1 —Improving website user interface (UI)
To redesign website UI to increase its appeal and to redesign the navigation of website to make it more targeted to visitors’ preferences
2 — Improving website content
To research user preferences for book shopping to present content effectively
3— Business Model Integration
To integrate the online and offline business model more closely to serve their customers better
4 — Membership Engagement
To effectively engage POPULAR members in their online store
5 — The website is to be launched in 6 months
The client’s brief was created by the teaching assistants in General Assembly to imitate a real-life experience. The content and creator of this article is not affiliated with the company mentioned.
Project Manager, Product Designer
Product research and audit, User research, User interviews, Affinity mapping, User persona, User experience mapping, Competitive analysis, Product design, Usability testing, Project Planning.
Axure RP, Post-its, Excel Sheets.
POPULAR is a home-grown bookstore in Singapore founded in 1936. Singaporeans grew up and spent their childhood and teen years with the brand. The challenge in this project is to integrate POPULAR’s offline business model with their online business model, as well as to encourage a transition and open-mindedness from traditional to modern and agile business model.
User Research & Interviews
We sent out an online survey to collect quantitative data on user shopping behaviours, engagement with the brand and their awareness of the online store. We collected 20 responses from users aged between 17–30 years old.
The findings are summarised as the following:
USER SHOPPING BEHAVIOUR AND ENGAGEMENT
- Majority of the users shop for stationery (81.82%), art & crafts (72.73%), books(from novels to language books, 65%), writing materials and notebooks (54.55%)
- 86.36% shops for themselves
- For traditional shopping, the biggest competitor is Kinokuniya (54.55%)
- 68.18% shops once or twice every 2–3 months
- When asked to purchase a specific book from POPULAR, 54.55% answered that they will head to the store directly and search it on their own first before asking for help
- 59.09% have never owned a POPULAR membership card
ONLINE STORE AWARENESS
- 40.91% are aware that POPULAR has an online store and they can purchase books from it
- 45.45% are not aware that POPULAR has an online website
- 86.36% do not use the POPULAR website
We managed to get about 9 shoppers in the store and another 3 users who are online shoppers. The users aged between 17 to 38 years old and are tertiary students, working professionals or homemakers.
The data we received from the interviews can be summarised as the following:
OFFLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
- 75% shops in POPULAR for its convenient location
- 91% chose to shop in POPULAR because of the affordability of their product price points
- 83% likes the wide-array of items ranging from books, stationery, office supplies, toys and etc
- 67% prefers to head down to store to purchase the item as they want to know the content of the product they are purchasing
- 0% of the traditional shoppers used the online store to purchase their items
ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
- Users had visited the online store but never used it to make purchases
- 100% of the users would end up heading to the store to make their purchases as
- They find the current website overwhelming, inefficient and difficult to use
- 25% expected the website to offer the same range of products that the physical store offers.
- Users shop in Book Depository, Amazon and Kinokuniya
Our findings can be summarised into the diagram below:
User Experience Mapping
KEY/COMMON USER GOAL
To purchase a book from Popular Online.
ONLINE EXPERIENCE BREAKDOWN
- Insufficient information online results in failure to make an informed decision to buy a book
- Online experience is stopped abruptly
- User is forced to make a trip to the store to complete their goal(s).
- Online business model does not fulfil its purpose
EXTENDED OFFLINE EXPERIENCE
- Offline experience/touch point is longer than online experience
- User has a lot of low points compared to high points.
Improve usability by providing user-facing and informative content that makes our users feel confident when making online purchases.
Providing the user with an overall better accessibility and navigation experience throughout the website.
REDESIGN INTERFACE & CONTENT
Incorporating modern and minimal design into the redesign.
Increase visual appeal of the website.
Adding useful and informative content without compromising the interface usability.
Elevate public brand impression of POPULAR in both loyal consumer and non-consumer
We conducted a feedback-based usability testing on 7 users aged between 24 to 29, who are both POPULAR consumers and non consumers.
The reason to conduct a feedback-based test is to collect the users responses and reactions to the new website navigation, content and user interface design. Numerical data in percentage will not be provided in this testing due to the natural of the test and it questions.
KEY POSITIVE FEEDBACK
Clean, modern website design
We received 100% positive first impression from users. 60% of the users liked how clean and organised the website is
High increase in website usability as a whole
Users mentioned that the new website has “clear direction”, “easy to use”, “easy to explore and browse”.
High increase in efficiency of browsing
Users now find it easy to browse through the products and there are sufficient information provided for users to make their purchase decisions.
MOST RAISED ISSUES AND PROPOSED SOLUTIONS
Usage of red
The usage of red throughout the website was “glaring”, “distracting” and coming out too strongly to our users. To solve this problem, we can relook and expand brand colours and co-design with the POPULAR team.
Stock level information
In the redesign site, the accessibility of stock level information is low and buried in product page. This can be solved by making it more prominent throughout the website by bringing it up a level and put it with the product grids.
There is low level of assistance in the redesign, which causes a misalignment with the offline experience where help is easily accessible (staff). We can add several quick access call-to-action buttons on the product page an navigation bar.
New User Experience Mapping
Service Design Ideas
An important part of the business model improve will be integrating their offline and online business model. In order to achieve that, we introduced service design to our client.
Service design is the activity of planning and organising the business’s resources in order to improve the employee’s and user’s/consumer’s experiences. By implementing service design, we will be able to tackle and address the ecosystem and isolated problems in POPULAR. It will also connect the activities of their 3 operation channels. These actions will result in a more holistic business, enable them to reduce inefficiency and operation costs and all-in-all, a more sustainable business in a long run.
INTEGRATED BACKEND SYSTEM FOR ONLINE AND OFFLINE STOCK LEVEL
We asked the staff in the offline store to check the availability of a book from the online store and claimed that we would like to place an order (10 books). The staff carried out the following steps:
With service design in place, the steps can be shorten greatly. The staff will be able to fulfil customer's needs within a shorter time and higher efficency:
As the client expected the project to be launched in 6 months, we decided on a project plan that runs in 4 phrase:
We decided to kick off the project with the website, which was what the client requested in their brief. With the website in place, we will look into integrating the client’s online and offline business model. After the service design blueprint is established, we will work on a staff application (for sales-floor staff) that integrates the backend system of all 3 channels together. The last phase will be the project handover and UX/Design workshops for the employees to sustain the UX process we implemented.