User Research

my role

  • Sought out industry professionals and hobbyists 
  • Wrote interview script
  • Conducted 12 interviews
  • Compiled user responses into spreadsheet 
  • Synthesized user feedback to draw out design opportunities

THE Tools

  • Screener Survey
  • Online Card Sort
  • Scripted Interviews
  • Affinity Mapping
  • Journey Map
  • User Personas

Key Takeaways

  • Understood demographic trends
  • Observed how users behave, what they like and dislike, and what apps they use
  • Identified two separate use-cases
  • Revealed ways to convert target users 
 

Screener Survey

56 theatre and film professionals took part in my survey, providing actionable information that directly informed design.

      KEY TAKEAWAYS

      • Identified primary use-cases within each broad merchandise category
      • Confirmed some beliefs about users found in market research, but also uncovered some areas that differed.  This opened a dialogue with the CEO to restructure certain business goals.
      • Identified buyers' primary considerations for various types of theatre merchandise.  User interviews would reveal why.
       

      User Interviews into Journey Maps

      I created a scripted interview based on screener survey responses.  Speaking to users let me get a deeper understanding of some of the trends I noticed.  Especially important for me was to understand why users bought or rented certain things, how they already went about doing it, and what they liked and disliked about their current methods.

      First, I sorted feedback in an affinity diagram: separating responses that were pains, pleasures, user behaviors, or contexts of use.  I then divided these responses further into themes with titles like "using pictures," and "buy or build."  

      First, I sorted feedback in an affinity diagram: separating responses that were pains, pleasures, user behaviors, or contexts of use.  I then divided these responses further into themes with titles like "using pictures," and "buy or build."  

      Themes from the affinity diagram could then be plotted chronologically in a Customer Journey Map.  I used this method to help frame user feedback and user goal in the same context.  

      Themes from the affinity diagram could then be plotted chronologically in a Customer Journey Map.  I used this method to help frame user feedback and user goal in the same context.  

      This helped me to both identify design opportunities that corresponded to real user needs (represented here with blue stars), and explain to stakeholders why those opportunities could help with customer conversion, satisfaction, and loyalty. 

      This helped me to both identify design opportunities that corresponded to real user needs (represented here with blue stars), and explain to stakeholders why those opportunities could help with customer conversion, satisfaction, and loyalty. 

      SOME EXAMPLES

      Costume designers described the process of flicking through racks of clothing for the right look:

      I created a Tinder-like carousel UI for quick browsing of vendor merchandise.  The idea was to replicate the feeling of physically swiping through options.  This won't be in the MVP, but is being considered for later versions.

      Users described cases in which they'd need to physically see something before purchasing, usually if it had a special function--like a prop or large costume:

      Including the option for vendors to upload multiple angles and videos of their products would prove imperative.

      When searching for costume pieces, designers often send inspiration photos to costume rental shops ahead of time, and those shopkeepers pull relevant merchandise:

      I suggested and mocked up a "request for proposal" interface, in which buyers could upload a picture of what they're looking for, and vendors could link them in merchandise in their online catalogs.  Again, we left this out of the MVP, but it will be incorporated in the future.

       

      User Personas

      Feedback from the survey and interviews lead me to identify a few use-cases, and some distinct user personas.  Each persona would use the site differently, so I put myself in their shoes as I designed to ensure I had their needs in mind.

      Camille Shaw, my first persona, is my "one-stop-shop" user.  Camille is an amalgamation of many people I spoke to directly, though she became such a familiar personality, we all started to think of her as real.

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      • Wants to outfit a whole show from external sources (i.e., avoid building costume and props)
      • Hates traveling to and from several rental shops
      • Extremely loyal to a handful of vendors, expects some form of discount for her loyalty
      • Is most concerned with era-appropriateness.  Size variations and aesthetic perfection are secondary, as she can adjust things in her shop once they arrive.
       

      My next persona, Karen Clemente, prefers to build her own costumes, and rent or buy only as a supplement.  She's a young freelancers with something to prove.  When she can't make something, she needs to be able to buy it, often on short notice, and it has to be perfect.  Some design opportunities for Karen are natural language search, messaging vendors, and a share feature so she can get approval from her director.

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      • Has very limited budget and time
      • Wants exactly the design aesthetic she and the director envision 
      • Motivated by aspiration and recognition--she wants to be rewarded for her work
      • Crucial to be able to search for items with a high level of specificity