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Web Design

House 2 Home Case Study

Platform: Desktop

Duration: 1 Week Design Sprint

Introducing House 2 Home web design to allow new homeowners design their space like a pro on a budget.

H2H, an e-commerce startup that wants to help people decorate their homes easily. This design sprint is a modified GV design sprint. The research and background information was provided by Bitesize UX. As a solo UI/UX designer I focused on synthesizing the research, storyboarding, finding a solution, prototype and conducting user tests.

Role
UX/UI Designer
Client
House 2 Home
Tools Used
Figma
Objective

Customers want to create a cohesive interior but find it difficult to put products together on their own, especially staying within a reasonable budget.

  • “I want to buy things that will actually look good in my living room, not just in photos.” - Anna, 23
  • “Right when you first move in, it’s kind of overwhelming. It’s sad because the place looks empty and boring.” - Chelsea, 24
  • “My ideal solution would be to hire an interior designer, honestly. I have a good eye but it’s hard to pull it all together.” - Ally, 26
Solution
  • House2Home combines the functionality of purchasing products within the users budget and viewing their space virtually with products in place before committing.
  • Help users that want a "starter kit" of multiple products to decorate their living space.
  • Most House2Home products are $10 - $50. House2Home focuses on decorative products and accessories, they don't sell furniture, appliances, or other large pieces.
Design Constraints

To design a website, starting with designs for larger screens (desktop & laptop).

Journey Mapping

The goal of House2Home is to make new homeowners experience enjoyable when decorating their new homes. With this in mind and based on the research, I started at the end for the long term goal: to sell a starter kit to customers.

Key highlights from user interviews
Persona

Behavior

  • Ally graduated college one month ago, and has since moved into her first rented apartment, a small studio in Chicago, where she lives by herself.
  • Before moving in, she was really excited to decorate her apartment, especially since it would be the first time living alone, with her "own" space.
  • Ally browses Pinterest for ideas on how to decorate her apartment, and saves photos of apartments and rooms she likes -mostly, small spaces that felt bright and lively.
  • Ally puts time aside to shop for decorations for her apartment, but gets overwhelmed 
  • quickly and decides to "do it another time"

Frustrations

  • Ally knows the "look" she wants - but she doesn't know the right things to buy to achieve that with her apartment.
  • The photos she saves of inspiration usually have more decorative pieces than she could ever afford. How can she get a similar look, on a budget?
  • Ally wants to buy some decorative items that will have an impact on her apartment, but she doesn't want to (or, isn't allowed to) make big changes like painting, or renovation.
  • Ally sees lots of small items she likes, but never buys them because she doesn't know if they will look good together in her space.

Goals

  • Ally wants to give a quick "facelift" to her apartment, without needing to shop for lots of individual items
  • Ally wants to find decorative items in her budget that will give her apartment the look & feel she wants.
Strategy

I then began with lightning demos; looking at different companies for inspiration and possible solutions.


Modsy: Modsy provides a style quiz that allows the user to understand their taste in style before their expert begins designing. This could be helpful for users to better understand what they like. Modsy also provides blogs and articles with tips, layouts, guides, and how tos for designing.

West Elm: West Elm gives a 3D rendering option that allows the user to choose the size of their room and drag products to the 3D room. The downside of this could be difficult for someone who is not too tech savvy. It is easy to drag and drop products but getting the sizing and spacing right could be difficult. 


Pinterest: Pinterest allows the user to create boards and save pins with all of your inspiration. You can even get linked directly to the website to purchase a product. The user can browse through pins and find similar pins by clicking on the magnify glass. A lot of users are familiar with Pinterest and how the site works.

Crazy 8 Method
Storyboarding

After going through my designs from the crazy 8’s, I chose to find a storyboard solution for the starter kit where users can select multiple products and there will be a total and remaining amount that will calculate according to their budget.

Screen 1: The user can browse through the filtered collections.

Screen 2: The user can select products within their budget and don’t have to do any calculations. There is a panel on the left where they can select products and the total amount will add up and will also show how much the user has remaining from their budget.

Screen 3: The user can either add these products to their cart or drag them to their virtual room to see how they look in their virtual space before purchasing.

Decide

After going through the research, it is clear that the majority of the users struggle staying within budget as well as feeling like they can fill up their space cohesively. I wanted to address these pain points through different stages of the design process.

The user is asked to take a quick quiz of their style and what they find appealing. From there, the user uploads a photo of the space. The user can shop within budget or browse through different categories. With the products selected the user can drag and drop the products in their virtual space. This allows them to get an idea of what their new space will look like before committing to a purchase. The user can also save products to boards to view later.



Prototype

For the prototype I focused on using images that mimic other interior design websites such as Modsy, Pinterest and West Elm. Doing this allows the user to feel comfortable with a startup and they feel they have that source of inspiration. The process is meant to empower the user to feel like they are their own designer and in control of the decor process. I challenged myself to use Figma, a new tool to create the screens and prototype.



Test

To better understand and gain empathy for the target group, I proceeded in conducting research through structured interviews.

I recruited 5 people on Day 1 who live alone or with a roommate, 4 female participants and 1 male participant all in their mid-late twenties. All five usability tests were conducted remotely through a Zoom and Facetime call.


Some questions that were asked:

  • What were your thoughts and feelings when you moved into your new place?
  • Do you keep a budget for things you purchase or need to purchase?
  • How does budgeting work for you?
  • How did you go about decorating your space?
  • What were your thoughts and feelings in the process of decorating?


“In the beginning of the process I did a lot of research and wanted to buy everything but with my budget I had to cut some stuff off but I'm still happy with what I have. Sometimes i’ll move things around and buy a couple of things.” - Alexis, 27

“I like looking at nice homes and decor but i just couldn't do it myself cause i don’t have that artistic ability to put multiple things in one room that look cohesive so i had to ask a couple of my friends for help.” - Asia, 25

“At one point we wanted to buy everything we saw but we had to remind ourselves is it worth it, is it within our budget, etc. If we had an interior designer to understand our taste, it would be nice to take that load off our shoulders.” - Allie, 29

“It was definitely frustrating and stressful because i had to stay within budget and i wasn't able to buy everything at once, i had to buy products every 2-3 weeks after we got our paychecks and set our budget aside. We completed everything in 2 months but i wish it didn't take that long.” - Paris, 25

“I’m ok with just the bare minimum but helping my girlfriend was fun, wasn't as stressful as i thought since we’re both young and live in the city we did keep money aside for this so we had a head start.” - Miller, 26


Key Findings

By asking the questions during the user test I found out the users were excited to live on their own or with a roommate but they knew this came with more responsibility and it was going to be expensive. All users had somewhat a difficult process when decorating their new place. All users struggled staying within budget and felt frustrated when they went over. Budgeting works well for all the users but it is still difficult to stay within limits.


The prototype was ultimately a success with no major issues. The suggestions from the test consisted of the following key findings:


  • Adding more descriptions for the products.
  • Feature of being able to see your .
  • Viewing 3D render of space.
  • Being able to upload a photo of their space and dragging products.




PROCESS & UNDERSTANDING

During the process of creating House2Home I was able to have conversations with a few people and understand their thoughts about the home decor process. I stumbled through the process of solving the virtual space frame. Once I understood how other well-known home decor companies did, it was easy for me to implement that key idea into a major frame. The design sprint is an efficient process to test if a design idea works or not and I would love to use it for my next client project if applicable.


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