Jewelers International

Designing an e-commerce jewelry site
Background
Jewelers International has been in operation since the late 90s. The business has a retail location in Alaska as well as roots in the diamond district of Los Angeles. On an individual level, the business handles custom client works locally in Los Angeles and internationally. Their jewelry demographic had typically served an older audience. Moving forward, they are in the development of creating a new jewelry collection focused on targeting the younger generation at more affordable prices. The focus is to tap into the online space with a new presence under their management.
Objectives
Design a women's jewelry end to end e-commerce website from viewing to making a full purchase experience. Also, design a shopping guide process that will assist buyers as well as provide editorial sections (to help build more engagement to the site).

The business is looking to adventure a new and develop a new online jewelry e-commerce business that resonates with consumers today.
Role
Product Designer
  • part of design team: tasked to research & design company's e-commerce website that incorporated key virtual business features of buying jewelry products
  • assist with product development
My Role Task
user research, strategy, interaction design, prototyping, and usability testing
View Web Prototype
Tools
Sketch, Figma, Miro
Scope
Timeline completion
3 weeks
Contract work
September 2021 — Janaury 2022
NDA Overview
Due to the non-disclosure agreement, the research lead through the work process had been cleared for use. With the ongoing production of the samples and jewelry prototypes, the new name of the brand in regards to the e-commerce site and product photos can't be disclosed at this time until the release date. Specific iterations of the wireframes and prototype were excluded from the study in the case that those designs could be possibly used in the future. The wireframe and prototype below are cleared for usage by Jewelers International and do not infringe on our agreement.
Empathize
Exercise: Finding a Brand Identity
With the stakeholders and design team, we were able to preview the company's new jewelry prototypes that were in production for the new e-commerce space. Together we discussed what they wanted their identity and vision to mean in the online space. The company laid down its thoughts and mentioned that they wanted the company to be an indie brand that is notable in the subculture of jewelry hype.
Goals
Design Goals
  • Create organized purchase flow
  • End to end experience
  • Cater design that reflects the brands identity
Research Goals
  • Identify best practices for organizing information
  • Understand consumer habits
  • Understand the market the brand is trying to reach
01
Research
Discovery
Before designing out the client's e-commerce site, I knew the researching market and online consumer habits would help give me insight in creating a new experience for the business. I aimed to learn from references of other jewelry sites to apply the best method for buying and viewing jewelry via web.
General Research
Personally, I had not been familiar with the jewelry industry. I went to seek out the market to see economically how viable the industry is. Also, it had been worth learning about statistics in correlation to Covid-19.
Market Statistics
General Stats
  • In 2020, the global market amounted to about 228 billion USD (Statista)
  • The U.S. jewelry market was valued at about 76 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 (Statista)
  • First-half 2021 results shot way past 2020 levels of $1.2 billion and were 12% higher than the same period in 2019 ($2.6 billion) (Forbes)
  • The online jewelry market is expected to amount to $19.88 billion by 2024 (PR Newswire)
Demographics
  • 56% of jewelry buyers are women, compared to 44% of men (GWI)
  • Industry show 26% of buyers find information about new brands through celebrity endorsements
  • Millennials now account for as much as $600 billion in spending here every year - make as much as 55% of their overall purchases online (Zillion)
Covid-19 Stats
  • American households spend an average of $615 a year on watches and jewelry
  • 77% of Americans wore less jewelry in 2020
  • 81% of consumers avoided going to the jewelry store due to health concerns
  • 38% of survey jewelry companies reported an increase in sales of custom-made in 2020 (Instoremag)
  • In 2020, there were a total of 19,300 jewelry stores in operation in the US
COVID-19 redesign the global market and set the tone for consumer habits, which slowed down the market. As we move into 2022, consumer shopping will return back to normalcy. From the stakeholders’ end, they mentioned the uptick in the movement for prices in the materials on the supply. With that in mind, this would help the business scale new products at more affordable prices.
Resources
Secondary Research
After researching the general market, my research led to questions on brand discoverability. According to a Google insight article, brand discover has evolved and is continuously changing with today's consumers.
The purchase route had become more complex than before. For shopper, their scope became more constant seeking for information and sourcing.
Gen Z have been known to be the first generation of being "Digital Natives" of the internet. Much data revealed that the practice of social commerce pushes sources for shopping inspiration. Brands have been noticing this and have adapted to the new commerce landscape to appeal to the youth.
Resources
Competitive & Comparative Analysis
Insight & Opportunities
Generally, all the jewelry sites were built similarly in terms of navigation, details, editorials, and finance pages.  From the competitor analysis, the websites had all differed in unique ways.  Some of the high-end jewelry sites I browsed from research felt like a secondary experience for the business.  My thoughts were that they are used to showcasing their collections, but they would prefer the client to handle their sales directly in person and build that relationship with them.

These sites all provided a great benchmark for layout, content, navigation, and design.  This helped with the creation process of the new e-commerce site.  Reviews felt like they may or may not benefit the site.  Articles or editorials content revealed itself to show importance amongst all the sites.  It might provide comfort for the content and relatability.  I also noticed a top banner on most of the websites containing information regarding sales, shipping, and finance.

Interviews
We interviewed users who are familiar with jewelry shopping space to identify their needs and pain points. We interviewed a total of 8 female participants in the age range between 20 and 32. We tried to focus the target on young female professionals as they make up a majority of the online fashion shopping consumer. Professions from these individuals varied from a student, graphic design, engineering, marketing, medical, and finance.

