Problem

Executives had invited a team of store designers, marketers, graphic designers, business developers and myself to a two-day workshop, focused on pushing the boundaries of the existing e-commerce platform. From past experience, however, I reserved some scepticism towards the notion of putting a team together around a blank slate, let alone a team dominated by so-called “creatives”. Subsequently, I took the initiative to develop a framework to benchmark ideas and initiatives against.

Solution

A brainstorming sheet that outlines critical user journeys.

Conceptually, at Bestseller (and I would venture to guess the same goes for most other e-com companies) we worked with three types of pages: landing pages, product listing pages (PLPs), and product description pages (PDPs). This trichotomy served as the point of departure for my research. I took to Google Analytics to search for patterns that related to the three types of pages, and further mapped them out around traffic sources. Looking at some of the key metrics around these, such as bounce rates, exit rates, and conversions, I developed a few very general user stories around the most traffic heavy page segments. These would then serve as a benchmark for the more open-minded discussions at the workshop. Specifically, once an idea got brewing, we would pause and consult this framework to see if we were in fact improving a user journey.

This framework — while it could have obviously been improved by also encompassing qualitative research — served as a fairly cost-effective method for keeping the conversation centered around actual user needs. It helped us avoid spending valuable time going off tangents that might have been interesting from a creative viewpoint, but wouldn’t help the user to accomplish her goals.