UX Research Visit to Shop Direct

This week as part of Project Based Learning two student teams from The Studio were invited to meet with their mentors at Shop Direct Headquarters to make use of the User Experience laboratory.

Based in Speke, Skyways House is home to online e-commerce giant Shop Direct who manage a range of global digital retailers including Very, Isme and Littlewoods. Just over a year ago the company built their first User Experience (UX) lab to improve customer journeys and conversion statistics.

The two student teams were given a tour of the Shop Direct headquarters, including the on site photography studio and video suite, whilst learning about the history of the Liverpool company.

Team Resonance met with their mentor and Senior UX Designer, Michael Gomnam to work on their idea for a digital platform to sell student artwork, whilst Team Jungle Box met with their mentor Kate Rylance, Senior UX Researcher to discuss their student enterprise idea.

In the UX laboratory the teams were able to put their website designs to the test with a group of test customers. They used the observation lab to observe customers as they used their websites for the first time, relying on numerous webcams, microphones and eye tracking software to provide detailed responses.

The groups received great feedback from their customer testing sessions, and left with lots of plans to improve their projects. After the session both teams were invited into the photography studio for a product photo shoot which provided them with professional images to use on their websites.

Kate Rylance, Senior UX Researcher at Shop Direct and mentor of Team Jungle Box, curated the visit. She said:

“The students performed brilliantly during their recent visit to Shop Direct. The importance of testing your website, product or service with actual users is key, and the girls did a brilliant job of facilitating a user session in our UX Lab and took note of points for improvement in the observation room. The team were really professional despite it being their first time in Shop Direct and in a UX Lab – potential UX Researchers in the making?!

“As well as highlighting areas of focus or areas to improve on, the user testing of ‘Jungle Box’ also validated what a great business idea the girls have developed and that it really does fill a gap in the market.

“It takes resilience, tenacity and an understanding of being unbiased to put your own work in front of a real-life representative target audience in a UX Lab and I am more than impressed with the team’s enthusiasm and professionalism in doing so. Great job girls!”