Design Process (Case Study)

Client: McBain Camera (2006 - 2016)

Problem:

How do you get thousands of physical products online without a budget to hire on more staff?

Solution:

Crowdsource the existing retail staff.

Responsibilities:

User Experience
Visual Design
Project Management
Strategy

Research

I begin by running a series of meetings with stakeholders and key internal staff, we research current customer trends, expectations and goals for the site. Once we’ve outlined our goals, I write a complete strategy and timeline for the development of the project. This includes a methodology for the design of the site, a list of potential pitfalls, and a plan for staying on-budget. We not only outline the launch of this product, but we look to the future to determine what else can be accomplished post-launch in the years to come.

Identify Users

Part of the research and planning phase is identifying the users of the project. I create user profiles for hypothetical users. This includes customers with a variety of backgrounds, internal staff with varying responsibilities, and an internal designer who will continue to work on the site post-launch.

Building a Team

As the project lead, I have a the best overall understanding of what is necessary for each phase of the project. I determine that this particular project requires an outside expert to handle information architecture, design of the database and to help with designing the CMS. I hire this individual on contract and take on the role of managing the team: assigning roles, tasks, setting deadlines and making sure we stick to those deadlines.

User Flows & Wireframes

End-users of the site are primarily potential customers. They’re looking to find product information, pricing, and to perhaps make a purchase. And we must not to forget that users may have only a partial idea – or even none at all – as to what they’re searching for. I strive to remove any boundaries that users may face while shopping. In order to ensure the best design, wireframes and user flows are sketched, edited, and mockups are created in HTML + CSS. I begin with pen and paper, and work my way towards design “in the browser”.

Pixel-perfect design, with Users in mind

End-users of the site are primarily potential customers. They’re looking to find product information, pricing, and to perhaps make a purchase. And we must not to forget that users may have only a partial idea – or even none at all – as to what they’re searching for. I strive to remove any boundaries that users may face while shopping. In order to ensure the best design, wireframes and user flows are sketched, edited, and mockups are created in HTML + CSS. I begin with pen and paper, and work my way towards design “in the browser”.

Designing the CMS

I work with partners to design a custom CMS that is limited to serving only the needs of the internal client staff members. This is not a typical approach, but because we know that content will only be managed by trained staff – and not by the public – we can reduce operating costs over the long term. By crowd-sourcing the existing retail staff, we create a system of data entry and content management that is unprecedentedly efficient.

Launch, future-planning

After the product launch, I begin looking at additional features for the site as well as the CMS. We add features to improve the user experience and to reduce barriers for existing staff operating the CMS. New features are rolled out over a period of years, as necessary and as the budget becomes available.