©2019 by Carissa Gabilheri. Proudly created with Wix.com

Bookstore Site Redesign

A Case Study to Improve Usability

Overview - Why?

Book Soup is not your average local bookstore. It has been around Los Angeles for 44 years, it is home to over 60,000 titles, and it’s located on the prominent Sunset Strip & in LAX. It is Sir Elton John’s favorite bookstore. They also sell books by local authors, signed and rare books, books that have been self-published, and they host lots of author events. While the physical bookstore is great, their website is far from it. I decided to make a case study about the ways it could be improved, with a focus on the checkout flow.

The Problem

Users are unable to browse Book Soup’s extensive product list online, preventing them from discovering all that Book Soup has to offer. They are also frustrated by the checkout process and often leave the site before making a purchase due to this.

How might we help users find and browse books easier to encourage a better shopping experience?

Research Discovery
  • Heuristic Evaluation of Current Site

  • Competitive & Comparative Analysis

  • User Surveys

  • User Interviews

  • Research Synthesis

  • Feature Prioritization

Evaluating Current Site

I did this evaluation heuristically, using what I know about web design and usability to determine points that are potentially painful for current users. This helped me get a high-level idea of what may not be working for the current site, such as what is listed below.

Landing Page

  • Limited book browsing ability - users can only find books by limited tab options or search bar

  • Shopping cart in unusual location

  • Complicated to create an account

  • Landing page is too busy & cramped

  • Site is too dark to be pleasing to eye 

  • Best Sellers List at bottom of page is not clickable - must copy & paste title into search bar

Analyzing Competitors

Next, I wanted to get an idea of how the websites of other bookstores compared to Book Soups. I created a Competitive & Comparative Analysis chart comparing the websites of both independent and big-box retailers to understand the trends, what seems user-friendly, and what doesn’t work.

BookSoup_C&C_Analysis.png
Surveying

I sent out a survey in order to get an understanding of book lovers’ buying habits. The survey asked some qualitative and quantitative style questions and helped me better understand what people are looking for when they purchase books. From this, I learned that book lovers mostly value convenience, price, and ease of use when it comes to buying books, which is why Amazon was so popular with the surveyed users.

Interviewing Book Lovers

I also sat down with some potential users and asked them to accomplish some tasks on the Book Soup site. They went through 3 different task scenarios, being asked to speak their thoughts aloud all the while.

"This site makes me NOT want to visit the bookstore, I would assume that it would be tiny and not very well stocked."

User 1

"If I don't use the search bar I have no idea how to find a book."

User 2

"I think this is too much work, I would rather just go to the actual store or Barnes & Noble, or just buy a book from Amazon."

User 3

Synthesizing Research

I synthesized the data from interviews and surveys by using an affinity map. This was very helpful because it gave me a visual for all of the user research I gained in previous steps and allowed me to spot trends in what people were saying.

Meet Bethany the Book Lover, a User Persona

Based on the research I synthesized, I was able to take those key points from the affinity map and create a personification of the average person who may shop at Book Soup.

Analyzing Bethany's Journey

Based on the research, I mapped out the pain points and moments of delight Bethany would have if she were to attempt to buy a book from this site. It is a good way to really get a feel for the parts of the site that need re-working in order to give the user a better experience.

Prioritizing Features

Making this list according to the MoSCoW method enabled me to organize features that need to be prioritized for this first design sprint, helping prevent feature overload and ensuring a more focused product redesign.

Site Design
  • Low Fidelity

  • Medium Fidelity

  • Style Guide

  • Mood

  • High Fidelity

Sketching the First Prototype

I synthesized the data from interviews and surveys by using an affinity map. This was very helpful because it gave me a visual for all of the user research I gained in previous steps and allowed me to spot trends in what people were saying.

A Basic Digital Version

Making this list according to the MoSCoW method enabled me to organize features that need to be prioritized for this first design sprint, helping prevent feature overload and ensuring a more focused product redesign.

Establishing Mood & Style

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