Early Stages: This project began unconsciously as I was trying to discover the best designer sales both online and in New York by pouring through dozens of sale emails everyday for months. Like many, over time I had unconciously signed up for ungodly amounts of retailer's emails to the point where it interrupted my work day and bordered on an addiction that I needed to read through all of them.
So like anyone with a smartphone, I tried out every app and website I could possibly find and was found wanting. Many were glutted with ads or off-topic content, others were so bare bones that they lacked timeliness or legitimacy. I wanted to know if I should go to the Alexander Wang Sample Sale on my lunch break, or if the line was too long, or if I should skip it all together. Even Twitter or Yelp couldn’t filter down enough to show a meaningful answer.
Who Shops at Designer Sample Sales? By chatting with female coworkers and the women waiting in line for sample sales I began informal interviews as to who goes to these sales, their age, what they do for a living, where they live/work, and how they find out about the sale.
What surprised me is that these sales were often considered a special trip, and while some went with friends, coworkers, and family members, the sale still had to be near where they worked or lived. These women often shopped online, were highly educated, and had the kind of job where appearance matters. The most popular methods of finding sales was through word-of-mouth or Racked.com.
My first instinct was to build an app that could crowd-source information, but I wasn't sure what information was most pertinent or what interactions would be simple enough to achieve while waiting in line or hustling inside of a crowded store. I made my best guesses and drew out my first set of sketches on heavy index cards to test with a few friends and colleagues.
After completing paper prototypes and testing simple use cases with friends and colleagues I ended up scaling back the number of initial features and screens. For the next prototype I used Keynote to quickly develop, print, and test multiple variations of purposefully rough wireframes.
Once I had a set of wireframes I was happy with I built a simple prototype using the POP app that I could then take to sample sales and show to the average shopper. While waiting in line at a sample sale I would conduct guerilla user testing based on a think-aloud method with shoppers that were waiting to get into a sale. After I got 5-6 test, I would take the feedback to go back and make another round of changes.
After showing some of the work to developers and fashion designers at a Generally Assembly/Glamour Fashion Hackathon I received input around branding and UI. These are a few examples of what some final screens of the UI might look like.