Greg first approached us with an idea. He wanted to create a website (Carousel) where people could rent designer handbags for a weekend, a month, a year, etc. These handbags would also be purchasable. We worked with him to create an e-commerce site while also working with Innovate Map to implement their designs.
I was a front-end developer on the project. Innovate Map provided a non-functioning style guide that I worked alongside to create all of the components for the website. I created the HTML and SASS for all of the angular pages. I was also the point of contact between the developers and the designers at Innovate Map.
The other front-end developer, the product owner, the clients, the designers at Innovate Map.
I used Zeplin to view the mockups. I used Virto Commerce for the e-commerce site, and I used HTML/SASS for development.
For this project I was more the user’s advocate rather than the actual designer. Greg worked with Innovate Map before bringing us onto the project. They branded and designed Carousel Bags, and then we were to implement their designs. However, none of the style guide given to us was functional. I had to create all of the components and decide/create all the interaction styles. The designs were not responsive either, so I had to redesign pieces to work responsively. I was in constant communication with the designers at Innovate Map to understand the thought process behind button placement and other form placement. While pretty, some of the locations and sizes were not optimal for the users. I often pushed back on design decision that hindered the user’s experience or cheapened the brand of the site.
One specific design change I pushed back on had to do with the “surprise me” button. Shoppers had the ability to rent a specific bag or be surprised by the bag that came in the mail. Greg often reiterated the importance of the “surprise me” button. He hoped most shoppers would select that button because their inventory for bags was low. This would help with costs. However, the designs did not reflect that need. The button did not stand out, and the user had no incentive or guidance to choose “surprise me.” I pushed back on the design to position the “surprise me” button in an attention grabbing way in order to try to fulfill Greg’s desires.
Another design change I made had to do with the headers. Throughout the lifecycle of the project, Innovate Map provided mockups of the browse page and collection page with sleek, clean, rich looking headers. Then, a few weeks before launching the website, they randomly changed the headers to cheap, department store looking headers. There was no rhyme or reason behind this change, and I fought them on this until they finally returned to a sleek design, similar to their initial mockup.
In the end, we created a site that was sleek, and fit the high status, and rich quality of the product that was being sold. Working alongside the designers and developers was a necessary role that ended up being quite pivotal in the design of the application. It was this project where I found my true passion for creating user first designs. There’s so much more to a design than a beautiful page. The design should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Each action should be explainable, and the user should leave feeling enjoyment from the interaction rather than frustration. Through our collaboration, we were able to create a beautiful and easy to use website that we all looked on proudly. It was also this project where I learned the value my background in front-end development has in the UX design field. Having a knowledge of responsive websites and knowing how to create components is very beneficial when creating prototypes and style guides for clients and projects. I think it’s a huge asset in my design arsenal that sets me a part from some UX designers.