Interview Questions
Upon observation, I looked at the research from a macro-level approach. Below shows what the participants value out of a company, whether it's clothing or jewelry.
1. Visuals
Participants felt most enthusiastic about purchases when there are a wide array of photos being displayed. This would help solidify their purchase.
2. Service
Participants were more inclined to return shopping if the business have a great return policy and fast response from customer service.
3. Trust
Aside from visuals and service, participants seemed to build trust based on several factors: materials, pricing, specifications, sustainability, mentions in social media or digital publications/magazines, recommendations from friends
Below were the summary findings for the interview questions and the overall patterns. Insight:
  • All participants noted that jewelry brands alongside regular brands needed to build trust and reliability with their customers
  • Some of the buys are motivated by using social media as inspiration, pictures and articles help
  • Importance of the quality of the product, sustainability is important for some
  • Having multiple photos about the product help with the decision problems
  • Deals, discounts, sales, coupons, and promotions help secure the purchase
  • Frustration comes from policies, returns, or customer service
  • For earrings specifically, size may not match up with the realistic expectation
  • Disliked for some companies for restocking fee when handling returns
  • Shopping in general there has been issues with non-responsive customer service
  • Good return policy
  • All participants do browsing and shopping on their computer/laptop
  • Some of the participants liked that there was a finance option with a third party company
All interviewees expressed their present current view on the online jewelry space. Also, they mentioned features or suggestions of what jewelry sites should have.
  • Ease of navigation
  • Multiple images
  • Size chart
  • Info on how to care for jewelry
  • Material info
  • Sales banner
  • Search
  • Filter
  • Clear CTA
  • ** Reviews, debatable: questionable due to validity of the post and possibly rigging
Affinity Map
I synthesized the user interviews and created an affinity map. This helped identify patterns in my findings. I was able to uncover key insights which helped me understand who the potential buyers are and what they truly needed.
Empathy Map
From my persona, I wanted to dive deeper into the motivations, thoughts, actions, of my ideal jewelry client.
User Persona
I created a persona that reflected who the target representative audience was and who it would need to satisfy.

02
Information Architecture
Project Goals
To get a clear understanding of what we were trying to achieve, I started by defining the project goals of where the business, technical, and user goals align.

Site Map
This maps out a basic features and categories that the site should offer in an attempt at site hierarchy and organization. I created a condensed version of the site map that would fulfill what the site would initially need. The stakeholders had requested to hold back on releasing the finalized version.
Task Flow
From the site map, I traced out what a user's possible flow would look like. This outlines how ideally a potential buyer might enter the website to completing a purchase. The entrance of showed the route either through social media such as Instagram or a site in which they would enter.
User Flow
The site map and task flow I created assisted in the possible movement navigation through the site in a detailed user flow.
03
Interaction Design
Wireframes
As part of the agreement under NDA, the full samples of the wireframes cannot be shown in the case of possible usage in the future. Below are lo fi-wireframe test samples cleared by the stakeholders for usage.
Moving along to the high fidelity design, certain design features of the site had been changed from the low fidelity wireframes from above.
04
Iteration
Testing
Participants were asked to complete 2 task: a checkout task of purchasing a necklace and use the shopping guide. At the end of the task, they were free to explore the other pages and provide any feedback or recommendations. I had 2 unmoderated participants explore the site freely.
Usability Test
To evaluate the efficacy of the sites process, I conducted usability tests on 7 participants. 3 of the test were conducted through zoom and 4 were done in person.

The area of confusion stemmed from the jewelry categories being hidden through a sidebar menu. Participants had more of a preference of the products categories be laid out horizontally instead of hidden away. Other mentions had revolved around filters and the section for custom work being called bespoke and about page hiding in the page called ethos.
Key Findings
  • Clear, that navigation bar needs redesign
  • Certain titles and sectionals needs more clarification and require renaming
  • Main issues seemed to have circled around the homepage
Final Prototype
Final touch ups
After analyzing and prioritizing the user feedback, I iterated over the design and updated the prototype.
View Web Prototype
05
Reflections
Reflections
Due to the nature of the privacy policy, certain aspects of the project can not be discussed. I had learned a lot through this experience about jewelry products and industry through the stakeholders. Prior, my knowledge of jewelry was very limited. Both secondary and primary research was key in getting up to speed with the market and being able to empathize and understand online consumer buying habits, especially since I don't buy much jewelry.
Looking Forward
Overall, this client project was quite fun to work on from the start. Being able to see the products helped guide me through the design process. Jewelers International is paused at the moment to have the business plan and logistics catch up. The next steps moving forward are as follows:
  1. Refine the design for the site final site
  2. Iterate and test further the wireframe designs based on likely business changes
  3. Prepare handover to developer to create the live site and prepare for the release
Personal Learnings
1. Clear client communication
Faced with timeline, budget, developers, we were forced to prioritize our scope. We had gone through multiple ideas and iterated over and over until we came up with best collective solution on the design. Continuously, we received rough feedback to refine our design. I was challenged to work efficiently and maintain good communication with the client through every step of the process.
2. Adapting to changes
This client project design work was being done at the same time as the production of the jewelry. The online business plan was being mapped out simultaneously when I started working for them. I learned a lot about how to create visual branding. Designs and site map layouts were constantly changing as we progressed. Even the name of the site had not been established at the start.

This was a big challenge for me. There were no concrete ideas to work off of. It was rewarding to see the site take form from scratch. They had me create different versions of the design that would emulate a particular style. 
3. Aligning goals
When confusion happened between myself and my client, I noticed it was due to expectations being misaligned. What helped us stay on track would be realigning goals and going over business needs. Development considerations and customer insights helped bring us back to the same page. My client found it helpful to learn more about users’ needs, as there were human-centered aspects that they had not considered during business planning.