The retail market has seen a drastic shift with evolving technology – sites recommending other products based on users' past purchases, favourite items and items purchased by others with similar spending habits.
I Style Myself (ISM), a mobile app with the objective of allowing people to catalogue their wardrobe items, manage outfits and curate personal styles has attempted to venture into the space of recommending additional items for users to purchase.
I Style Myself wanted to learn more about the effectiveness of the app’s interface, the customer experience it provides, and whether it matches the way its target audience perceives outfit selection.
The research questions set out in this study seek to explore how users perceive this app and whether the outfit selection process within the app effectively matches the users current habits:
How well does the site / app support the way that people think about their wardrobe and choose outfits?
Identify any ways in which the user experience of working with the site / app could be improved, in terms of the way ISM fits with the way that people think about buying and putting together outfits.
Does this app help users discover new styles?
Do the items match the users’ current shopping criteria?
Are users able to find things they would consider when shopping at a regular shop?
This usability study consisted of three methods which were applied to evaluate the ISM mobile application and to answer the research questions mentioned above:
Semi-structured interviews (30 mins) - These were conducted in order to understand the users current habits when selecting an outfit.
Usability testing (30 mins) - During the tests users were given a set of tasks to complete using the app. While performing these tasks they were asked to think aloud and describe their experience.
Other methods such as contextual inquiries or ethnography were considered, however due to the nature of this project they were not possible to conduct.
Transcription of interviews
Thematic analysis of transcriptions
Analysis of recorded usability sessions
The findings are broken down into 3 parts: the users approach to outfit selection, online shopping and technology.
Checking the weather of the day is important when choosing a suitable outfit. If by the end of the day it is going to rain, the shoes chosen will be based on this. Some people check the weather the night before, others every morning.
The occasion will define how far in advance the outfit will be planned. For instance, a birthday party requires something more fun that might already be in her wardrobe, whilst a wedding is an opportunity to buy something new.
Not directly related to an occasion, the diary refers to what the person has planned for everyday situations, such as meetings, gym classes, happy hours and company events.
When shopping online users specifically search fit within their budget, are something they need and are comfortable with buying online.
Online or offline?
Offline. Being able to try items on are a big influencer in making that purchase.
If it’s on sale users feel they are going to make the most of their money
With personal recommendations users expect that the application would understand their personal style, their physique and complexion. These are expectations they have when engaging with sales associates in stores.
Users are skeptical. Why?
Users use online shopping as a way to 'window shop'. They want to try items on in store, as many products from various brands fit differently. Users are only comfortable shopping with brands which have standard sizes and fits across their product ranges.