Designing an interior design advice app for Made.com
Scope: 4 People • 2 Weeks • Remote • Conceptual
Made.com is a brand based in London, England, that designs and retails homewares and furniture online. This was a concept project as part of a course for General Assembly.
Users can browse and choose designers.
The session should be conducted entirely within the app.
Users should be able to be recommended products by the specialist both during and after the call.
Made.com is open to guidance about whether this should be web-based or within their app, or even an entirely separate app.
You are free to make assumptions about the pricing of the service and the technical aspects.
Stretch goal: Create the web interface for the interior design specialists to be able to effectively provide support for the service.
My role (on a team of 4) was to do research, test, keep the team on the brief, and consider the user's needs. My key responsibilities included developing the user flow and designing the video chat, measuring tool, and session checklist feature. We followed the double diamond design process.
Competitive analysis: 17 direct and indirect competitors researched
Screener Survey: 62 participants helped us identify our user
User Interviews: 15 participants, affinity mapping helped find patterns
Personas, empathy maps, and experience maps helped to empathize and understand the user and their pain points.
Formed "problem statements" and "how might we"s to solve them
User flows and app maps helped us decide the structure and journey
3 Design studio ideation sessions to brainstorm solutions
Feature prioritization to decide what to implement in the design
Paper prototypes: tested 4 times
4 different digital wire-frames iterations: tested 14 times total
Pen and paper
Google Slides, Forms
We designed an augmented reality furniture display to give users an idea of what a piece of furniture would look like in their home.
Users can learn and choose from a selection of interior designers who they think best matches their style and tastes by viewing their profile.
There are tools to measure your room for accurate sizing and mood board activities to give the designer an idea of the users' preferences.
After looking closely at the features Made.com already has, we took a look at the competition.
10 Direct competitors such as John Lewis, Wayfair
3 International competitors such as KVIK
5 Indirect competitors such as Nordstrom's styling advice and other online consultations like Babylon health
Babylon offers a nice video chat feature. Wayfair has an attractive 3D room planner.
The video chats do not include any additional tools; it is just a chat.
Making an appointment felt impersonal, and there was not much that would prepare the customer or make them feel understood.
Only basic information was available on stylists. Often the choices would be a list of names without pictures, information, or reviews.
We believed that understanding the customer beforehand would result in a better experience.
We mentioned no amount of money; however, nearly 65% would not pay for the help.
Half of those surveyed value someone else's opinion when making home decorating decisions and another 44% sometimes do!
People who are more confident in their skills are less likely to use this service.
Half of those surveyed value someone else's opinion when making home decorating decisions and 44% sometimes do!
We found patterns and put our findings into themes such as cost, blockers, inspiration, experience level, habits, and what they might expect from the service.
Taking insights from all the interviews, we were able to see patterns on our affinity map.
Both users care about their interior aesthetics. They might not invest in an interior designer, but they see the value in extra guidance.
We believe our users could still be someone who claims they wouldn't pay for interior design advice.
Using the information we collected in our survey and interviews, we made a persona. Meet James; We based James on the user who doesn't have confidence in their interior design skills.
James is unsure how to decorate his new place. This forms a problem.
We will focus on this problem going into the design studio.
After we defined the problem and identified our user, we needed to consider how to solve Jame's problems. We choose three "HMW" problems.
Design studio with the team using Miro.
Design studio #1
Design Studio #2
Finally, we narrowed it down to solutions over a video call:
Video chat with augmented reality furniture suggested by the stylist and the designer's perspective and interface.
We believed the user would want to move about, use the virtual tools, and show the designer what they see (with the camera). A mobile app seemed to be the solution. This would need to be tested further.
Our first wireframes were confusing.
I am always impressed by how much we learn from paper prototypes.
Adding humor when unnecessary can be confusing.
Adding too much information is also confusing.
Make sure everything has a purpose; people comment on everything.
I found it is best to put down what is known and what you want to be tested.
The checklist was to help the customer feel prepared, but that wasn't the reaction received. So, I made the checklist "less daunting."
We still believed that the tools, such as the "style board" or "measuring tool," were essential to help get the most out of the consultation.
It was not clear that you accessed the menu via swiping-up.
I used an arrow to indicate the direction of movement,
Then I tried a message box,
Finally, I changed it to a row-of-dots (page swiper) to access the tools.
The final version still needs to be tested.
Testing a mobile app — on a computer does not yield great usability results. Gesture movements aren't as intuitive, and inconclusive data is collected. It would have been best to test the app on a mobile device.
Not everything Apple does is right. Using symbols and gestures that Apple uses aren't that intuitive for all users. The dots for page control, for example, usually aren't accessible. Symbols used to show things can move weren't always understood.
Conduct a contextual inquiry when showrooms open with known MADE customers.
Test and iterate the augmented reality function further on targeted user groups.
Further, refine the style board builder and test with users.
Redecorate our living rooms with the app MADE designers!
I learned how to test low-fidelity prototypes better by adding intentional content to be evaluated.
Through this project, I learned how to share research effectively to be understood by the team.
My team worked with great intensity. Everyone was eager to help each other once they finished something. We collaborated on lots of ideas and accomplished a lot in two weeks.
Feel free to click around and explore. To follow our user's journey, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to go forward ⇨ or backward ⇦.
Click around the prototype.
Watch the prototype video.