Dome Beauty had a simple goal: launch a successful eCommerce platform featuring their new line of beauty products.
Start-up company Dome Beauty had been through multiple agencies, each not understanding the founders vision and target audience. The process had left them with a fraction of their original budget and very little to show. With the deadline for launch drawing near, and a warehouse of products waiting to be sold, a fast and effective solution needed to be found.
As manager my main role was to provide leadership and strategy. I acted as mentor to a designer, architect and researcher. Our timeline was short, but my team was ready for the challenge and eager to obtain new skills.
Although the previous agencies had been a bust, Dome had been diligent in their activities and collected ample information in the form of focus groups and user research. It had not been compiled, most was still in a handwritten format.
We were new to world of cosmetics. In order to provide our client with a design that would be best in class we first had to learn the standards for comparison. Ten sites were compared, of those ten, five were selected based on standardized criteria.
We had ample research, in the form of written survey’s, focus group notes, white board photos, but nothing we could edit. All the notes had to be rewritten. Once completed, the focus groups and trends were analyzed for find common threads.
The strategy revolved around three of the focus groups’ most common threads. Each would have to addressed in order to ensure a successful launch.
The users most common method of finding new brands of cosmetics was largely based on referrals by friends or experts.
Consumers were thrilled with the idea of a female owned cosmetic’s company. Stories about their endeavor would have to be prevalent throughout the site.
Application and results vary by brand and product. This is a potential challenge that can discourage new users.
We used our strategy to select the cloud based eCommerce platform “Shopify”. We were thrilled to learn the product designer had just won an award based on the user experience she had designed. With our research complete and strategy in place we began work on the wire-frames.
The wire-frames were simple. Taking the existing base template and modifying it to meet our strategic goals, while providing a competitive user experience.
After a design was selected one decision remained. Are we addressing users who are getting ready for work or users who are getting ready for a night out? The decision was to address both by taking some old code and applying it to a new situation. Thereby introducing a theme for day and night within the same site. From sunrise to sunset users were presented with a day theme which included light colors and daytime imagery and a night theme with dark colors and evening imagery.
As Dome was a new brand a lot of the work we were creating was going to be set as a standard moving forward. A large effort was put into designing all possible aspects of Dome Beauty’s web presence, including social media and web standards. With the wire-frames complete I moved the architect into the design role and assigned myself the task of production designer.
With time of the essence and my architect and designer both occupied I put myself to the task of annotating the wire-frames. The annotations would provide the developers with detailed instructions and allow them to stay on task longer without taking time to ask designers about the intent of functionality.
The client couldn’t have been happier and once the site launched, it started taking orders immediately. Dome Beauty adopted our proposed strategy and incorporated into their full customer engagement plan, including print and social media. In the first quarter we overshot our sales goal by 400%.