I decided to exchange my university life with the working world for a while, and I am now doing an internship at ePages in Hamburg. I’d like to experience what it’s like to work in UX. When I began here last month, I got a very warm welcome, and I soon felt like a part of the company. Instead of just copying stuff and boiling coffee, I could already do a lot of different tasks on my own. What’s more, I was a part of various UX-related meetings from my first day on.
My little diary of creating an online shop
One of my first tasks in the UX team was a Diary Study. According to the Nielsen Norman Group it is a qualitative usability research method that can give insights about user behaviors and needs. In this case, I slipped into the role of a merchant who sets up an online shop for the first time. I noted down what I did in the first 10 minutes, and also every little issue that I came across: not knowing how to do something, everything that doesn’t work like I would expect it, an unexpected step in the workflow, a function that I miss… .
Welcome to my fabrics shop
As I am very passionate about sewing, I created a shop to sell fabrics, “lucky bags” (little scraps of fabric), and some accessories, such as scissors.
It was fun to prepare a product range and to think of how to present my shop in a nice way. I could also see how my storefront would look like later, and I did a test purchase to see how everything works. I even invented marketing strategies like coupons and Call-To-Action buttons to present new products, and link to their specific product pages.
What I came across
One issue that I noticed when working in the Editor concerns the saving process. While editing my pages I didn’t get any indication whether my work is saved automatically or if I should save it on my own. (I was already used to Save buttons and toast messages when setting up my product range.) Only after talking about this issue later on I discovered that actually a confirmation message already exists to indicate that the changes are saved.
It is just bit hidden in the left corner:
Never stop improving
After completing the Diary Study, I turned it into a list of UX issues and presented it to the Product Management team. They were curious about what can be improved. As a newbie in creating an online shop I brought a new perspective on the product which helped to discover several issues. For example, I could tell Product Management if the descriptions and help center articles helped me during the shop setup. I also advised them where a tooltip or another description might simplify some things.
For me it was the perfect task to actually get to know the software, and also to get an intuition for UX-issues. So now, whenever my colleagues are in a discussion about the product I know what they are talking about, and often I can give input from my experience as a user.
As a next task I will examine the onboarding process of the merchant, and check what can be improved. My Diary Study is the ideal basis because I already know some issues, and I can rely on my experience. And the best: I know how a merchant might feel when creating an online shop with our software, which is a crucial part of working on the User Experience.
The Diary Study was the perfect task for me. I learned a lot about online shop software and the perspective of a merchant. It was a lot of fun to set up everything, and to create my own shop. And what’s more, I helped ePages to discover some UX issues, and improve the product.