Helping to improve trust when choosing a new matress


The challenge: To improve the lack of trust users have with the comfort planning tool on the IKEA website.

The opportunity: Planning tools are detached from the physical shopping experience. An integrated tool creates a more wholesome shopping experience.

The solution: To integrate comfort planning in the IKEA shopping experience.

My role: Qualitative user testing, paper wireframing, digital prototyping in Figma and contributing to the design of the shopping experience.

Product evaluation


The project started with an extensive product evaluation. We were introduced to the comfort guide and bed configurator through a conversation with our contact person at IKEA. The conversation also gave insight into the products’ goal and whether the designers thought they reached it.

In the cognitive walkthrough, our team went through the two tools ourselves to get a feel for the products and document our initial experience of using the tools. A product buildup was executed to document all the tools’ functions. Furthermore, we looked into the tools of competitors to compare the functionalities. Persona’s and context of use were set up to help create a realistic storyline of how the tools would be used. Based on all research activities mentioned before, a user evaluation test was set up and executed to evaluate the tools’ usability, experience, and actual helpfulness in the customer’s decision-making process when buying a mattress.

Interaction Vision


The current interaction with the product feels like trying to play a board game without having read the manual. You are left on your own to figure out what all the game elements are for and how to use them to reach the end of the game. We want to make the interaction with our redesign feel like having a friend introduce you to a new board game. It should feel guided, trustworthy, patient, and fun.

Proposed user experience


The proposed user experience aims to bring the physical and online shopping experience closer together. By introducing elements, such as in-store tags, to the online platform, the user is setup to recognize elements. The physical shopping experience can now function as a moment to try out IKEA products, so that the recommendations are considered trustworthy by users.

Wireframing and Design System


Through small iterative testing of multiple concepts, the user experience evolved over several design sprints. Every sprint a new idea would come up, would be tested and discussed. Each test aimed to bring higher fidelity to the prototypes, from paper to Figma later on. The final design would be a compromise between each team members' design. This was my contribution, which would later be the basis of the designed layout.

User Testing


Before executing the final user test, a test plan was drawn up, including test considerations, a test setup, and a method. This plan was tested with two separate pilot tests, through which the test plan was adjusted to get more precise results.

The results of the final user test were compared to those of the original comfort guide to evaluate whether the redesign improved the user experience. Lastly, the results were used to see which elements of the redesign could be improved further.

Each session took around 45 minutes and took place in the house of the facilitator. The facilitator sat next to the participant to guide them through the user test. The note-taker was present through Zoom to take notes. If the participant had agreed to the consent form, the Zoom meeting was also recorded for further analysis.

A new comfort planning tool for IKEA


The interface is divided into two sections; The left section mainly presents the interaction between the system and users and the right section is for the results, which shows the sorting process and recommendations, reflecting the user’s actions

Expected benefits from this structure are the users could directly notice what the recommendations are based on and the all-in-one layout enhances efficiency for the users by reducing the stress on turning pages. As the IKEA chatbot is integrated into the questions & answers area, users could easily access the chatbot and ask their personal queries while they are answering the questions, so that the system becomes more interactive compared to the current one-way communication. The tag system provides intuitive information, so that the users could take rough ideas about each product in the gallery view before looking through the products in detail. The tags could be also used in the offline store to match with the offline experience. Moreover, a much detailed sorting function is available with those tags.

Implementation


Although never confirmed by the IPEX team, we found several of our teams decisions implemented in the IKEA website and testing storefront in Delft. While it is not certain if this was due to our impact, I would like to believe that we at least helped the thought process of creating a more integrated and trustworthy mattress shopping experience.