KATHERINE LINCOLN JEWELRY
eCommerce Website, Case Study
Based in Brooklyn, New York, Katherine Lincoln Jewelry creates hand-sculpted jewelry that seeks to create unique, timeless pieces from quality materials. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Elle, the Victoria’s Secret runway, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, and Papercut Magazine. I redesigned her website to create a new intuitive eCommerce system that transformed its performance into an impactful experience.
Users wanted Lincoln's eCommerce store to be seamless and enjoyable on all devices.
Many clients were contacting her via email to buy her jewelry for sale from the website because they couldn't figure out how to purchase them directly through the shopping cart checkout system. This caused Lincoln extra work to reply to each inquiry, distracted from her actual work in creating the jewelry, and wasn't using the website in the way that it was intended. Furthermore, Lincoln was rapidly losing prospective clients in the process.
How could the new website redesign resolve these challenges, as well as to help Katherine Lincoln Jewelry differentiate from competitors?
I reconstructed Lincoln's eCommerce system to give users an engaging and straightforward online shopping experience.
After conducting extensive research and usability testing, I created a streamlined checkout process for her jewelry collections, simplified the website's navigation, reorganized its information architecture, and composed a dynamic design.
User Interviews; User Testing; User Research & Site Analytics; Persona & Scenario Modeling; Brand Development; Wireframes; Prototype; Experience Design; Concept Design; Interaction Design; UX Strategy
HTML; CSS; Sketch; Photoshop; Illustrator; Invision; Ethn.io; Basecamp; Dropbox
Web Designer & Brand Strategist
Over the course of my research, I discovered the book "E-Commerce User Experience" written by User Advocate and Principal of the Nielsen Norman Group, Jakob Nielsen. This immersion informed how to best strategize the creation of an eCommerce store experience to generate revenue for Lincoln's business.
During the next several months until the launch of Lincoln's re-designed website, I set to achieve and implement three main research goals:
Understand the necessary re-structuring of the website's navigation for the shopper to quickly and easily purchase products
Uncover the pain points experienced by users when interacting with her store
Recognize the functionalities users find most vital in shaping a harmonious eCommerce system
I conducted 5 interviews with Katherine Lincoln's clients, 3 user tests, and 2 contextual inquiries. Participants discussed their process in entering the website, immediate impressions, searching for products, the checkout system, custom order confirmations, and the shipping experience. The user tests shed light on discordances in the system and other relevant observations.
Based on the insights gathered from each user interview, test, and contextual inquiry, I created three key customers to focus Katherine Lincoln's target market. Each user has different eCommerce store needs that Katherine Lincoln Jewelry can provide for a personalized online shopping experience.
Wants to explore one-of-a-kind jewelry designs
Uses the eCommerce store to see new arrivals
Likes to complement individual style
Wants to be different and stand out from the norm
Engaged customer with a fashion-forward attitude
Wants to shop for exotic pieces that integrate diverse trends
Needs to vocalize international perspective in each piece
Likes Lincoln´s influence of African masks and patterns
Enjoys modernizing her ethnic attire with metal jewelry
Loves to spread brand awareness in social circles
Wants to shop for sophisticated and high-quality pieces
Needs to accessorize business attire with classy details
Likes to make a statement with glamorous jewelry
Enjoys differentiating herself in her workplace
Needs practical and lightweight options to fit her busy lifestyle
After collecting audio recordings and videos I began to synthesize my findings. To determine what features were most important for Lincoln's customers, I divided the affinity diagram into the following six sections: Routine, Frustrations, Environment, Devices/Tech, Wants/Needs, and eCommerce Stores. The colored sticky notes represented different levels of importance to the user, as well as how frequently the user mentioned a particular aspect in our interviews. The magenta notes marked the highest degree, and then downwards to pink, yellow, green, and blue.
Users care about features that enable quick access to purchasing products.
Users want zero delays in their product checkout process and expect the system designed to facilitate this.
