A community of inspiration

Project Overview

Easy Custom Sweatshirt is a responsive website for custom sweatshirt design that I created as part of my Google UX Design Certificate course. As the sole UX designer, I designed this project from inception to final design through research, ideation, and UX design principles.

Duration: 1 Month

Methods: Locate and review pre-existing options, interviews, wireframing, usability studies, affinity mapping, and prototyping

Tools: Adobe XD

The Problem

It is not always easy to find inspiration for designing a custom sweatshirt. Then, when you do have a design you are happy with, you need to find an easy-to-use platform to submit your design for fabrication. Wouldn't it be great if a custom sweatshirt design website maintained designs of other users as examples, and presented them as potential "community inspiration".

The Solution

Easy Custom Sweatshirt is aimed to promote a design community with a platform that allows users to easily share and find sweatshirt design ideas. The users who want to create custom-designed sweatshirts can relate to each other, as people who don't like 'plain or standard' and want something unique. Thinking of a unique design can be difficult, but being able to view inspiration from others can be an amazing benefit to users' creativity.

Design Process

Research

I interviewed potential users to better understand their needs and existing pain points surrounding the design of and submission of a custom sweatshirt design.

I then did a competitive analysis of both direct (other custom clothing websites) and indirect (customizable items that are NOT clothing) competitors to understand what was currently available to users in the marketplace, and if there were any opportunities to improve what is available.

Pain Points
1
Users often have trouble designing their sweatshirt

Often a user creating a custom sweatshirt may be unsure of the final design they wish to order. They lack access to see other design options, and wonder how theirs will turn out.

2
Requirements for brand standards are sometimes missing

Many business customers using customization websites have strict brand standards they need to abide by. Some clothing customization sites offer limited options.

3
Existing platforms aren’t always intuitive

Users who don’t often create custom sweatshirts have no loyalty and search through many available options. However many do not provide an easy, intuitive process to customize.

1
Users often have trouble designing their sweatshirt

Often a user creating a custom sweatshirt may be unsure of the final design they wish to order. They lack access to see other design options, and wonder how theirs will turn out.

2
Requirements for brand standards are sometimes missing

Many business customers using customization websites have strict brand standards they need to abide by. Some clothing customization sites offer limited options.

3
Existing platforms aren’t always intuitive

Users who don’t often create custom sweatshirts have no loyalty and search through many available options. However many do not provide an easy, intuitive process to customize.

Research

User Persona: Kyle

Kyle is a marketing manager who needs to order custom company swag for his company because his company management loves creating a sense of company pride and growing the company culture.

Goals
  • Quickly and effectively order new company swag for the office and remote team.

  • Ensure swag items meet brand standards and look good.

  • Pay a competitive price.

  • Save the logo for future use.

Frustrations
  • Other custom sites don't offer options that fit brand standards.

  • User interface for design customization is not friendly.

Age: 38

Education: BA Marketing

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Family: 1 Spouse

Occupation: Marketing Manager

Kyle is a marketing manager for a small-medium business. He is very savvy with technology and is a very creative person. He is very busy throughout the day strategizing and implementing marketing strategies for normal business operations, that he has little time for ‘extra-curricular’ needs. He is always interested in researching the best platforms to complete various tasks.

User Persona: Gayle

Gayle is a teacher who leads several extracurricular student groups who needs to order custom sweatshirts because she and her students wear them to events, on field trips, and just to commemorate the year.

Goals
  • Wants to be able to conveniently find and try new, local restaurants while traveling.

  • Wants to utilize pictures of dishes to help him decide what to order.

Frustrations
  • Doesn't know what any popular dishes are at the local restaurants.

  • Doesn't know what to expect solely on reading the text-based menu descriptions.

User Persona: Gayle

Gayle is a teacher who leads several extracurricular student groups who needs to order custom sweatshirts because she and her students wear them to events, on field trips, and just to commemorate the year.

Age: 45

Education: BA in Education

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Family: 1 spouse & 2 children

Occupation: High School Teacher

Age: 45

Education: BA in Education

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Family: 1 spouse & 2 children

Occupation: High School Teacher

Jimmy owns a business. Every few months he needs to travel for business, and he is generally too tired to go out to eat when he arrives. He enjoys finding new local restaurants to try to get a taste of the local flavor. Because he likes trying new things, he doesn't always know how to expect a dish will look without seeing a picture of it. Jimmy really likes using pictures to reassure him that he will enjoy what he orders.

Jimmy owns a business. Every few months he needs to travel for business, and he is generally too tired to go out to eat when he arrives. He enjoys finding new local restaurants to try to get a taste of the local flavor. Because he likes trying new things, he doesn't always know how to expect a dish will look without seeing a picture of it. Jimmy really likes using pictures to reassure him that he will enjoy what he orders.

Ideate

I enjoyed brainstorming concepts to improve the sweatshirt customization process. I knew there aren’t many differentiators in terms of the available designing/creation platforms, and decided to focus on the idea of community and shared inspiration.

Along with using the "how can we" exercise, I enjoyed completing a timed crazy eights activity to promote raw creativity to begin the homepage design.

Prototype

Low-Fidelity Prototype

Prototype link available further below with the revised low-fidelity prototypes

Test

Usability Study Research Questions
  • Was the process of designing a custom sweatshirt straightforward and easy to understand?

  • How quickly were you able to complete the process of designing a custom sweatshirt?

  • Were the customization options clear and easy to use?

  • Were there any customization options missing that you would have liked to see?

Participants

5 participants that:

  • Have full-time jobs

  • Has prior experience creating their own sweatshirts before using an online platform

  • Have access to a desktop, laptop, or a mobile device with internet access.

Methadology

Length: 5-10 minutes

Location: United States, Remote

Type: Unmoderated Usability Study

Users were asked to follow a series of prompts and provide feedback in between some prompts.

Usability Study Results Affinity Map
Usability Study Findings
Users were curious about how much freedom they had on the design platform.
  • Users were curious about color matching, uploading a logo, adding text, and etc.

Although there were not any available designs, users were intrigued by the idea of seeing the design community for inspiration.

Users validated the idea of seeing other designs as confidence boosters to their designs or inspiration for them to start a design.

Insight: Users want good customization capabilities

Users have different tastes and preferences, so we need to be able to allow modifications to the dishes before checkout. Users also want to confirm the changes are in place before submitting the order.

Insight: Users are interested in seeing other completed designs for inspiration.
Action: I added fields such as the Hex Code # to ensure a wide availability of customization options.
Action: I wanted to ensure the community section was on the homepage above-the-fold and in the header menu - so that users could easily navigate to utilize this feature.

Conclusion

Exploring this eCommerce conceptual project was interesting due to my last role with a startup online marketplace. I participated in weekly site development meetings - and appreciated many strategies useful for merchandising and displaying products. Although there were not many apparel items on my previous company’s marketplace, I liked the idea of creating and improving upon the online shopping experience.

Next Steps

The next steps for this project would be to perform another round of usability testing, adding additional preset shapes/logos, and considering the business aspects - such as deciding where the apparel will come from; will Easy Custom Sweatshirt source the products and customize in-house, or would they instead find a partner(s) to provide the apparel to be customized?