Your group will brainstorm interactive data tools that *people in search of specific products* on an e-commerce startup site will use to find the best item for them. Here are the rules:
- Effectively visualize some aspect of the dataset for users. You will not be able to visualize everything. You are not required to show all of the data, but data related to products must be a component of your final design.
- Focus on the interactions in the interface. How will users get an overview? How will they "zoom in" to see more details? How do they backtrack or remember where they have been? Can you go beyond filtering and incorporate new interactions we haven't seen before? How do you avoid recreating a traditional "product list + search" faceted browsing page?
- Your final design concept should include at least 3 specific interactive elements.
- Consider how best to manage the information that a user sees. Don't try to throw everything at the problem. Instead, be cautious in how you include new visual elements and interactions. You should be able to justify every design decision you make.
- Note that you may design for mobile multi-touch devices or traditional desktop platforms. Pick one as a group.
Please follow this procedure:
Step 1 - 11:25AM to 11:33AM - [GROUP] Identify Key Goals
Step 2 - 11:33AM to 11:43AM - [INDIVIDUAL] Two sketches
- As a group, read the instructions and Brief included below.
- Together, take a look at the Example use cases. Choose one existing example or invent a new use case that you want to support through your visualization tool.
- Rank those tasks in order of importance using any method you'd like (e.g. voting, by consensus)
- In any remaining time, check out some of the visualizations posted to Ed Discussion and your favorite existing e-commerce sites for inspiration.
Step 3 - 11:43AM to 12:00PM - [GROUP] Final design
- Now, working individually, begin making two very rough visualization sketches that best satisfy those tasks. Keep them low fidelity. You can use any medium you like (e.g.pen and paper, tablets, UI prototyping software, presentation tools, a whiteboard).
- Refer back to the dataset and think about what you want to show.
- Keep polishing your ideas until your group reconvenes.
- As a group, go around and discuss each person's sketches. Keep it to 1 minute per sketch.
- Working together, create a consensus sketch.
- We will reconvene at the end to check out everyone's ideas.
Your group is an elite team of UX designers at an up-and-coming Internet commerce firm, Nile. Nile sells a variety of products globally through a hugely popular online platform. One major challenge for Nile's continuing growth is another competitor, Rhine, which also markets consumer products through a popular online platform. You have been tasked with revising the Nile interface so that it is more user friendly to the tech-savvy customers who spend the most money on the site. The C-suite of the company sees improving the buying experience as the best chance they have to beat their competitor. You are to create a new, highly interactive tool for exploring these data. While you will have a couple of years to complete a full tool, you must deliver a proposal outlining your visual and interactive elements as soon as possible.
As is the case with many rapidly growing technology companies, Nile's infrastructure has not kept pace with their growth. The current site, developed in 2003 and only updated in a minor way, uses hyperlinks and requires users to click on filter criteria one at a time before the page reloads. Search is rudimentary at best. Reviews are included on the site, but they just show as a big list at the bottom of a long product details page.
Here are some example use cases
to consider (but feel free to make up your own):
- A tech-savvy user is looking to buy a new phone, but they don't know what kind of features are available in current phones (and which ones do it best). They need help learning about the products as well as making a decision.
- An expecting mother is looking for baby products which will be healthy and safe for their newborn. They are frustrated that existing sites do not let them search by safety ratings, ingredients, and reviews by people like them.
- A student is looking for a new down jacket for the surprisingly cold winters in their northeastern college town. They have heard of one expensive brand of Australian Emu coat, but want to learn about other similar products before they decide to spend the extra money.
- An office manager was tasked with buying a new keyboard for the CEO of their company, but completely forgot for the past week. They suddenly remember the task, and need to complete it as fast as humanly possible. They probably also want to get some kind of treat to soften the blow of the late purchase.
- A local foodbank organizer is looking to purchase bulk foods at bargain prices for their community. They want to search for a set of products that, as a group, fit within their budget. They are also interested in unexpected deals and products they might not have otherwise considered.
Nile Product Data
** The "raw" data you can access are a table of individual products available on Nile. Assume that the company has somehow resolved any internationalization / language issues and has the ability to accurately categorize all items.
| Name of item || Descriptive title of item |
| Item categories || Tags/categories describing item (e.g. "camera", "housewares", "60w lightbulb") |
| Price || Current and past price of item |
| Sales and promotions || Current and past discounts |
| Product details || Descriptive details about the product |
| Average product rating || Review rating of product at time of purchase |
| Buyer reviews || If buyer reviewed, score and review |
| Location of sales || Lat/lng coordinates of buyers |
| Geo-info for sale || City, State, Country for past buyers |
| Similar products || Items similar to this product |
| "Also purchased" || Items also purchased by buyers |
| Buyer demographics || Hyper-detailed demographics of buyers (e.g. gender identity, age, relationship status, region of birth, interests, possessions, bad habits) |
** Your database team at Nile is very smart, and they are happy to put together some aggregated data to make your life easier. Here are a few examples:
| Total monthly sales for specific products by demographics - Do all cat owners buy litter online? |
| Highest rated product bought by at least 10 people in Florida every March |
| (Feel free to invent additional plausible pieces of data) |
**You've also got access to an internal AI platform that tries to predict future trends. Here are a few examples of what it can provide:
| Expected items of interest for a specific client/time/region |
| The likelihood that a specific buyer demographic will buy a specific product |
| (Feel free to invent additional plausible data predictions) |
Remember: Do not try to visualize all of these attributes.