THE GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
A new ecommerce structure for a local board game store
- User Research
- Research Synthesis
- Cart Sorting
- Information Architecture
- Digital Wireframes
Axure, pen, paper
The Games People Play (TGPP) is a local game store in Harvard Square, MA that sells board games, chess, and puzzles since 1974. However, there are two main challenges:
- Users find it difficult to decide which games to buy as shopping for games is a very different experience than shopping for clothes.
- TGPT doesn't provide product details & e-commerce function e-commerce function for users to explore products and purchase online.
Integrating e-commerce function to TGPP website that features:
- Improved information architecture for easier navigation
- Detailed descriptions of products
- Ability for users to compare different games
- A seamless check-out process
WORK WITH CONSTRAINTS
This project was only a 10-day sprint so time was a big constraint. This project was happening during my second week at General Assembly so I was still unfamiliar with the tools and softwares, specifically, I never used Axure before.
Before diving deep into the research process, I took a step back to evaluate the scope and how to work with my constraints to make sure I deliver a clickable prototype in 10 days. The process allowed me to see what was feasible to do and what was not. From there, I set a strict project timeline to make sure I MUST SHIP!
My 10-day game plan:
LISTEN TO USERS
I created a screener to recruit users for the project. Out of 12 survey takers, I interviewed 5 users. All of the users are in the age of 21-31 years old and currently are students and professionals.
From the interviews, I then did an Affinity Mapping exercise to synthesize all insights:
- Shopping for boardgames is a different experience than other items
- Users heavily rely on reviews when searching for a new game
- Users tend to refer back to popular games such as Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, etc as a baseline to compare new games
- Not everyone is a fan of board games; they think board games are good for social settings and family occasions
- Most users prefer to purchase games on Amazon
CONFIRM THE NEEDS
Next step, I tried to segment the insights one more time, working backward and compare my interview notes to dig deeper to find the cause of user pain points. The process allowed me to connect the dots together and the challenge started to become clearer.
- All of the problem that users are facing when going through the process of purchasing a game really comes down to their level of familiarity of that game.
- When users are unfamiliar with a game, they spend a lot of time researching such as read reviews, watch videos online before the purchase stage.
What does it mean for TGPP?
The store has to be able to eliminate pain points by offering users a way to BOTH:
- Discover/explore new games
- Ability to add to Cart & Purchase on site
Features to consider:
- Good check-out flow
CONNECT THE DOTS
I then created 2 personas based on the insights and the pain points of users to better represent TGPP's user pool.
Go to the website, search, select a board game and purchase right away.
- Add to Cart
- Check-out process
Go to the website, read product descriptions, compare with other games then purchase.
- Product details
- Similar Products
DESIGN SITE NAVIGATION
Understanding the needs of users, I then moved on to figure out how the site should be structured. To achieve this, I did some cart sorting exercises with users.
Designing the navigation was the most challenging phase of the project for me as there were a variety of different board games and they could belong to multiple categories. I got stuck for a bit during the process and was pressured by the time limit of the project.
With feedback from users and trying out different methods, I gradually learned how to prioritize categories & figured out the site structure for TGPP. The challenge helped me learn how to move quicker & be flexible with techniques.
The exercise gave me a list of different category names; however, it was still very overwhelming with too many categories. To narrow down more, I then took a look back at user insights, re-listened to user interviews to trace down the parts where they mentioned about categories.
Spending some time referring back to the users helped me build more confident & allowed me to come up with a refined information architecture and get ready to sketch out my ideas for the website.
EVOLVE DESIGNS OVER TIME
With pens and papers, I then started sketching all of the ideas, tried out multiple layouts, arranged items and words so that they made sense and clear. I asked for users feedback and iterated along the way after every sketch. I then transferred those sketches to a paper prototype and quickly moved to Axure to create digital wireframes.
Due to time constraint, I only ran 4 usability tests in total yet they were very informative. Overall, there wasn't any major concern with the design, only a few minor tweaks and rearrangements.
- Move quicker & be more flexible
- Always refer back to notes and user interviews
- Continue to interview with users & evolve personas
- Visual designs