Store should have clear product names, a call to action button and price for each product, product images with a zoom-in feature and multiple angles, the option to select the quantity, search engine optimized product descriptions, and social media integration to spread brand awareness for their friends, which in reflecting on this, would increase Katherine Lincoln's website traffic and lead to higher sales conversions.
Navigation needs to be restructured to clearly present Lincoln's store inventory and optimize the checkout process.
Users want a horizontal navigation bar to stay frozen at the top of the website while scrolling downwards, as well as to categorize the jewelry line in a vertical menu on the far left side of each interior page.
Clear menu navigation must be visible at all times
Minimalist eCommerce store design must be intuitive to use
Integrate diverse patterns and showcase ethnic influences
Large full-screen images that make a statement
An elegant, sexy, and sleek design that grabs attention
Feature hand-sculpted and one-of-a-kind pieces
Jewelry eCommerce websites are oftentimes loaded with sales-oriented information and evoke a cold feeling without voicing the artist's authentic image, purpose, and inspiration. While an eCommerce store must direct the user to buy the product, the core vision behind its items for sale must be exhibited in tandem.
Websites that sell feminine jewelry lines such as Maria Black, Fallon Jewelry, Rebecca Pinto, Jacquie Aiche, Maria Hoffman, Pamela Love,and Monica Péan feature either large disorienting images that immerse the user in a visually over-the-top experience, distract the shopper with excessive pop-up discounts, or they jump right into the store without creating an informative space that expresses the artist's individual style.
Online shopping experiences that attach excessive pop-up discounts and exclusive offers have a higher bounce rate than the ones that answer the user's purpose in discovering the brand's style and ultimately deciding to purchase the artwork.
One of the main issues is that shoppers are not provided with a combination of accessibility to the eCommerce store's checkout system and an illustrative background about the artist's creative process.
After research, I observed was that most shoppers view their online experience as a space to visit, buy, and check out. Thus I've defined an eCommerce store as an online shopping experience that that contains intuitively accessible products, a smooth checkout system, and an interactive design that presents the artist's story behind each creation for sale.
I sketched ideas to create a Mind Map that organized each design concept. In generating these ideas, I formed solutions to improving Katherine Lincoln's website and formed a deeper understanding of the problems experienced by users of her eCommerce store.
My approach to the concept validation was to compose a storyboard. Starting with a blank sheet of paper, I put 3 sticky notes on it. Each sticky note represented one frame in the storyboard. I looked back at my Mind Map and found the best ideas. In more detail, I illustrated one of these ideas and drew three frames on the storyboard that showed a step-by-step progression. The storyboard was created to stand alone and make sense by itself. I chose to sketch the process in which users would undergo smoothly in order to purchase items from Lincoln's eCommerce store.
After presenting each of my concepts to Katherine Lincoln, she provided clear directions on my wireframe sketches and prioritized my scope to Experience Mapping and eCommerce Information Architecture. These services shaped the next steps in redesigning her website.
Reiterate & Test
In an effort to combine my ideas, I merged potential solutions together in a subsequent sketch. Based on feedback from users and Lincoln, I implemented a new horizontal site map, vertical side-bar navigation on the shop pages organized by product categories, and customizable product features in the eCommerce store system for these next iterations.
I conducted 5 usability tests and here were my key insights:
Users thought the onboarding was accessible, but felt like the design needed a few font changes.
Users envisioned alphabetizing the shop sub-pages for quicker accessibility.
Users liked to see the top left vertical side menu bar on the shop category pages, which stayed frozen while scrolling.
They like the homepage framework and attention-grabbing impact as a first impression for shoppers.
There was confusion with regards to the differentiation between Bridal and Customized jewelry.
Based on insights from several sessions of usability testing, I created a high-fidelity prototype to present to Katherine Lincoln.
Before & After
While Katherine Lincoln was thrilled with the website's redesign, I also shared the following recommendations which we intend on addressing in the future.
Develop a mobile app to increase the accessibility of her eCommerce store.
Add more images of the jewelry worn by models to each product's individual description page.
Enable store filtering features, such as sorting products by popularity and price for the user.
Provide additional out of box information, such as video demonstrations of the jewelry worn by models on the website.