Revolutionizing Online Shopping through AI-Powered Sizing

P.S. Collective

  • UX Research: Led a 5-people team for User Interviews, Persona Mapping, Affinity Mapping, Empathy Maps
  • UX design: Solo work for Wireframing, Prototyping, Usability Testing
project context
  • Jan - Apr 2022
    (10 weeks)
  • Experiential Network Sponsored Project
  • UXR Team: Fanshu Sun, Huiyu Li, Meng Yuan, Min Xia, Yun-Ting Lien
Tool used
  • Figma
  • Miro
  • Adobe Photoshop
P.S. Collective is a unique online shopping platform that utilizes AI sizing to help customers find match outfits with a confident mindset. They collaborated with independent designers emphasizing eco-friendly and slow fashion. As a member of Northeastern University’s Experiential Network, P.S. Collective collaborated with us through the Usability course.
Customers are having doubts and low confidence in trying another new clothing brand with new tech
Lots of customers have experienced learned helplessness when shopping for clothes. Most of them had experienced investing money into unfit or under-quality clothes. Repetitive failures of picking fitful clothes result in lost confidence/trust and cumulative doubts about sizing and new brands like P.S. Collective.
Providing enough assurance in app design is the key.
Incorporate the new tech in a soft way
  • Streamline the measurement process with AR tech, reducing the possibility of errors
  • Enable users to verify the AI sizing result by comparing it with the sizes they purchased before, enhancing their confidence in the AI sizing feature
  • Audio guidance during the measurement process makes it more accessible to users who may have difficulty reading the words on screen in a distance
Empower the shopping experience with right information
  • Provide enough information and details from both brand and other customers to reduce the opportunity cost of user's first purchase
  • Size chart is kept with size recommendation so that customers are given the freedom to choose
  • Help users to find the perfect outfit by suggesting compatible items based on the product they are currently viewing
Level up the privacy
  • Provide repetitive reminders to users that their personal data and images are not kept in the system and are not shared with any third parties.
  • Provide an opt-out option for a peace of mind: users can erase their data anytime if they want.
research direction
A more specified research direction born from a mistake
Our initial research focused on general shopping, seeking to understand users' attitudes and behaviors towards online shopping. While important, we overlooked the unique features of P.S. Collective, such as its new sizing technology and it being a new brand in market. The hard technology of P.S. Collective is already addressing existing issues (i.e. sizing) in online shopping, and our design should focus on addressing customers' emotional concerns about the opportunity cost of trying new brands and sizes.
User interview
People are curious but also doubted about the new brands and AI Sizing technology
Due to the change of research direction, we did two rounds of interviews with in total of 15 people. We confirmed people's pain points regarding online shopping from the first round of interviews, while through the second round of interviews we learned about people's opinions on new technologies and new brands.

During our user interviews, we found that customers approach new brands, particularly those with innovative sizing technologies, with a mix of skepticism and curiosity, stemming from frequent past failures. Despite their doubts, they still hope to find the perfect fit within these new brands. Our challenge is to amplify their expectations and alleviate their doubts.

1. How often do you buy clothes?
2. Where do you usually shop for clothes?
3. What are the most important factors when shopping for clothes?
4. What is your favorite shopping app/site?
    a. Why do you like it?
    b. What could be improved?
5. When will you try a new clothing brand?
6. Under what scenarios are the shopping decisions made?
7. Tell me about the last time you bought clothes online.
    a. What is the hardest part of online shopping?
When will you return your clothes and why?
    a. How do you feel about the returning process?
9. What do you feel about sustainability in fashion?
10. (Briefly introduce AI Sizing) What do you feel about AI-sizing?
We then organized all the data collected into affinity map to help form insights and brainstorm ideas to solve higher order problems.

* Affinity map from first round of interview helps us confirm and understand the general pain points of online shopping.

The major insight
Customers are most likely to try the new brands and tech when the opportunity cost is low
Based on the trend in my affinity map, I found that customers are more likely to buy from brands they purchased before due to lack of confidence in new brands. They need more assurance to try.
persona & empathy map
Based on the insights and observation, we created a persona to understand their needs and frustrations
We also used the empathy map in the persona to get more empathetic with Emily, our potential customers.
Design and improvement
4 major improvements in my design
Based on feedback from 4 other peers and several quick rounds of Guerrilla Testing, I continually iterated my design with 3 major improvements:
Final screens
The final product
Link to my full Figma prototype here.
Testing & evaluation
89% of the participants expressed that they were more likely to try P.S. Collective and AI Sizing with this app.
To better evaluate my design decisions, I conducted a moderated task-based usability test with 9 participants. Participants first browsed the P.S. Collective website and then used the app to complete an assigned shopping task. As this was a prototype, I provided guidance during the process.

The results of the study were largely positive. Participants expressed a preference for the app over the website and reported feeling more trust in the app's sizing recommendations, heightened awareness of their privacy protection, and a lower opportunity cost in trying the new brand.
Conclusion + lesson learned

What I learned from this project

This project was my first time working with real company & stakeholders and leading a group of teammates. Here are a few things I learned:

1. Communication, communication, communication.
Working on this UX project with a real company and stakeholders taught me a valuable lesson in the importance of communication. In the beginning of this project, we (including the professor) failed to clarify the stakeholders' requirements and proceeded based on our assumptions. As a result, we ended up wasting time and effort on design ideas that did not align with the stakeholders' needs, and had to change research direction after I realized these.

I learned in a hard way that it's crucial to engage with stakeholders and ask them to specify their ultimate goals, business needs, pain points, and other critical information before proceeding with the project. It taught me to ask the right questions, listen actively, and clarify ambiguities to ensure that the design solution meets the stakeholders' requirements effectively.

2. Trust your teammate and delegate right tasks.

As I led this project, I found myself getting too involved in many aspects of it and falling into the trap of micro-management at the beginning. After communicating with my team, I realized that each person has different strengths and personalities that are suitable for different tasks. I consciously started delegating some tasks to the appropriate team members and actively listened to their suggestions, aiming to make our collaboration more efficient. With smooth teamwork, we were able to quickly redirect our research direction when problems arose and promptly restart our research as soon as possible.

3. Designing with business needs in mind.
It's important to keep in mind that every design decision should serve a purpose and contribute to achieving the business goals. I have learned that it's easy to get carried away with creating visually appealing designs or focusing solely on user needs. However, it's important to strike a balance between the user's needs and the business needs. When designing, it's crucial to consider the project's objectives and key performance indicators and ensure that every design element aligns with these goals.