Christine Phan

west elm

Organizing a wedding can be an overwhelming experience. Creating a registry shouldn’t be one of them. west elm launched its registry two years ago. Whilst it is a functional registry, it lacks engagement and is limited to weddings. The organizers are not able to personalize an event page nor prioritize the list based on their needs. On the guest’s side, the registry looks transactional and the gift classification makes it difficult to consult.

Our team was commissioned to create an interface that highlights the organizers’ personality, to increase engagement for both organizers and guests, and to build a solution that will cater for a wider range of life events.

SKILLSResearch, interviews, personas, user flows, sitemap, sketching, wireframes, testing storyboard, prototype.

Latest work
west elm main image

Solution

Video

1. Discovery

Competitive_Analysis_icon Competitive Analysis

We performed a site audit and compared west elm to its competitors to see how they approach the same subject. We then followed by drawing user’s journeys and an emotional map for both organizers and guests. Some of the competitors we analyzed were Crate & Barrel, Thankful registry, Zola and buy buy BABY.

Features_Analysis_icon Feature Analysis

We analyzed more in-depth the current website, to understand how users interact. We then compared services provided to the competitors to confirm our feature roadmap. Here is an example of the feature analysis we have performed.

Features

Crate and Barrel
zola registry
thankful registry
buy buy Baby

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Registry profile

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Notification

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Most wanted item flag

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Inspiration guides

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Gift tracker

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Event page personalization

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Personal information - gender, age, DOB

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Multiple type of event

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Grouped delivery

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Filter

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Thank you note manager

interview_icon Interviews

To build the right experience for this version of the registry, we needed to understand what organizers and guests are looking for in a wedding registry. We interviewed both and here are some of the key findings:

Key findings Organizers

  • Organizers want to be informed when a gift has been bought, sent, out of stock or not available.
  • Having a way to group package delivery.
  • Receive inspirations based on themes and their lifestyle.

Key findings Guests

  • Guests want to be able to filter by price and availability.
  • Being to see at a glance, what items are the most wanted by the couple without having to ask around.
  • Having different ways to view the registry.
personas_icon Personas

Being that two parties would be interacting with each other, it made sense to create personas representing both sides. Kate & Martin, event organizers who want to make their house more grown-up and Esther, event guest, sometimes unsure if her friends received her gift.

persona_kate_photo Kate, 28 Organizer-Bride Student in PhD in Psychology "Now it is time to make our house our home and make it more grown-up." Needs Flagging Most wanted items. Being informed when items are out of order. Receive and set notification for when gifts are going to be delivered. Receiving inspiration based on our lifestyle. Pain points View items out of stock or not available easily. Quick view of missing information needed to complete registry. No personalized event page.
persona_martin_photo Martin, 29 Organizer-Groom Software developer "Now it is time to make our house our home and make it more grown-up." Needs Flagging Most wanted items. Being informed when items are out of order. Receive and set notification for when gifts are going to be delivered. Receiving inspiration based on our lifestyle. Pain points View items out of stock or not available easily. Quick view of missing information needed to complete registry. No personalized event page.
persona_esther_photo Esther, 30 Guest Business manager "I am always a bit nervous and wonder if my friends received their gift." Needs Easy access to the registry. Viewing the registry in different ways. Being able to add a little note electronically. Being notified when my gift has been sent & received. Pain points Not receiving a notification when my gift has been sent. Can't differentiate a group gift easily. Having more filter options than just price.
userflow_and_sitemap_icon User flow & site map

User flow

To revisit the experience, we needed to visualize the current experience for the organizers and the guests, which expectations are very different. By drawing the user flows and site map, we knew that common features could be shared by both users.

Site map

We used the current site map as a baseline, restructured certain elements and embedded the new solution. We created a map, which has shared functionality between the organizers and guests. This will make the site more sustainable and scalable.

2. Ideation & Design

sketches_icon Sketches

We held daily sketching sessions during the 2 week sprint to create a seamless flow, focusing on the registration page for organizers, the organizers’ dashboard page, the registry and gift tracker page. The number of iterations varied on the pages to design.

Sketches

3. User Testing

We then turned our sketches into digital prototypes. To confirm our design decisions, we challenged our design by user testing the prototypes with organizers and guests.

icon_low_fi Digital prototype - low fi wireframes

After putting our iterated designs into a prototype, we challenged the placement of the iconography and elements. During testing, we asked users to perform the following tasks: create a new registry, add gifts to it or asking the organizers to return to their registry, and to also consult a registry for the guests.

Prototype low-fi
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Key findings

  1. Making the categories visible helped users navigate the information quicker e.g. inspiration guides, gift tracker.
  2. The event icon above the organizers’ photo looked crowded.
  3. “Most wanted“ item icon conveyed the wrong meaning e.g. discount or first prize rather than most wanted.
  4. Showing a dollar amount put pressure on the guests to contribute.
icon_hi_fi Digital prototype - high fi wireframes

This time, we challenged further the registry page and its color scheme. The testing focus was amending the registry, contributing to a gift and viewing a guest message for a gift bought.

Prototype rendered
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Annotations

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We changed the color of the “add gift” CTA to give it a more festive feel, and to increase engagement on the page.

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We added a CTA to increase engagement for items no longer available.

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We removed the contribution amount to keep the item card more elegant and the flow natural.

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We replaced “message from guests“ CTA with an envelope icon which unfolds to display the message to make it more playful.

Outcome

The feedback from the internal stakeholders was positive, some testers even thought that our prototype was about to launch.

west elm brought the design and prototype to the headquarters for review and approval to plan the implementation of the solution.

  • Thank you for making group gift easier to see on the registry.

    Terra, guest
  • I like that I can write a little note to the couple on the registry and with the gift tracker, I’m less wondering if my friends receive their gift.

    Esther, guest
  • The gift tracker is a Godsend! Being able to do group deliveries!!! Awesome!

    Meagan, organizer
  • I love that I can move the cards around and mark items that we desperately need first.

    Lindsey, organizer
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