GiftBoard eCommerce native app
|Product||GiftBoard native eCommerce app for iOS and Android|
|Enterprise||Tech startup incubator|
|Target audience||Millennials and their family|
|Role||UX Management, Creative Direction|
GiftBoard is an eCommerce app designed to improve the experience of gift giving and receiving. It’s a tool to help prevent unwanted gifts.
The application serves as a way of getting around the awkward conversation of “what do you want for Christmas, your birthday, etc”. The net result would be less unwanted gifts and therefore less waste, and greater present satisfaction.
GiftBoard helps prompt conversations about buying gifts.
These personas are based on research done by other team members before me. I am unsure of how extensive this research was, but hey – personas!
Her birthday is fast approaching and I don't know what to get her
- Buy my partner a present she will like
- Buy a present within my budget
- Have my partner receive present on time
- I do not know what to buy her, she seems to have everything
- She likes expensive things
- I am running out of time
- Wrapping presents is difficult
I always get cat themed presents for my birthday – I just throw them out
- Stop receiving bad presents that I just donate to Vinnies
- Let my partner know what I want
- Receive something I like and validate my partner’s choice
- I feel dissatisfied when I receive a terrible present
- I don’t need expensive things, just things I like!
- Discarded presents have an impact on the environment
- Communicating what you want can be awkward
An eCommerce application with social networking features
To help consumers find that special gift for that special someone, the product design team devised a plan to create an eCommerce app that would include chat functionality similar to WhatsApp and Viber.
Limited resources = outsourcing
With the product team (a team of just 20) already consumed by other projects, the UX was outsourced to a UX agency. They were at the final stages of Wireframe development when I joined the team in 2018.
The external team had done a great job realising the concept, however, there were some minor flaws with some of the user flows as there were conflicting business requirements.
Small budget, big dreams
At this point in the project, we were already at risk of overspend, and I agreed we would do the UX changes whilst creating the UI. This proved to be a challenge for a design team very ingrained in the traditional waterfall methodology of “Wireframe must be complete before UI starts”. Management had decreed we had just one week to deliver UI. For an eCommerce app, this is not feasible – I had estimated 6 weeks for a full UI with UI style guide and brand guide.
I negotiated as best I could with all the key stakeholders. Could developers just work from a UI style guide and the lo-fi wireframe? No. Could developers solve the UX problems themselves? No. Could I pull all the designers off all their current projects and pull together to deliver a full UI as quick as possible? Yes. I was given 2.5 weeks to deliver. This was not an outcome I had hoped for, but I thought it could be a great opportunity for the design team to work hard together and find pride in achieving the impossible!
Uncovering UX problems
I wanted to catch as many UX problems as I could before development started. I wrote a series of use cases to test the wireframe and this helped uncover some problems. 😬
Some problems were minor, such as not being able to delete old credit card details in the cart. Others were more significant, such as not being able to add an alternative delivery address in the cart.
Allowing the gift giver to add an address
There were other problems caused by conflicting requirements. For privacy reasons the address of a gift receiver is hidden, so there is no way for the gift giver to confirm the address and not everyone who signs up will necessarily enter an address, as they may skip onboarding. The problem was easily solved by allowing the gift sender to add an address if there wasn’t one already.
I also instructed designers to follow the conventions of Australian address formatting, as our target market was Australia. We also implemented Google Maps address API for better accuracy and usability. To do so, we needed to add an additional address form for those odd occasions Google gets it wrong.
Showing changes in UI to address details
Changes to Social Media platforms and usage
As users started leaving Snapchat in 2018, we decided not to integrate the GiftBoard reactions with it.
Changes to the Facebook API over privacy concerns meant we could no longer pull Facebook friend’s birthdays, which required us to make further alterations to the user flow and UI.
Expanding events functionality
Some stakeholders pushed against the events banner on the top of the homepage, but I supported the external UX team in this decision. It’s a key buying trigger. The banner would tap through to an events page. We expanded on this to allow for setting reminders.
Missing from the wireframe was a notifications page. We also needed to create a way of getting there – so we put an icon in the top nav of the home page.
Pushing the UI to fun-level!
The brand designer had done a great job of creating a modern clean aesthetic that had plenty of personality. Included in the style guide was a comprehensive list of icons and illustrations. I directed the UI designer to leverage this and improve the aesthetics of the app.
Where is the app now?
This app got fairly close – it was about 80% developed. It needed back end work and some logistical/business problems needed to be ironed out. Behind every eCommerce app is a team of customer service and logistics personnel and infrastructure which requires significant investment. And continued investment became a problem. Thus the app never made it to the app store.