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Visual design and development

The Brief

Despite their fifteen years in the online florist business, Roses Only were facing serious challenges with their online experience. It was time to revamp not only their main website, but their sister sites, Hampers Only and Fruit Only as well. In 2012, our team worked closely with Roses Only from initial research and strategy, prototype development and testing, through to a finalised visual design ready for development. No matter where we looked on their site, we kept coming back to one critical issue: it was entirely built on top of a thirteen year old backend system (ROCS), built in-house by the IT department. The problem with this system was twofold: The marketing department had a customer proximity and responsiveness issue - they couldn’t respond quickly to changing customer needs, as changing anything on the RO website required extensive changes by the IT department. And with 13 years of legacy code to support, the folk in IT had their hands tied. The limitations of ROCS were resulting in an exceptionally poor user experience for customers. Aside from poor load times, many interface decisions were being made on the basis of “that’s all ROCS can do”, rather than “that’s what’s best for customers”. The web was a different place thirteen years ago, and ROCS was holding Roses Only back. Our first step was to get everyone on the same team. If the new site was to be successful, all departments within RO needed to forget about the years of friction caused by ROCS and start fresh. To facilitate this, we ran a series of workshops with the Roses Only team to help them come up with a shared vision for the new site. As one big team, stakeholders from various departments explained their needs and concerns, and worked together to turn this into an agreed upon list of requirements for the site.
The Brief

The Strategy and Challenge

ROCS had to go. Working closely with each of the Roses Only departments, we began the hunt for a new content management system. Using the requirements and insights from our workshops, we had a “shopping list” of features that a CMS would need to offer to be considered: Mobile friendliness, to bring the buying method ever closer to the customer. Responsive to the urgency of the online purchaser - the ability to locate the customer and estimate quickest delivery time.Speed up the buying process to as little clicks/taps as possible.After a long search, we decided on the Adobe CQ platform. We reached out to a development partner with CQ experience and then were ready to design. The first part of our design process was to understand the Roses Only customer. We dove straight into existing site data to gain an understanding of general user behavior. While analytics gave us an understanding of what users were doing, we also conducted a series of surveys and user interviews to also find out why they were doing it. On top of our own research, we read through as many eCommerce research pieces (from the likes of eConsultancy and the Baymard Institute) as we could find. This, combined with findings from our surveys and interviews, allowed us to look critically at the existing Roses Only experience and identify areas for improvement. With initial research done and dusted, we moved into ideation for a new user interface. We kept things simple at the beginning, opting to plan out user journeys and flows using whiteboard sketches. This kept our thinking high-level and conceptual, ensuring that the general journey made sense before focusing on the details. We then moved into higher-fidelity, pen and paper sketches. This is where we began to flesh out the details of the site, placing an emphasis on simplicity and removing barriers between the user and their final purchase. We used our sketches to create very basic clickable prototypes, which we put in front of as many people as we could. Using their feedback, we adjusted our sketches until we were ready to build a fully functional prototype. Next up we translated our sketches into a functional prototype using Axure. We hosted this prototype online and rigged it up with Google Analytics, using custom tags to track numerous aspects of a users visit. From here, we sent out invitations to existing Roses Only users who could then test the prototype against a series of provided tasks. This is where Roses Only’s responsiveness issue could be dealt with and enriched.
The Strategy and Challenge

The Results

Our revamp of the Roses Only site was a valuable lesson in the importance of measuring a companies overall attractiveness to its customers. By adhering to the rules that aimed to increase their generosity, responsiveness and proximity to customers, the final website went beyond better functionality and became a magical user experience.