SELECTIONS

Service Design & Brand Strategy

Academic / 4 Weeks

This is a digital application created for Design Within Reach that allows customers to engage with products' authenticity. It allows consumers and potential customers curious about design to discover and learn beyond the designer products themselves; it shows the story behind the authentic products through a series of curated and educational in-store tours.

Selections by DWR pitch video for the academic project breaking down the full experience.

ROLES

UX & Interaction Designer
User Researcher

I analyzed brand opportunities, ideated solutions, created user flows, and designed high-fidelity mockups, working specifically on the product story feature and post-engagement email.

TEAM

  • Cyrus Lau
  • Danny Blackstock
  • Gary Li
  • Malcolm Kutar

TOOLS

  • Sketch
  • Flinto
  • Illustrator
  • Principle
  • Keynote

PROCESS

PROBLEM

Selections News

Design Within Reach's knock-off reputation being discussed online.

Design Within Reach (DWR) is a high-end, designer furniture retailer known for selling authentic modern and European designs in North America. In the early 2000s, the company was a success, leading the new found appreciation for design education and taste making. However, due to change in management and poor leadership, Design Within Reach began selling knockoff products and plagiarized designs which ruined their reputation and trust with the design community.

Although the knockoffs have now discontinued and leadership has changed, Design Within Reach continues to be seen as a brand with a tainted reputation, diverging from their core value of authenticity.

As Design Within Reach is actively strategizing methods to educate consumers on both the values of their own brand and the successes of their products, we, as designers, saw this as an opportunity to intervene and develop a medium for the consumers. We wanted to give DWR a space to better communicate their brand and potentially interact with the customers in stores.

CONSUMER

To first properly engage with the targeted group, we performed a series of consumer research by two methods: online research on mobile usage in relation to shopping trends, and user research at a local designer retailer, Inform Interiors.

With our research, we learned of a shift in consumer habits with increase usage of mobile devices. As we are entering a new era of mobile usage, consumers have turned to their smartphones for product information instead of sales representations. we also learned that customers often are intimidated by sales representatives at Design Within Reach and many similar designer furniture retailers. It was the leading factor for a gap in communicating product details and knowledge.

BRAND INSIGHT

AIGA, in the 2008 Corporate Leadership Award, has identified Design Within Reach as a brand "with an unparalleled commitment to design education across all channels...[where it] has not only served a niche in the marketplace but advanced the conversation about design to new audiences". The core ideas promised by Design Within Reach are authenticity and storytelling of the designers and their products. Currently downfalls exist in their inability to properly communicate to customers their brand promise of authenticity and in their ineffective methods of storytelling for their products on their web and catalogue platform.

Some of Design Within Reach’s new customers, like many other consumers of designer furniture, see the pieces sold as just decorative additions to their homes. This was a key concern expressed by John Edelman, CEO of DWR. Therefore, how can we design to assist the consumers to better understand the depth of art, process and craftsmanship put into the pieces?

After extensive research on the Design Within Reach brand, we summarized their values and attributes to be authenticity, storytelling and education, which all inherently connect in a circular experience.

DWR Circular

Within the existing ecosystem of Design Within Reach, from discover products to purchasing products, we decided to intervene in the aspect of learning, specifically learning of the products and their designer. Here, we believe that it provides the best opportunity to rehabilitate trust in the brand and knowledge in the authenticity of product.

How can DWR intelligently inform consumers about product authenticity in an environment of changing consumer habit?

IDEATION

“Our audience is luxury; it’s an urban environment, it’s people who travel. Most of all, it’s people who have an interest and a hunger for more knowledge about design.” - Jennifer Morla, Creative Director (2008)

One of the target audiences of the brand we have selected to focus on are consumers unfamiliar but interested in design. We propose to target consumers that have already sparked an interest and entered in the Design With Reach store but are unfamiliar with the products displayed. We want to help Design Within Reach attract new consumers and transition them to loyal return customers, in aims to revitalize the company’s brand. I constructed the persona for our team:

Selections Persona

Persona Development

She is a Lead Project Manager at a local advertising agency. At work, she is surrounded by creative individuals leading her to gain an interest in design outside of her own discipline. She wants to appreciate and learn more about furniture design as she respects meaningful decisions and values craftsmanship.

