Grailed is a community marketplace for secondhand luxury men's clothing. Before Grailed, users would use niche forum marketplaces, social media groups, Reddit and eBay to buy and sell these items. Grailed provides a specialized service to better connect this audience to the garments they're looking for.
I worked independently to assess Grailed's user experience and consult them on ways to improve the service for its users. Deliverables included a user research review as well as mockups of the proposed design improvements.
Understanding the users
To kick things off, I conducted in-depth interviews with existing users to identify their needs, wants and frustrations when using Grailed. I also talked to them about their shopping habits in order to learn more about them as a consumer of luxury menswear, as well as their cross-device usage since the Grailed iOS app had launched recently.
Furthermore, I delved into Twitter, Reddit and related forum threads to find any suggestions, problems and comments about the service. Since Grailed serves a niche audience that operates on the internet, there was an abundance of information to collect using this method.
I compiled all the key insights and analyzed the research to discover three major problems users were experiencing when using Grailed.
- The app was not delivering a complete experience
- The experience of browsing and discovering items on the site wasn't meeting user needs
- The community of Grailed was interacting with each other in a negative way
After consulting the Grailed team, they decided to have me focus on finding ways to improve the community (3).
Opportunity for improvement
Community behaviour isn't something that can instantly be fixed. The approach would be to give users features and tools that would promote more positive behaviour.
Personas, journey mapping and insights from research helped identify elements of the service that were contributing towards the undesirable community that users were describing.
On Grailed, profiles only consisted of a custom username and country of location to identify users. Less information about other users lead to a less personable experience. This was identified as an important aspect of why users lacked empathy when negotiating purchases and sales.
More human interactions
Grailed users felt an absence of community and connection with other users. Grailed didn't have the same forum experience they were used to, such as having avatars to identify other users by.
Grailed's feedback page lacked detail, information and felt unimportant to users. This deterred people from leaving quality feedback as well reducing their trust in the feedback ratings.
Designing the solution
Below are annotated mockups of proposed changes - feel free to click on an image to expand it.
Nearly every change was made for the goal of empowering users to interact positively in the community. Since shifting a culture is a gradual process with no direct solution, it was important to communicate the rationale and supported research on the proposed changes.
I approached the project with the intention of delivering a solution that could be implemented using the existing Grailed design. As it turns out, leveraging the existing design allowed me to transition from sketches to high fidelity mockups without sacrificing detail or speed. This was beneficial in user testing as well as presenting to the Grailed team as they could visualize and interact with the prototypes much easier.
Finding the right solution
At one point, I was so focused on how to "fix" the negative Grailed user behaviour instead of designing ways to improve the community. I had to remind myself that human behaviour and interactions can't be instantly changed with a design. The real goal revolved around delivering features and improvements to users for better interactions.