E-commerce Mobile Microsite

The Assignment

Archer Paper Goods is a vintage paper and craft supply store located in Atlanta, GA. My assignment was to create a microsite to highlight Archer's expansive pencil inventory. The microsite needed to retain their brand identity and be relevant to their target audience.

Archer Paper has over 90 pencil types, brands, and pencil supplies, so I had to determine the best way to organize them into a coherent structure without relying on search.

The Persona

Our target audience was The Prestige persona (aka Stefan). Stefan loves vintage products and colorful copy, wants to be able to purchase from mobile, and loves leaving reviews.

An Enthusiast, not an Expert

During my user research I learned that while they are willing to spend money on the best, they don't necessary know what the best actually is. They care about the discovery process and learn about the best products in order to become experts.

When analyzing competitors' mobile sites, I looked at a broad range of pencil/art suppliers.

 

Competition Sorts by Function

Both the larger, more standard retailers and the smaller, more high-end retailers had the same experience for organizing their pencils — by functional attributes. While this is good for pencil or art experts, this wouldn't be helpful to the Prestige persona's love of story-telling and branding.

Competitive Analysis

I also conducted a heuristics analysis of my main competitors to get a better understanding of how they structured the layouts of their mobile sites. Based on this, I determined that my microsite for Archer's pencils should focus on three main areas:

  • Providing a clean layout for reviews.

  • Having simple, mobile-first designed navigation.

  • Telling a brand story within the experience.

With my target user in mind and the results from competitive analysis, I narrowed in on the main user problem...
There's no easy way to discover
a great pencil from a classic brand.
Comparative Analysis

Archer: The Pencil Shop was inspired by some of the best mobile retail and e-commerce experiences currently around.

Streamlined Checkout
Clean Review Layout
Visual Navigation
Card Sorting

I used the card sorting technique to help me determine the best way to organize Archer's 90+ pencil types.

 

In an open card sort, users first grouped pencils by specific use-cases: writing pencils, drawing pencils, colored pencils, then pencil supplies. Function was the easiest way to understand the differences between the pencils, but within these broad categories there were still a lot of pencils to sort through. 

I then conducted a closed card sort and asked users to group within the broader categories like writing pencils or colored pencils. Almost all users gravitated towards organizing by brand as that was the clearest way to note difference among the pencils. Only in the pencil supplies category were users able to group items by type (erasers, sharpeners, etc.).

Site Map & User Flow

The results of my card sort directly informed by site map and user flow. Since my Prestige users still needed to have that educational element about pencils before committing to purchase, I grouped the pencils by function first (writing, sketching, colored, and supplies). Then I organized them by specific brand, which would give me an opportunity to showcase brand stories that the Prestige values.

Design Iterations & User Testing

With my user flow, I started sketching the basic layout of the microsite. I designed mobile-first given the Prestige's priorities, and I wanted to focus on a lot of visuals to highlight Archer's vintage aesthetic. 

User Testing

With my user tests, I learned a number of things, specifically related to the checkout process, such as being able to edit the quantity of items, having a clearer reviews page, and a clearer layout of images.

Final Prototype

For my prototype (built using Axure RP), I wanted to emphasize the characterful copy that the Prestige values—using it to tell a story of the different brands and pencils as well as educate the user on why certain pencils performed differently.

 

This copy, paired with a clear & easy checkout process and a visually driven navigation, ensures that Archer not only showcases their expansive pencil selection, but also secure's the Prestige's loyalty.

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Stefan (Prestige Persona)