Wrap Queens case study

Their moto: spend the season giving, not wrapping! My moto:  spend the process testing not guessing.

The Intro

My Role

The UX and UI designer. I really enjoyed working with this company. They were so much fun.

The Problem

Research, ideate, brand, wireframe and design an e-commerce based site for a seasonal gift wrapping company.

The Challenge

Create and brand the entire site from scratch. There was no exsisting UI or website for this company. It was a huge undertaking for just 80 hours, but I felt confident that I could get it done.

The Big Tease

Christmas is already one of the most branded ideas out there. How do I make this brand unique without loosing the holiday flair? I would come to realize that this particular e-commerce set up was not exactly what I thought it would be, and discovering the solution would require trusting the testing process more than ever.

The begining

In choosing my first project a real UX designer I wanted to work on something that would fit into my wheelhouse as a former theatrical designer. Speaking with my network and looking for potential problems to solve amongst my friends business ventures was a great way to start building a database of potential clients. I ended up with some friends of mine who were also in the process of a career pivot and had started a whimsical holiday gift wrapping company. I was immediately drawn to the idea by its fun attitude and flair for reaching people. It struck me a service that could provide connivence in the marketplace where one didn’t really already exists. The seasonal holiday feeling also grabbed me as a way to express some flare in the design. Having the ability to add value to a design with whimsical touches is a big strength of mine and  pairing up with this company seemed like a match made in heaven.
Project Focus
My Role
•UI design
•UX/ UI designer
•6 weeks

The Breif

Wrap Queens is a seasonal gift wrapping service company. Founded in November 2020 by two out of work theatre professionals. What started as a side hustle expecting to mostly profit on person to person services was quickly replaced by the real demand the business found which was business to business or pop up services. Over the course of booking the short holiday season Wrap Queens mainly profited from single day pop up events located at local business’.

The great story of this venture is that it has proven itself to be a winning idea in a underserved market. Looking to the 2021 season Wrap Queens needed to create an online advertising and booking platform in order to spread the word about the need for their amazing service. In doing this they hoped to book all upcoming events through this platform and be able to use it as a method for billing and pick up reservation services as well.

the Solution

In my first sit down interview with the founders I wanted to discover what the business was aiming to achieve  moving into the future. What was so fascinating was how they discovered that their original business model of single person wrapping service had barely accounted for 10 percent of their overall business. What instead had become their main source of revenue was providing pop-up wrapping events.

Looking back on this now it makes sense. Both of theses two had spent their entire careers creating entertainment events, so of course the best service they new how to provide became a kind of entertainment event in itself. These single day business based events brought people out of their home during the pandemic in a safe, social-distanced way and provided them with a service that was not only value adding but fun as well.

I wanted to find a way capitalize on this feeling. We needed to find a way to streamline the process of drop off and pick up for these events and provide a way for business’ to book these events in the future with more ease. What I felt my charge was to take the bookkeeping part of the transaction and move it farther away from the entertainment part so people would have more time to enjoy.
I started with a swath of competitor analysis looking at large scale wrapping service provided by bog boxers (like Amazon, or Target) as well as the  small business model that is much closer to companies business model. What I discovered was that while the big box dealer would provide the wrapping at a small cost ($2-8 bucks) they didn’t provide any personalization to the gifts. You can’t pick your paper or get a gift tag that was hand written. The big guys also placed more importance on branding their wrapping to identify themselves. This was my first clue at what to start asking in my interviews. Does what the wrapping under your tree looks like matter to you?

The small business competitors all seemed to offer the personalization I thought users would want but they did so at a much higher price point and generally didn’t offer single customer wrapping service. I found that interesting, being that small compaines had mostly conceded that customers would either wrap themselves, or have a store at the mall do it for a small cost if offered. Now remember this is during the pandemic, so going to the mall for Christmas gifts is basically out. So how do we jump into this  market that does not seem to exsist anymore? That is the problem that Wrap Queens was attemping to solve.
The biggest draw back of the small local business seemed to be that users might not find them trustworthy. These are their Christmas gifts after all. No one wants to get taken by the grinch and be left with nothing but coal under the tree. This would lead me me question two of the user interview. What makes you trust a company?

