Thoughtfull: Lean UX

Role: Research & UI Designer





Holiday shopping should be an enjoyable gesture, however many people fall behind due to procrastination as well as not being
able to find the right gift. 





What We Wanted to Know:

• How do people shop for others?
• What is the motivation for purchasing gifts?
• How much does money factor into gift decisions if at all?
 • How do people feel about buying/receiving gifts?
• If they have a holiday budget, how do they track it?

Our Research Methods Consisted of:

• Surveys
• User Interviews
• Competitive Analysis


We structured our initial research around the idea of budgeting, but also asked questions regarding what people enjoy about gift giving, how many people they were buying for overall, and what, if anything, would make the holiday shopping experience easier. After surveying around 50 people and interviewing a dozen in person, we found a few pieces of information that were vital to our final product:

say the “most frustrating” part of holiday shopping was coming up with ideas

say that the person, rather than budget, was the most important factor when buying a gift


Research Synthesis



After gathering our research findings, we created storyboards for two different use cases. 


Our first user was a procrastinator with a little more foresight than our first user. They had ideas for what they wanted to get the people on their general list, but they wouldn’t automatically act on them, thinking that there was always still time. Thinking about the purchase was almost as good in their mind as making it, but of course this is where the trouble came in. While their intentions were always good and they sometimes even had specific products in mind, not adding gift buying time into their schedule and planning led them to scrambling at the last minute, only to find that some of their original ideas were no longer available, so now they were stuck. This user needed a place to track ideas, and then the same two pieces that our first user needed: accountability and planning options, and encouragement to make that procrastination a thing of the past.

Our second user was a procrastinator because they didn’t know where to start. Stores overwhelmed them with many choices, and they found themselves getting easily distracted by other things. Gift buying was never at the front of their mind, it was always something they would get to “eventually.” Their procrastination came from fear of making the wrong choice, so they didn’t make any choice. This led to disappointment in themselves for not starting earlier, and we knew that if this user could be nudged a little toward a plan, that maybe this cycle could be stopped. This user needed a place to find ideas, a way to keep themselves accountable and plan ahead, and encouragement and motivation to turn their procrastination to action.





We began sketching out features, and compared to pull out the strongest aspects of all in them.  

Slack for iOS Upload (2).jpg




Based on our ideation session, I sketched a few concepts keeping in mind our insights and users. I really wanted to make the experience of finding a gift to be as seamless as possible. 


I also explored options for holding users accountable for purchasing gifts by using calendars and reminders. 


Style Exploration



I looked into a few reminder applications as well as shopping sites to analyze successes and flaws. The first thing that I noticed was that with reminder apps , they tend to look a bit sterile. Too much white space, and an uninviting look and feel. As it pertains to shopping apps, after selecting an item there are too many details that are not pertinent for our users in the decision making process. 

Given that there aren't many products like this on the market, I wanted to ensure that our product felt encouraging, relaxing and trustworthy. I recognize that many of our users will be feeling emotions such as pressure or stress looking for gifts, so using calming colors, language and imagery will help put them at ease. 

To do this, I experimented with various looks and feels.


For my first style tile is calm and stable due to the dark purple. Purple also is associated with ambition and power, which is something I hope to evoke in our users. A dark overlay was used to bring out the light type on the images. 


My second style tile is soft and inviting, to evoke a peaceful and relaxing feeling for the user. To achieve this, I used rounded fonts and a washed out neutral pallet. 



For my final look and feel I combined aspects from both styles. I used the overly idea from style #1 but changed it from dark to light.
I also took the rounded fonts from style two. 


Branding & Logo



For logo exploration, I explored a few options:

• Linear
• Stacked

I chose the last logo because it was simple and memorable. I included the icon of the gift to trigger the thought of gifting. We began thinking about a name that could be reflective of the gift giving process. We wanted it to memorable, and a one word name. Our final idea was THOUGHTFULL. Our product encourages users to be full of ideas or thoughts to help them meet their goals. 



My partner and I got together and developed our concepts into wireframes for the app and started user testing. We found that the majority of our potential users enjoyed an experience that felt like they were given many options and endless browsing. 



High Fidelity Mock Ups



*Click to enlarge





Click here to view the final prototype in Invision


Final Thoughts



Leading a team of two in both the design direction and execution allowed me to focus on the insights to build a product for the user. The information we received during interviews was that customers wanted to feel a sense of calmness when they used the app during stressful times. In our user testing we found that our initial approach to the design turned users off bc they didn’t feel like the look and feel was inviting. That is what lead to the final design iteration with lighter and warmer colors. Color, fonts and imagery were important when choosing a look, as the goal was to produce a product that was visually appealing to get users to want to keep using it. Also, the copy was written in a tone that is always encouraging and nudges toward an action. In our testing, we found that the first thing users commented on was the tone. They said that it almost felt like a personal assistant helping them find the right gift, and comforting them along the way. This brought our project full circle as that was exactly what our design directives were aiming toward. Having identified a void in the gift giving market, our users were not only able to find gifts that they felt good about, but be held accountable for purchasing them to prevent falling behind. 

Our project was featured by Invision, on their twitter here for their UX spotlight section after they found our case study


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