University of Washington
Using a human-centered and user research driven approach my team and I created Fundamental – an application concept that connects shopping + financial literacy for children and their parents.
You can try this interactive prototype made with Invision.
We conducted interviews with three children between the ages of five and ten and their parents, finding that while kids interest in shopping varies, most kids seem to like particular things that influence what they want to wear. At the same time, parents need to set boundaries around what they want their kids to have, how much they want to pay, and where they want to shop.
Looking for opportunities in the children’s shopping space, we mapped the shopping experiences of the biggest retailers in terms of cost (affordability), individuality (unique items compared to mainstream styles), convenience (stock availability and ease of purchasing) and variety (range of clothing categories).
By analyzing market research and trend reports, we found that parents are spending more time with their children shopping and are doing so in multi-channel environments (both in-store and online). The major retailers have followed suit offering a range of online and in-store opportunities to their customers.
Each team member generated individual ideas and created sketches to illustrate them. My ideas centered on giving children choice and agency, while allowing parents to set boundaries and interact around shopping on their terms. Below are selections from my sketchbook.
After sharing our ideas and selecting the strongest and most feasible aspect we began sketching concept models of three very strong directions:
Virtual dressing room experience
Personalized paper catalog
We eventually arrived at a final concept that we called Fundamental.
We initially thought the concept would be a tablet application to use in stores during the shopping experience.
Parents would be able to pre-set a shopping list of needed items and a budget, and children would then find items to match the list under the parent’s budget.
In this manner, Fundamental would connect shopping and financial literacy for children and their parents.
Our first prototype was a simple paper version made from post-its and cut-outs to get a more accurate idea of what was required in the tablet interface and application. We tested this prototype with three college student participants.
After collecting the results from paper prototyping, my teammate and I created quick wireframes to begin to digitally lay out the screens.
Wireframes clarified transitions and overlays that needed to be included, contributed to our conversations about the tone and language used in our copy, and gave us a sense for the repeating assets we would need to design.
To test the concept with children, our primary user, we developed a board game / physical prototype of the basic application to test with a 7.5 year old supervised by his father. We wanted to make sure a child could understand the math and budget concept without a lot of help from their parent.
We asked the child to locate paper clothing items from a box, add the items price using bills and coins, and sum the prices. If the total price was less than the budget, the child would get a prize.
This prototype was illuminating because it revealed to us that we were challenging the child beyond the product goal. We were asking our child participant to find money to match prices, add 4 digit numbers, and also come in under a budget. Instead we wanted the child to focus on meeting a budget, not adding through currency. For this reason we removed the bills and coins and used a keypad to input prices. Additionally the application automatically calculates the sum through a progress bar indicator at the bottom of the screen.
Recalling our competitive research and analysis of market trends, we developed a way to integrate Fundamental with an online shopping experience. By using a browser extension that allows a child to add items to the Fundamental app, parents and children can use our application both online and in stores.
Online Shopping (browser extension)
In-Store Shopping (Tablet)
After our initial high-fidelity interactive prototype was made it was time to try it out with our target audience. I recruited participants via a snowball method and did most of my usability tests remotely via skype. I asked 4 caretakers of school age children (including one husband-wife dyad) to use the application, complete several tasks, and tell me where potential problems could occur. I also asked questions about the feasibility and usefulness of an application like this to their lives.
Among the findings from these tests were the identification of several missing prompts, a desire for sound and animation, and a resistance to forcing parents to add a reward into the game.
You can try this interactive prototype made with Invision
Credit: Andrea Kang, Nick Allred, and Maureen McLennon. Team members participated in the all parts of the design process, with Andrea and Nick creating the initial brand design.
© 2019 Julie Sutherland UX IxD