The Research

I wanted to find individuals that were likely to use such a service based on age, income, and demographics. Most participants were quite happy to chat openly about the holidays. It is the time of year that brings out the best in folks.
•What online brands do users find trustworthy?
•How much do users spend on wrapping supplies?
•Do users think a service like this would add value to their gifts?
•What markers do users look for to feel a website is legitimate?
•Conduct online and in person interviews one on one
•Ask questions about users methods building trust with a company and general information about how they might utilize a wrapping service.
•Record all feedback and synthesize results to aid in developing personas
The people I interviewed were a huge help. It really opened my eyes on many key subjects pertaining to the solutions, mainly:
•Users wanted an uncluttered website experience
•Users wanted multiple ways to verify of a companies existence
•Users want a site to feel clean an up to date
•Users wanted legal guarantees on their purchase
•Users wanted to see pictures of the products and the people.
•Users rarely used a service unless sending a package out of town
•Users spent on average $50 per season on supplies
•Users coveted “Martha Stewart” type wrapping skills, but didn’t want others to know they had used a service.
Taking all the information obtained from the research I built a persona that embodied the traits of many users and would be the basis for the prototypical user moving forward. Evelyn is the embodiment of the prototypical user.
She is so much fun! I am sure if she were real, you and her would be best friends!

The Flow

With these new knowledge on hand I set about building a roadmap to the solution. I started with literally a feature roadmap and built a site map and some user and task flows to get into the flow of how users might interact with the site. I knew I wanted it to be a fun and simple process, because the value of the company was really based in human interactions, so the simpler we could get people to that end the better. I researched many other websites to get an idea of the patterns that most users would expect when using a similar site to this. Not that I didn’t want the experience on this site to be unique, but I mostly didn’t want anyone to come across a flow that wasn’t instantly recognizable and easy to accomplish.

the Solution

With that part of the process out of the way, I started putting pen to paper and looking for the way to best tell the story of Wrap Queens visually. After some initial sketches I moved to Figma to start wire framing a playful and whimsical site that users could be drawn into and would hopefully remind them of the experience that the service provided.
I also got to start looking at so many wonderfully warm and fun holiday photos that I would use as inspiration moving forward. Photos were one of the biggest buzzwords that interviewees had used. They all had pleasant memories of the holidays that could be stimulated by the proper photography. Some even brought a smile to their face that I felt could easily be transferred into feelings about Wrap Queens at the same time.
All the photos needed to feel warm, and colorful. Users all reacted to red, gold and autumn tones. Pictures with families and children also got great reactions. Any photo that featured wrapped packages that users felt were “beyond their skills” were seen as a huge positive.

The Style

So the problem with Christmas is that it has an existing color scheme right? It is almost impossible to escape the expectation of red and green. But on the other hand having the phycological expectation built in to begin with also immediately tells users what the site is trying to convey without more explanation. So rather than reinvent the wheel I choose to lean in. Finding tones that felt warm, inviting, and full of color and whimsy was a challenge. Users don’t want to feel like they are giving their packages away to a bunch of kids. Instead they want Martha Stewart showing up at the front door and somehow creating wrapping paper out of your old curtains and making it look like you spent a fortune on it. Color choice plays a huge role in this. Hot pink might say fun, but it doesn’t necessarily convey trust.
Combining that feeling with the whimsical elements to keep the sight playful while still elegant is like hooking up Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog. It might not make sense from first glance but we all know it just somehow works.

The Usability

Constructing the prototype was a big undertaking and required me to pivot on entire design ideas more than once. Just when I thought I was headed in the right direction I would look back to the persona and research and realize that I need to refocus in a different direction. Just when you started to feel good about the fun packaging icons, I would test them to only find they no longer matched the rest of the site. This was a big lesson for me, test, test, and then test again. Never let yourself get trapped in your own vacuum drinking your own kool-aid. Let the opinions of the test instead open your mind to what is possible and build from there. Testing makes the bridge stronger, not weaker. When you take the time to really listen to the feedback and look for the flaws in yourself you can grow into a much better designer.  

After settling on the design as a whole I turned my attention to the usability testing. I wanted to make sure users could get through the whole process of ordering and learning about a company that they would trust.
•Observe how users accomplish given tasks
•Evaluate the ordering process and look for missing items
•Discover how users looked for clues in the design they could trust
•Find what elements of the design users enjoyed
Using the affinity map I built from these tests I was able to design a plan to make the site much easier to navigate and fill out the holes discovered in the process. I found this incredibly useful. In fact the last person I tested discovered a huge flaw in the process that the other participants had failed to see and quite frankly saved me from a huge omission in the buying process. Test, Test, Test it’s the best!

The Hi-Fi

Using all the information gather in this process from beginning to end I was able to deliver this beautiful design to the founders. They were incredibly pleased. I look forward to helping them further develop and grow this site moving forward.

the Big

Thanks so much for reading all the way down to the bottom. I hope you liked reading about this project as much as I enjoyed doing it.
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