In my time with Home Depot, I held two distinct roles - as a UX Content Strategist and as a UX Information Architect. The content work was broad and spanned supporting the entire UX department with content audits, copywriting, site analyses and vendor audits whereas the Information Architecture work focused solely on the cart & checkout portion of the homedepot.com website with particular focus to our desktop and tablet experiences. The needs, processes and outcomes of each type of project are broken out within this page.
Need - Cart & Checkout Redesign
Previously, the tablet cart and checkout had a completely different look and feel than the rest of the t.homedepot.com experience. Upon going from a product page to the cart, the user would see the desktop version which reduced the tappable area of radio buttons and calls to action, as well as diminished the text size. Generally, it was not aligned with the rest of the tablet look and feel. There was some sunk cost in developing a tablet experience when the ultimate goal of developing a responsive solution was on the horizon, but in the meantime we established the business case for enhancing the digital experience for our customers.
The left image was the tablet version of a product page, and the right is what the customer would see when going to check out. Everything about the experience was different from page to page - the header, the padding, the font sizes, the radio buttons, the shading.
Process - Cart & Checkout Redesign
I built a comprehensive interaction flow, prepared a deck about the intent of the project and its proposed outcomes and prepared initial wireframes based upon high-level, initial user research and testing.
Using Axure, I built fully functional, medium-fidelity prototypes in which users could add a general merchandise item (like a grill, or a hammer) and an appliance (like a refrigerator or gas oven) to the cart and check out. We tried no fewer than a dozen concepts with various layout options and interactions.We tested allowing users to swipe between states, allowing / disallowing the ability to click on the progress indicator to navigate between sections, stacking fulfillment options below an address when space was at a premium or separating these between two screens, etc. With our in-house usability team, we were able to process dozens of tests and get feedback and I was given an internal recognition called a Homer Award for my rapid prototyping work.
Outcome - Cart & Checkout Redesign
The site is now fully responsive, with no dedicated tablet experience (outside of the app experience), but at the time of development, the work I did was tested and our clear prototype winner was fully developed and utilized as the customer-facing experience for the cart and checkout portion for homedepot.com. We redesigned the entire checkout experience to incorporate the same global header as the rest of the site, embraced white space to highlight the product and cost breakdowns, prioritized the "Checkout Now" and PayPal buttons for easy conversion, and stacked content in a way where it was easy for the customer to understand their total payment, shipping options and any applicable discounts or coupons.
Need - Content Strategy
We had a wide variety of content needs including assessing error messaging across the digital experience, auditing a third party vendor's efficacy and adherence to brand standards, rewriting copy for a low-performing section of the website, writing on-site copy for an ever-changing online e-commerce experience and more.
Process & Outcome - Content Strategy
I mapped a large inventory of alerts, advisory messages and notifications that said things like "Error: 1027 Path Unidentified" which was painfully user-unfriendly. I rewrote all of the messages in alignment with a front-end SME and provided them as part of an effort to bring the e-commerce site's micro-copy up to par. It might seem like small potatoes, but if you're trying to buy a $2,000 appliance and you keep getting an error that says "Error 1736, Fatal Issue", how likely are you to complete the purchase of that expensive appliance? Multiply that by however many people across the country shop for a range of items in a variety of price points, and suddenly the importance of helping users understand what went wrong and how to fix it becomes much clearer. It not only supports the user experience, but the company's bottom line in a very immediate way.
I also worked with our designers on a project to identify the primary types of content that could be surfaced on a FAQ or support site to alleviate the burden on the call center. Using site analytics, I mapped the 10 most common support questions and worked in tandem with a visual designer to enhance Home Depot's support landing page which significantly reduced call volume for our associates in Utah.
Need - Appliance Parts & Services
When a customer went to purchase an appliance on homedepot.com, he or she would have to select parts and services before being allowed to check out. The problem was that this took place on a completely separate page which not only had a completely different look and feel than the product page and cart, but broke context from product the user had been looking at.
Process - Appliance Parts & Services
An initial discovery team sketched some concepts for how we could improve the experience and the three main options were to 1) reskin the current page to brand standards, 2) enable the user to select parts and services directly from the product page, 3) build some type of modal in which the customer could interact with it directly from the product page AND cart.
I designed low and medium fidelity prototypes of each of the three scenarios in Axure, and tested them in conjunction with our usability specialists to determine which method users preferred. Resoundingly, users preferred the modal as it allowed them to contextually equate the parts and services with the appliance from the product page, and also allowed them the exact same experience if they had to configure it at the last moment from the cart before checking out.
After extensive usability testing of the modal concept (for which I was awarded another internal recognition for rapid prototyping), we determined that this was in fact the most favorable approach to facilitate the user’s flow through the experience while keeping them focused on the checkout process.
Outcome - Appliance Parts & Services
Now, the user considers an appliance from its product page, enters a ZIP code and is immediately able to view availability. Then they may add the appliance to their cart, and are shown an on-page modal to add optional and required parts and services. Once done, they can continue shopping, or go directly to the cart where they have the option of changing their options or updating their ZIP code. The entire experience keeps the user on the contextually relevant product page, reduces cognitive load and in conjunction with the updated cart / checkout styling, ensures a visually congruent experience.