Everyday Music is a second hand music store that originated in Portland, Oregon. One of their locations resides in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle. They are known for their wide variety of music in all formats. The store is also known for their variety of vinyl records. Like Half Priced Books, customers can sell EM their music and expect a small amount of money in return.
I began my process trying to discover the type of people who would shop at Everyday Music by conducting one on one interviews. I also asked people what they thought about the original site. This was followed by the typical UX Design process.
Before changes to the design could be made, there needed to be sufficient evidence showing that those changes would be appropriate and useful. Part of the research involved in person interviews with 5 people. Some of the questions that were asked went as follows:
- Do you shop for music?
- Where do you normally go to buy music?
- Do you listen to vinyls?
- Do you own a record player?
- Do you already know what you are looking for before you start browsing for music?
- Is there anything you wish that more online music stores have but don't?
A big take away from this survey was that downloading and streaming services were the predominant method for getting music. Two of these participants admitted to owning vinyl as well going into actual stores to purchase music. These same people also admitted to downloading as an alternate route for obtaining music.
Online research revealed more in depth data in terms of sales.
- Vinyl records sales account for 6% of sales of the $3.4 billion US recording industry revenue
- Vinyl record sales continue to sell, predictably growing by 10% each year
- 47% of college students get their music from spotify. This did not account for other streaming/downloading services.
In order to remain competitive, 10 other record store websites were broken down and analyzed. Their strength and weaknesses were then analyzed. One of the intriguing things that was discovered in this process was that a couple of these record stores, although not part of the family of large corporate chains, had begun adopting their own downloading services. I thought this was a clever idea since the evidence shows many people don't stick to a single format of music.
Card Sorting & Usability Testing
User Feedback From The Original Site
Participants were asked to examine the original website and provide some feedback on what their impressions were on the design, layout, and overall ease of use. Some of the common complaints were that the collage of images scattered throughout the site in random locations gave a cluttered look. Some of the terminology like "Vinyl Tuesday" and "Used Buying Policy" were confusing and never defined. The images scattered throughout the site gave the impression they were clickable or interactive when they were not. In addition, these images were virtually indistinguishable from those images that actually were interactive.
Left Photo: Random images scattered everywhere was distracting. Users could not tell the non-interactive images apart from the interactive.
Right Photo: Large white spaces provided useless gaps and detracted from the aesthetics.
Left Photo: A carousel feature was added to solve the problem of the cluttered look of the interface. Search bar added to find music faster
Right Photo: Designing a create account and credit card section was included for making purchases and returning customers
Left Photo: Search results page with advanced filtering options customers find what they are looking for.
Right Photo: "New Releases" and "Top Sellers" are now in the same location which simplifies information architecture
Left Photo: A downloading section was added on the album details page. Customers have the option of leaving a review.
Right Photo: Order confirmation page showing items in cart as well as grand total before officially placing order.
Left Photo: Product inventory section shows how much is in stock and at which location, thus saving time.
Right Photo: Added a "Get Directions" button for link to Google maps to help customers with finding store locations.
Mockup Of Home Page
- A static collection of inspirational images replaced the carousel feature
- Additional research showed after peak usage in 2015, carousels have been declining in popularity
- Research confirms 84% of people ignore whatever comes after the first slider image
- Research to find if people would like an added section for featured indie artist
- Create a section where people can sample local and featured indie artists
What I Learned
- Research findings should always take priority over personal taste when deciding design changes
- My own views on the intuitiveness of my designs will inevitably be biased therefore, usability testing is important to reveal this.
- Focus on tailoring design decisions to be practical and centered around the best interest of the owner and there business model