Selections Ideation

Initial ideation concepts

For this project, we completed the 5-day Design Sprint created by Google Ventures. In the sprint process, we mapped out the business and brand problems, ideated possible solutions and refined the strongest potential directions. Collectively as a team, we sketched various user scenarios detailing the experience, use case, and technological specifications.

We looked at the journey of the customer experience in DWR’s retail environment and identified the key frictions and potential touch points for intervention, specifically in the first interactions with products. The major pain points of the retail experience are perception of "overly pushy" sales associates and the lack of storytelling which we hope to alleviate through our app.

Selections Ideation

Initial ideation journey framework

PROPOSED SOLUTION

Selections is an in-store, museum-like experience for new, design-curious consumers by allowing them to explore and learn about the authenticity of DWR products through an integrated app. The application is provided on a mobile device by the store or downloadable by the customer ahead of time.

Selections Persona

Our journey framework of the proposed in-store solution of the customers.

This helps maximize the engagement between the brand, customer and product. The aim is to increase the brand's perceived value by the customers being able to gain a stronger understanding and appreciation of the product designs. Simultaneously, decrease cognitive overhead by improving the in-store experience for new consumer habits.

PROTOTYPE

SELECT A TOUR

Select a Tour

Digitally guided tours are provided to the user through three different categories. These tours act as an introduction for new customers unfamiliar with the products or a chance to learn about new products for returning customers.

The concept of the tour is to create a personal-paced and comfortable introduction to products at DWR. It provides users with autonomy in learning about the products without worrying about asking for information from the sales representations.

NAVIGATE TOUR

Navigating Tour

Once tour is selected, users are guided by iBeacons on a map to locate their products. When previewing the products in the tour, users are able to quickly determine their interest for those particular pieces before committing to the tour. When navigating through the tour on the map, users easily glance at approximate locations of all the products and see upcoming products on the tour below.

During the navigation of the tour, users can familiarize themselves with the store without being overwhelmed. The curated products can also help customers eliminate the paradox of choice in what to look at.

PRODUCT STORY

Product Story

When users have arrived at the product's location, the product's story will appear to provide an overview of its history, design and creation process. The content is short and easily digestible with a variety of media for support.

We wanted to inform users on the products in a nonintrusive and engaging manner. The product stories hope to elicit interest within the users instead of giving them a full history lesson. We will leave that to the sales representatives!

ONBOARD

Onboarding

At the first point of contact between the user and the interface, we included a brief onboarding introduction eliminating possible frustrations with using the app.

SNAP PRODUCT

Snap an Image

We did not want to prevent the user from being curious about other products they come across on their tour. The camera feature enables users to stay engaged but also have the opportunity to explore.

END OF TOUR

End of Tour

Concluding the tour, we wanted to keep the users within the ecosystem by making the products they have viewed available in their email. This ensures that DWR has not lost the connection and experience they have just made with their customers.

POST-TOUR EMAIL

After the Tour Email

On the user's personal device, the email is delivered in a catalogue manner, similar to the DWR Catalogues the brand is known for. The email helps users continue researching the products they saved in-store, and possibly begin the purchasing process. Engagement is maintained where users feel cared for when reviewing the products they were curious about. The email, doubling as a reminder, may induce the customer to consider purchasing or commit to purchasing an item.

REFLECTION

In order to create unique, memorable and personal experiences you have to make emotional connections with people. Through rich storytelling, we are able to engage the consumers in ways that connect the designers to the consumers. Our proposal seamlessly integrates into the existing ecosystem while providing mutual benefit to the company, brand, and customers.

APPENDIX