Lowe's -- Web Redesign 

Competitive & User Research | Site Mapping | User Flow| Usability Testing | IA & UI Redesign | Wireframes & Mockups | Prototype Testing

Artboard

Project Overview 

Lowe’s is a 71 year old company trying to keep up with the changing customer climate.

With 17 millions weekly customers, there is a strong sense of brand loyalty but their online sales are small compared to their top competitor, and the gap is growing every year.

For this project, the goal was to offer a redesign for the Lowe's website based on research conducted by me and my research partner that would simplify and enhance the online shopping experience. 

The thorough UX research lead to a redesign that showed a 75% increase in comfort navigating the site and satisfaction with the way in which information is provided - revealing the tangible potential to improve the Lowe's site. 

 Lowe’s Profile

Lowe’s competes in a broad competitive landscape including domestic and international home improvement warehouse chains and lumberyards. Lowe’s also competes with traditional home maintenance and supply retailers.

With 2,365 stores and $65 billion in sales, Lowe’s provides an exemplar in-store shopping experience. Customers took pleasure perusing the easy to navigate ailes and neatly displayed products. One customer said, “being in Lowe’s is enjoyable, like Ikea but without the claustrophobia.”

Looking at a competitive map, however, we see their online competition goes beyond their principal rival, Home Depot.

competitive map
E-commerce

Lowe’s falls behind when it comes to their online shopping experience. We see that the gap between Lowe’s and Home Depot has been growing steadily. With other omni-channel online retailers like Amazon, Overstock, and Houzz, Lowe’s is in need of improvement in order to compete in the online market.

 

competitive graph
Lowe's Current Site

Mapping the current Lowe’s site is a massive undertaking. With dozens of departments and no clear way-finding, the site is riddled with customer pain points and, what shouldn’t come as a surprise, their online sales only account for 3.5% of total sales.

Lowe’s Site Map

Scope of Work

2 week delivery

Initial Assumption

Moving forward, we proceeded with the idea that seeing what works with the Lowe’s in-store experience is the best starting point for the online redesign.

Research — Week 1

Contextual Inquiry on location

Evaluate IA heuristic (best practices)

Conduct current site usability test

Identify key user pain points

Design — Week 2

Create key personas

Run Design Studio

Incorporate goals of the business and brand

Conduct prototype test using clickable prototype

Synthesize results

Design — Week 2

Create key personas

Run Design Studio

Incorporate goals of the business and brand

Conduct prototype test using clickable

prototype

Synthesize results

Contextual Inquiry Key Findings
  • 6 out of 6 preferred Lowe’s over the nearby Home Depot
  • Most customers came to the store with a “list” of what they needed
  • 4 out of 6 shoppers were researching using their phones while shopping in the store
  • Out of the 6 interviews, NONE had shopped at lowes.com but many actively shop on amazon.com

Card Sorting, an IA assessment tool, revealed users don’t categorize products according to the single classification method employed on the site.

Heuristics Evaluation

An in-depth Heuristics evaluation revealed that the Lowe’s site is a complete omni-channel e-commerce site. Next step is to evaluate user friendliness.

Usability Test

The Usability Test asked users to find a specific product, add it to the cart, exit the cart page and search for a related product to include in the purchase.

Key Findings

  • Contrary to the site’s focus on providing tips, ideas, and customer service, users didn’t rely on Lowe’s for expert knowledge.
  • 3 out of 4 users weren’t satisfied with the information provided about their desired product.
  • 4 out of 4 users preferred the search bar to find products over hunting through the Department drop menu.
  • 4 out of 4 users prefer to shop at amazon.com over lowes.com.
Task/User Flow

A simple task flow shows that there were typically seven actions necessary to go from the landing page to the checkout page when purchasing one product without any product refinement.

The User Flow based on the usability test reveals that there are multiple additional actions necessary to complete the user’s task, highlighting the sites lack of human-centered design.

User Journey

This flow depicts several pain points that can arise during a typical experience on lowes.com.

Searching for a product requires several refining actions in order to find a desired item; The site’s Related Item suggestions lead to a specific item page when 4 out of 4 users would prefer a broader category page; Users can’t save searches without being logged in;

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 12.21.33 PM
Wireframes

Looking at wireframes of the current home page, we see several user Pain Points — annotated in red.
 

wireframes
Additional User Pain Points
  • Ads take up too much real estate, making the site look less reliable.
  • Recommended Items don’t offer suggestions in a useful way.
  • Categories aren’t intuitive enough to help all users.
  • Site prioritizes expertise but actual users aren’t interested in that.
MVP & Problem Statement

The research proved that finding desired items was unintuitive and cumbersome, and users preferred avoiding navigating the site. In other words, the customer friendly experience offered at a Lowe’s store did not carry over to the digital world.

Thus, the MVP became redesigning item finding UI to enhance user friendliness. I constructed this problem statement:

How might we streamline item finding to create a more pleasant and intuitive shopping experience.

The Redesign of lowes.com

Personas

Based on research, I created personas to focus the redesign around.

 

primary persona

Prop Manag

secondary personas

secondary personas
Redesign KPIs


User Test rating will represent a more enjoyable experience.

Fewer steps to add multiple items to cart.

Users find suggestions useful alternative to the search bar for locating desired items.

Redesign KPIs


User Test rating will represent a more

enjoyable experience.

Fewer steps to add multiple items to cart.

Users find suggestions useful alternative to

the search bar for locating desired items.

Redesign Mockup Comparison

Clean-up on Aisle Home Page

mockup comparison
Key Changes:
  • Suggested products are divided into intuitive categories Indoor and Outdoor. Allowing for multiple search methods.
  • Recommended Searches bar based on previous searches is smaller and become less intrusive.
  • Previously Viewed and Recommended suggestions are now above the fold.
  • Site has an open feel, described as “having breathing room.”
  • Drawer menu with multiple methods to search for desired products. (seen below)

 

Home Page: Drawer Menu
A — User finds Rugs through the Decor & Furnishing department.
B — User finds  rugs through Rooms department.
Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 1.27.41 PM
Department Page
 
A — Expertise, DYI, & Promotions are moved to the side and become less invasive.
B — Useful item categories become paramount and accompanied with images.
C — Drop menu for refined search options eliminates endless scrolling and presents all options on the same hierarchy.
Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 2.23.57 PM
Suggesting Additional Items
 

Complete Your Room menu added to lead users to easy to navigate categories rather than individual products.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 2.14.45 PM

Keep for Later option added for non lowes.com members to make the experience more user friendly.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 2.18.40 PM

Prototype User Test

Using a clickable prototype, users were tasked to add a a white rug to their cart, then find a bedroom lamp and add that to their cart as well. An additional task was to avoid purchasing items already in their cart in order to test the intuitiveness of the new Keep In Cart feature.

Prototype Link


click me

Test Results
  • 4 of 4 users tested found the information provided useful.
  • 4 of 4 users completed all the tasks with ease.
  • 3 of 4 users found all the items they were looking for without using the search bar.