sustainable fashion shopping online
A project in-progress, Tulipants targets the needs of sustainable fashion shoppers online, enabling them to shop by style, price, and sustainability attributes that are important to them.
About the Project
Tulipants is a proposed start-up that aims to build a multi-fashion online shopping website that caters to LOHAS shoppers (i.e. shoppers who prefer sustainable products and value "Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability"). Existing fashion shopping websites do not offer LOHAS shoppers an easy way to search for sustainable fashion. As a result, LOHAS shoppers are forced to turn to blogs and broader internet searches to find sustainable fashion brands and clothing, making sustainable fashion shopping a time-intensive endeavor.
Taking what I had learned at EcoValuate and driven by an underlying motivation to catalyze sustainability in the marketplace, I developed this project to harness consumer demand for sustainable apparel. I again put myself in the role of entrepreneur, interaction designer, and project manager. I benefited tremendously from taking a UX design course from experienced designers at Ziba Design at the beginning of this project. The class strengthened my own customer discovery toolkit and UX design skills, which I illustrate here.
The concept for this project was inspired by Instacart Portland, which allows shoppers to order individual products from multiple grocery stores marketing to sustainable shoppers on one website and get home delivery of those products. Similarly, I wanted to offer online shopping of sustainable products from multiple brands with single home delivery. I contacted Project JUST, a nonprofit that provides sustainability data about major apparel brands as part of my early validation process and created quick PowerPoint prototypes of my concept for purposes of that conversation.
Market and Customer Research
I knew there was still much I had to discover about the market and my potential customers before I could prototype my idea beyond the visual concept above. My focus was on online shoppers who fall into the LOHAS (i.e. sustainability) sector; I also spoke to shoppers who did not necessarily identify with sustainability. Creating user journeys and documenting user stories was critical to understanding the needs of the online LOHAS (i.e. sustainability) shopper. I gained wonderful insights into the relationship between in-store and online shopping, the importance of finding the right style shopping online, the priorities of the sustainable shopper, and the challenges of sustainable shopping online.
wireframes & flow
I tend to think about content, form, function, and flow simultaneously when I prototype. The examples below illustrate how I use color-coding to understand these attributes for purposes of the Tulipants website.
Wire framing functional details
I tested the viability of my designs by prototyping and validating the details early on in the process.
I created these initial prototypes to engage potential stakeholders about Tulipants from a business perspective, including fashion brands that are candidates for the website. The mock-ups below are designed to put a feel and intention behind my UX design and inspire stakeholder interest in the project. As noted in my comments in red, these initial prototypes need further development and user validation.
Status & Lessons Learned
Tulipants has been a pivotal project for me, as it was developed utilizing the insights I gained from UX practitioners at Ziba design. The success of this project is attributed to effective user research and the development of user stories and user journeys, which served as the basis for prototyping a viable and desirable tool. The next step in this project will be to engage with stakeholders and validate the business case for the product before going forward with further prototyping and user engagement.