So the first class project I created focuses on user research & usability testing. I had originally scoped out Home Depot as our first ‘client’ to conduct usability testing on — in particular, I was curious how the online/offline (clicks vs bricks) would pan out in terms of experience. But after spending way too much time just trying to get ahold of someone with authority at the warren-like Cambie St location, it was with a lot of happiness & relief that I instead found a non-profit organization (more about them next week) who welcomed our help.
Since our ‘client’ is in the business of selling food to consumers, this week’s class involved a trip to Whole Foods to analyze their experience and as a way to kickstart some ideas about things the students could possibly test and who they might test it on. I’ve always personally had a love-hate relationship with the retailer, but never really took the time to understand the “love” end of that spectrum. After spending almost two hours in there store taking a really good and deep look at everything, I started to see why the attraction persists (despite my best attempts at foiling it).
I asked the students to look at it with the following questions in mind:
- What do you notice first when you walk in? Is this positive, neutral or negative?
- Describe the aesthetic.
- Who do you think this appeals to?
- What is the quality of the store wayfinding (how do they categorize products? How are aisles labeled? Maps?) Do you find it easy or hard to find products?
- Do you notice any signage? How are products featured? Sale products? Sale flyers?
- How do they convince you to try/buy new products?
- What are some examples of well-designed “features” of the store?
- Why do you think people choose to shop here? List as many reasons as you can think of.
I did the exercise myself and was dumbfounded at all the “data” I collected. In fact, I had so many thoughts, ideas and associations that I now recognize that I could probably spend hours compiling all of it…which I just may do. Now just to find a few spare hours…
Interested in the User Experience course I’m teaching? Here’s my previous post: