‘A new hope’ update part II

Final version with a sticky, side nav menu.

The project is finished. I concluded it in just under 2 weeks time. I learned a lot about myself during this and I picked up some really good insights and advice along the way.

To pick up where I left off last week, I had finished the first iteration of the landing page and was preparing to get user feedback. The problem was that I waited until I was done designing to look for testers. This set me back a few days because people’s schedules being what they are, I had to work on their time. So it took over 2 days to complete those. I ended up with 5 user testers. From those, I received enough feedback, advice and response that I felt comfortable in moving into the final design stage of the project.

My original goals did not change much throughout the project. You can see that I kept the voice and look of the site intact. All the users and surveys pointed to the fact that the site utilized minimalistic elements and whitespace to evoke an elegant “feel.” Users liked that the site was improved by unifying the sizing and layout of banners and giving it a message. Placing corporate values and services at the top, followed by seasonal promotions was key to strengthening the message. After those users were introduced to some carousels showcasing popular and or curated items based on their (editable) location or previous selections. A few other promotions followed and then ended with a reminder of Nordstrom’s famous return commitment to customer service.

After unifying the message, it was important to make the navigation menu accessible at all times. 66% of users shop by the nav menu. I decided to make it a sticky, side modal that would travel the length of this still long-scrolling site. The nav would always be there when the user was ready to shop! As a side note, I did shorten the scroll length by approximately 3000 pixels. That went hand in hand with reducing and/or clarifying some of the copy text that some found confusing.

In all the Nordstrom message stayed the same, the changes were mostly contained to how the content was displayed. I was happy with results and the testers were impressed as well. With the basics nailed down it was time to make final improvements for a finalized version to cap off the project.

Improvement feedback was a long list, but mostly involved the details within the details. It was a fine-tuning of everything before it rolled onto the road. Here is a list of some of the bigger changes I made:

  • Vertically aligned banner headers for easier content scanning.
  • Shortened carousels to 5 images to reduce cognitive load.
  • Increased size of the Nordstrom logo to stand out better.
  • Added a large BLM font to the BLM banner to emphasize the message.
  • Added a ‘shop by category’ banner and revised, that I previously removed.
  • Added a ‘find open stores’ tab at the top. It was previously with the covid message and stated ‘find nearest store.’
  • Shrunk all banners by 30 px as users stated the banners were still huge.

I made several other smaller alterations along the way that may not merit mentioning. Hopefully when you look at the official site next to my version you will see how it the message is improved, more poignant, easier to scan and purposeful.

I enjoyed this project because I learned a couple new tricks, learned some pitfalls to avoid and got to practice a short-term sprint. This wasn’t a huge challenge for me. I could have decided to completely revamp the look, but I approached this with a “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. My next project will be a more ambitious for me personally. I might delve into to trying to rebrand a product or write some strategy for a service or change its environment. I also would like to practice my research skills or copy writing. If I live as long as I plan to, then I just may be able to tackle all those things and more.

A UX Designer in a UX Designer world