Applied Interaction Design
Illustration by John Hersey
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Comparing the original site to the improved site


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Applied Interaction Design

with David Hogue

Video: Comparing the original site to the improved site

So we made a lot of improvements to the original Hansel and Petal website. And before we go it might be helpful to just step back and take a look at the full experience of the original website. And compare that to the improvements that we made. Now remember at the very beginning, we created a customer scenario for ourselves, a husband who needs to buy two bouquets as gifts. And that guided our evaluation of the site, and it actually also helped inform our design decisions. So, on the original site now, we wanted to buy some arrangements. We decided to buy Mixed Roses, and so we eventually navigated to the Rose page. We noticed that there was information about the designers, and so we were able to learn about the designers who work at Hansel and Petal. We were concerned that maybe buying an Orchid would not be a good idea, because there was a lot of care involved in Orchids.

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Watch the Online Video Course Applied Interaction Design
1h 49m Beginner Jul 11, 2013

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Dave Hogue has been studying how people interact with digital devices and interfaces for over 15 years, and knows how design can make or break a website. In this course, he shares a hands-on approach to improving interaction design for a better user experience on the web. This course breaks down the components of an example site, from its homepage to categories, content, and the shopping cart, and introduces common customer scenarios that can be used to identify opportunities for improvement. You'll learn how to enhance navigation, gather feedback after interactions, manage content layers, and add features such as infinite scrolling, collapsible modules, and dynamic content to enrich the user's experience. Then compare the before and after websites to understand why these techniques make them more engaging and effective.

Topics include:
  • Defining a customer scenario
  • Improving navigation
  • Working with content in grids
  • Establishing a sense of place on category pages
  • Exploring infinite scroll and pagination methods
  • Using tooltips to deliver contextual content
  • Working with light boxes and layers
  • Improving form structure
  • Handling errors and presenting effective error messages
  • Comparing the original site to the enhanced site
Subject:
Web
Author:
David Hogue

Comparing the original site to the improved site

So we made a lot of improvements to the original Hansel and Petal website. And before we go it might be helpful to just step back and take a look at the full experience of the original website. And compare that to the improvements that we made. Now remember at the very beginning, we created a customer scenario for ourselves, a husband who needs to buy two bouquets as gifts. And that guided our evaluation of the site, and it actually also helped inform our design decisions. So, on the original site now, we wanted to buy some arrangements. We decided to buy Mixed Roses, and so we eventually navigated to the Rose page. We noticed that there was information about the designers, and so we were able to learn about the designers who work at Hansel and Petal. We were concerned that maybe buying an Orchid would not be a good idea, because there was a lot of care involved in Orchids.

So we decided to build a custom bouquet. And we created a custom bouquet, we added it to our cart. We confirmed that these were the items that we wanted, and we proceeded into the Checkout process. This was a functional experience. This worked, this web site was able to make transactions and sell flowers to people. But this was not an optimized or an efficient, or even a really good interactive experience. So, the changes that we made. Do you remember on the homepage we gave people control of the carousel? We allowed them to choose which slide they were looking at.

We used multiple signals, the arrows and the dots can be used to navigate. We drew attention with the badges on the bouquet so that people know what is new and what is for sale. And we improved the functionality and the content in the footer for search engine optimization. And for signing up for the newsletter. We also made it much easier to navigate through the site. Remember, we originally struggled with mouse channels. And we had to keep our mouse in those tiny little spaces. But now we're able to see the full array of flowers and arrangements that are sold. And we can navigate easily now into the Mixed Roses page. We also improved the content on the arrangements and on the mixed arrangements pages.

We gave people control of the carousel, and we implemented infinite scroll. So that we don't have to go from page to page to page and remember, where was that bouquet that I liked? I think it was on page three, now it's all right here in front of us. On the Mixed Roses page, we added additional content to help people understand better what they were buying. And we added the functionality that allows them to see the alternate colors, so they know exactly what they are buying. On the Designers page, we made it easier for people to navigate from one designer's story to another, and to see all of the images in nice large views. We eliminated pogo-sticking and we used layers, much more effectively for the content.

On the Care Tips page, when we were trying to figure out if we wanted to buy an Orchid or not, we used a more readable layout for the content. And instead of using the tiny little accordion pane that caused a lot of cognitive friction and memory load. We gave people the ability to control how much content they were viewing at a time by using collapsible panels. Now, we also understood the context of the experience by allowing them to download a PDF of the instructions, or even print all of the instructions.

Because we recognized, people may want to take this information with them. On the Build a Bouquet, we made the functionality much closer to what the mental model is. What are the flowers that I can choose, what are the flowers that I have chosen. And so we were able to much more easily create a custom bouquet and add that to our shopping basket. And on the Shopping Basket, we were able to improve the information that was presented, by including images of the flowers that were to be purchased.

And including an itemized summary of the costs for this purchase, even the ability to add a coupon code. And finally when we entered the checkout process, we added status and progress indicators. How many steps are there, where am I now, how much more is there to go. We improved the order summary information, we made more meaningful form field labels. We even changed the size of the form fields, and we added a calender wizard using structured inputs. To make sure that people don't try to choose a date that we couldn't actually ship their flowers to them.

So, from start to finish, the Hansel and Petal website is now much more interactive, much more effective, and a much more enjoyable experience.

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