping Cart popup screen that appeared after each item was added to the cart was considered distracting; users found it annoying to close it each time before resuming shopping. Secondly, the numeral indicating the number of items within the cart as users added them did not properly update. This led to user confusion and frustration and often a repetition of their actions to ensure items were in their cart which resulted in more items being added to the cart than were intended.
Many users came across items they would have liked to buy as they were completing the required tasks, but were unable to purchase them because they were sold out. The more often this happened the more frustrated the users became.
Overall, the users needed a way to place things into their carts more quickly with fewer clicks. Users also needed more ways to effectively search the product list.
- Replace the “+” button on the product page with a Cart button so that the user can add the product directly to their cart without navigating away from the product menu.
- Eliminate the pop-up box that displays the contents of the Shopping Cart after each item is added and update the Shopping Cart app so that it shows the current number of items in cart as a small numeral next to the Cart icon in the upper corner of the screen.
- Add a product management app that filters products so that items that are out of stock show up on the final product pages instead of the first product pages that display, creating a product list organized by availability so that users encounter fewer out-of-stock items as they shopped.