Williams-Sonoma Microsite Redesign
Slicing the Stress Out of Buying Knives!
Purchasing knives as gifts on the Williams-Sonoma website can be an overwhelming experience with the abundance of inconsistent and confusing choices. There needs to be a better system in place which allows individuals to purchase the knives they actually need.
I looked at three of Williams Sonoma's national competitors who have an online presence. Based on the user's pain points and needs stated above, I looked at four areas that were critical in designing a quality product: choice, simple pricing, simple layout, and customer service.
The Cooks Warehouse
Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Sur La Table
-The Cooks Warehouse has the simplest checkout process. Featuring straightforward instructions, it reduces potential for user error and customer confusion.
-Bed Bath and Beyond is known for their customer service, and this is reflected throughout their website. The user is never a click away from getting the support needed during the shopping process.
-Sur La Table is the clear winner with knife selection, and once on a specific type of knife (chefs knife, for example), there are a variety of choices to choose from, including the ability to sort by what the knife is being used for (the pain point in an overwhelming knife-buying experience).
Open Card Sort
I administered an open card sort to understand how a user perceives knives categorization. I divided up 90 different types of knives, based on 7 different categories, including chefs knife, bread knife, cheese knife, boning knife, paring knife, vegetable knife, and citrus knife.
Two users taking part in an open card sort
Results overwhelmingly showed that users had trouble figuring out where the majority 90 different knives were supposed to be placed, especially when it came to knives like paring knives and boning knives (lesser used knives by the general public).
Closed Card Sort
I regrouped to re-categorize knives based on their understanding of the knives functions. Users participating in this experiment had a much easier time labeling the different knives based on function versus title.
I engaged knife users into an affinity mapping session. This allowed for further categorization and reaffirmation of knife ordering. Upon completion, categories were: 1.) beef, poultry, and fish 2.) fruits and vegetables 3.) cheese and spreads 4.) bread 5.) multipurpose. This categorization provides users a system that is simple and easy to navigate.
I had users walk me through their typical journey in the knife buying process. This provided me a clear perspective on what was important in the buying process (customer service, clear description of products, easy check-out system) and what pain points to avoid (item overload, too many choices, a lack of brand loyalty).
Once I had a better understanding of my users’ needs, I began to start designing my actual solution. I started with the sitemap initially, with the new categories being accounted for.
Reducing customer drop-off, the user experience requires less clicks to action. Encouraging user return rate, a loyalty program and seamless customer experience was implemented.
After laying out the information architecture in a clear and concise path, I began to sketch with good old fashioned pencil and paper.
Sketches pictured here are the homepage (left) and multipurpose knives page (right)
I converted my sketches into actual low-fidelity wireframes to start to put together a product that could actually be utilized on a low-level scale.
Homepage wireframe, taking into account data collected from card sorts: 5 simple categories based on knife usage, along with a central image, and categories with featured knives, pricing, and ratings below
Order Confirmation wireframe, with an option to enter email address for future purchases and to keep customer engaged
Check-out wireframe on one simple page, which reduces customer burnout and drop-off
To ensure that my design was feasible and usability standards were being met, I conducted seven user tests with my microsite, each time getting helpful feedback.
After analyzing user feedback, iterations were made to best fit the users' needs. My design offers seamless navigation and a loyalty rewards program, providing a service other companies don't. By offering a simple solution with less global choice to purchasing knives, my site encourages users to purchase with confidence.
Homepage, featuring clear and concise knife categories across the header, a clean, appealing main image, and featured knives within categories going down the page
Simple footer, featuring the company backstory, customer service options, where to shop, and promise of quality
Product page featuring knives also purchased by others who have purchased this knife previously
Product page with reviews, product details, and images
Confirmation page, encouraging customer loyalty and continuous shopping experiences through email enticement
Work with Williams-Sonoma to get an in-depth analysis of how knife sales have changed since implementation.
Administer surveys to collect data based on customer satisfaction regarding changes to knife microsite.