'Arrow redesign' - The Bio Agency .

A site redesign project for US eCommerce company - Arrow Electronics. The engagement involved acting as stand-in UX Lead for The Bio Agency to engineer and design product page architecture and to provide direction for purchase journeys. Arrow Electronics' goal was to improve sales and user click-throughs to related and popular products. The mentoring of The Bio Agency's in-house apprentice UX designers was also part of this brief.

Client industry / sector: Creative Agency
Client location: Fitzrovia, London
Project delivery time: 2 months
When: 2015

Service/s provided: UX design / UX consulting / Mentoring juniors


Discovery

The redesign project was underway at the time of OldWorld coming on board. 'Discovery' per se had already taken place between The Bio Agency and their client. I got up to speed by speaking with The Bio Agency's Creative Director.

Challenges

The project had commenced without any UX foundational work and was already at high-fidelity visual design stage.

The Creative Director was by now based in the US where daily requirement changes would come through over conference calls - often vague - after meetings with the client.

This approach coupled with daily requirement changes meant it was difficult to influence a user-centred design mindset change in the running of the project.

To mitigate these challenges, OldWorld took the initiative to redesign page templates (wireframe) and common components on an 'expert design' basis to convey general best-practice and more specific improvements. These were sent to the Creative Director with the aim of encouraging more considered and informed discussion between the agency and their client - a necessity given the time constraints of the project. OldWorld also established a working relationship with the in-house visual designers and together we shared respective UX and visual design insights and rationale to better arrive at a solution for the client.

The requirement for a mobile site also later emerged - effectively meaning reverse engineering the 'new' visual designs to create the mobile (not responsive) version of the site.

Process

Due to scope creep and time constraints, I established a working process of sketching the solution and helping the apprentice user experience designers to turn these into low-fidelity wireframes. The reason was two-pronged - to allow me to first focus on the design thinking - to consider overall components, interaction patterns and page layouts etc. Secondly, to then provide the design rationale, and to frame the solutions in such a way to draw out UX thinking from the apprentice UX practitioners, generating discussions around the 'why'. This seemed very helpful in encouraging critical design thinking, whilst also being pragmatic in the need for getting the work done under a tight time deadline.

Outcome

The client (and therefore agency) were happy with the redesigned segments of their site.

The mentoring of apprentice UX designers was the greater win as I was able to provide insight to a UX working practice, including the 'why', and to shed light on best-practice ways of working.

Learnings

As a knowledge and skills-based contractor rather than in-house employee, it's not often I get to mentor newer or younger UX practitioners and so this was a bonus of this engagement. It was a joy to share knowledge and lend keen design insight, as well as rationale behind design decisions to those eager to learn.

This project experience re-enforces the need for a UX-led design approach in any product design project. I was also reminded that this isn't always possible, despite best intentions.