GiftOn

OVERVIEW

GiftOn is an online community and gift inspiration site that collects and curates real-life stories about gift giving. During this three week design sprint, we were tasked with researching and designing the optimal user experience for reading and contributing gift ideas. Our focus was split between researching the best way to categorize stories and creating a highly intuitive story submission process. In just 3 weeks of researching, wireframing, prototyping, and testing we presented our client with a highly viable design.

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Research

In the kick-off meeting with our client, Tatyana, we were tasked with several objectives. Most broadly, we had to surface users’ optimal flow throughout the site. Tatyana also requested that our design differentiate itself from marketplace competitors such as Amazon or Etsy. Rather than being a shopping site, she saw her product as a place to read fun, interesting content.  Finally, our design had to encourage users to post and interact with content. Because GiftOn is a community rather than a marketplace, Tatyana stressed the importance of fostering a “pulse” to keep users engaged and active.

 

Competitive analysis

Our research phase began with a competitive analysis. We looked at a total of 15 competitors provided by our client to see how they tackled similar issues. 

 

Our core finding was that GiftOn was poised to occupy an incredibly unique space in the market as a highly personal, highly inspiration community platform for gift-givers. 

However, we still needed to understand 1) how GiftOn might fit into the broader context of users’ lives 2) what will motivate users to join the GiftOn community and contribute content and 3) how might we design compelling experiences for GiftOn users? To answer these questions, we turned to our users.

 

 

 
 

Empathize

 

User interviews

We conducted a total of 12 exploratory user interviews. Our sample consisted of 5 people who frequently read stories online, 5 people who frequently read and contribute stories online, and 2 subject matter experts (a personal shopper and a gift blogger).

Interviews were focused on understanding what makes a great story for our users, what factors do users consider when looking for a great gift, and what motivates users to contribute (or abstain from contributing) to online forums? Our findings revealed several key insights:

 

 

 

Persona and journey mapping

Two distinct personas arose from interviewing users on their goals, motivations, and frustrations related to gift-giving and online story-contribution. 

Our primary persona was Madison, an inspiration seeker coming to the site to find the perfect gift. Madison places a large amount of pressure on herself to give meaningful, creative gifts and wants to read “human interest” stories that are highly personal. 

Our secondary persona, Amy, is also a conscientious gift giver. Amy differentiates from Madison in that she deeply enjoys conversation and exchange of ideas online. She comes to the site for the community as much as she does for gift-inspiration

 

 

 
 

 

 

We created a customer journey map to illustrate the thought process, emotions, and behavior of our primary persona during the gift giving process. The zone of opportunity illustrates the analysis-paralysis that occurs when using sites such as Amazon to find gift ideas. It also depicts the self-doubt and uncertainty that users feel when getting a gift for someone. Our design had the opportunity to present users with highly contextual, creative gift ideas from real people who had already tested them out.

 

 

 
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DEFINE

 

Our synthesis resulted in a problem statement and five core design principles, articulated below:

 

How might we create an interactive and engaging story based community that inspires people to give meaningful gifts, and exchange their gift giving experiences?

 
 
 
 
 

ideate

 

We used the ideation phase to generate as many potential solutions as possible. To do this we performed a series of rapid sketching exercises and then whittled our ideas down to 3 core concepts to test. Each prototype presented users with a different categorization of stories and flow for submitting their own story.

 

Dot voting  used to prioritize ideas that surfaced during sketching exercises.

Dot voting used to prioritize ideas that surfaced during sketching exercises.

My  lo-fi prototype , above, features emoji-based reactions and a media/news style layout. Click the image above to view my entire prototype.

My lo-fi prototype, above, features emoji-based reactions and a media/news style layout. Click the image above to view my entire prototype.

We parsed through each screen in our lo-fi prototype to identify what tested well and what did not test well with our users. We used these insights to develop a mid-fidelity converged prototype that leveraged the strengths of our individual designs.

We parsed through each screen in our lo-fi prototype to identify what tested well and what did not test well with our users. We used these insights to develop a mid-fidelity converged prototype that leveraged the strengths of our individual designs.

Click the image above to view our entire  mid-fi prototype . This is a converged, higher fidelity version of our individual lo-fi prototypes.

Click the image above to view our entire mid-fi prototype. This is a converged, higher fidelity version of our individual lo-fi prototypes.

Open and closed card sorting  exercises were performed with each user we tested to determine the ideal taxonomy for the site's multiple story categories.

Open and closed card sorting exercises were performed with each user we tested to determine the ideal taxonomy for the site's multiple story categories.

 
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