This project is a responsive e-commerce website design for alternative clothing brand client, Sourpuss Clothing. This is an excerpt of the work submitted to and implemented by the client, as well as a brief insight into my role as UX lead.
Visit sourpussclothing.com to review the completed site.
Length of Project: 3 Months
Size of team: James Sisti (UX Lead), Creative Director, Project Manager, Technical Director, 3rd Party Development Team, Sourpuss Clothing Product Manager
Software/Hardware used: Sketch, Invision
Sourpuss Clothing needed to update their existing e-commerce experience on both desktop and mobile browsers, in order to remain competitive in a growing online retail marketplace.
Strategically re-approaching the way users shop with mobile devices, comparative analysis and heuristic evaluation of top competing brands, implementing a responsive design that adhered to e-commerce best practices, from backend to User Interface, without sacrificing the integrity of the art direction and branding of Sourpuss Clothing.
The beginning of every project begins with a personal conversation with the stakeholders. Learning about a client’s business is important, but this only creates a partial view of a client’s needs. The most important piece of information I look for at the initial stages of a project is the “why” behind the business. Business owners have a very personal connection with their company, and there is usually a compelling story that reveals details about the founder’s initial vision. Asking questions that tap into this “origin story” can not only help establish a direction for the next steps of the project, it demonstrates a personal interest to the client and builds good rapport early on.
The next priority was to learn Sourpuss Clothing inside and out as a business. As a Philly based company with a warehouse and a small team, competitors like Hot Topic and Spenser’s Gifts make it very hard for Sourpuss to compete in the storefront arena. Their best bet was to stay competitive on the E-Commerce front. To accomplish this, I performed a deep dive with the client into topics such as core business model, customer culture, company philosophy and goals. Developing personas based on a demographic study of the customer base was the next step, which revealed that the best selling product on Sourpuss Clothing’s website was a Wu-Tang Clan onesie for babies.
After identifying the key pain points in the existing website experience, I performed a comparative analysis with competing brands, and created lo-fidelity wireframes for mobile devices and desktop tangentially. This brought up interesting points regarding customer engagement via social media and led to re-strategizing the customer gallery, which is now featured prominently on the home page and product pages, where applicable.
After completing and testing lo-fidelity prototypes based on my wireframes, we began to build a hi-fidelity prototype in InVision to illustrate user flows to the client, in order to gather feedback. This became the “golly-gee-whiz” moment that got the stakeholder even more excited about the project, which led to more detailed feedback moving forward. This feedback provided a compelling argument that my observations from the initial heuristic evaluation were on point.
Once the best solutions were identified, we proposed a design that not only followed best practices for responsive web design but also utilized the full potential of the Magento platform on the backend. Finally, the ideas were tested and revisions were made accordingly during multiple rounds of collaboration and design iteration with the client.
The success of the updated customer experience on Sourpuss Clothing’s website depended on a few factors: strategic product placement and categorization, the ability to navigate with ease on both desktop and mobile devices, removal of redundant and unnecessary steps for checking out, and engaging with the Sourpuss community via social media (the customer gallery).
The result of the project was more than just a typical client engagement. I learned about the stakeholder’s personal connection to the business which, as a once mohawk-wearing, guitar-wielding, punk rock teen, I could relate to. This established a personal connection for myself as well, which excited me about the project and caused me to go above and beyond to deliver. Be sure to visit Sourpussclothing.com and explore this home-grown, Philly-based, whirlwind of counter-culture fashion.