The shop window

Founded in 1972, Argos is one of UK’s leading e-commerce retailers offering more than 60,000 products across 800 stores/online and over 19 million visits per year, 30% of which enter straight onto the homepage. The homepage is a vital part of any site as it remains the “shop window” to many users and is a place to refer back to throughout the shopping experience.

I was given the task of redesigning the page to improve the experience for users. Below are the steps we took to get to the final design.

Discovery

Research was collected from analytics, heat maps, user focus groups, UX research institutes and previous UX testing.

  • Heat maps indicated users predominantly viewed the page with little engagement and opted to go straight to search or navigation
  • Users looked for ideas and inspiration
  • Users use the homepage to look for the latest offers and deals (even if they have a particular product in mind)
  • Users found the page too cluttered and needed help finding what they were looking for
  • Users needed to find content quicker and more easily
  • Research also extended to Baymard Institute and Nielsen Group who highlighted that a homepage should visually feature at least 30-40% of the main product categories
  • Previous user testing highlighted that customers preferred an order to the homepage
  • Typography was an accessibility issue and made it hard to scan the page

The homepage as a whole needed vast improvements from a digital and accessibility perspective, but needed to retain the Argos feel which is portrayed through colour and use of angles. A list of problem statements were derived from this phase.

Current homepage
Clicks/taps
Scrolling

Defining the problem

“I know who Argos are and what they offer”

This statement became the purpose of the homepage following research, as the key issues were:

Lack of formalised structure
Breadth of offering unclear
Ambiguous messaging and labelling

Workshops

The project team took the problem statements from the discovery phase and ran workshops with key stakeholders and brand/marketing teams to generate ideas using the “how might we…?” method to solve some of the pain points and problem statements. The workshops also covered key digital, accessibility and brand requirements and how their needs could be met.

This led us to 15 risky assumptions to test, with the key ones below:

  1. Structuring the homepage by categories and themes will increase engagement
  2. Labels give a sense of structure
  3. Customers do not understand what Argos sell and homepage needs to tell them

Ideation

I researched how we could solve key issues and sketched concepts.

Concepts and guerilla testing

I developed 3 concepts to prove and disprove the risky assumptions based on what we understood around user intent and business assumptions. We did guerrilla testing to see what customers liked and disliked, as well as their shopping behaviours on Argos and the homepage. Testing was carried out on 10 users, with an age range of 25-44 and an equal split in gender and desktop/mobile concepts. The testing on average lasted 24.20 minutes per user.

Concept 1: Category led structured

Concept 2: Marketing led and unstructured

Concept 3: Category & Inspiration led

Key takeaways

Here’s what users liked from all 3 concepts:

  • Having a structure to easily find content
  • Ability to swipe in sections to view more
  • Inspirational large photography caught the eye
  • Able to clearly identify types of content
  • Preferred more content on first view
  • Colours made it inviting and encouraged engagement
  • Concepts with less structure and labels, although inviting led to confusion around what the content was

Final design

The final design took the best parts of the concepts, to form a final design for further in-depth user testing against the current homepage.

User testing

User testing was carried out by a user research specialist on over 250 users and used a range of testing techniques to give us the correct feedback on the different assumptions we had. This included a survey, preference tests, click tests and 5-second memory tests. Overall the new design showed vast improvements for users:

  • The new structure of the page made it much easier for customers to identify types of content and scan the page
  • Labels and badges helped customers identify content more easily
  • Clear copy helped customers to scan the page easily
  • Surfacing promotions and event quick links at the top of the page helped customers quickly find content
  • Breadth of product ranges was clearer
  • Different types of content like deals, promotions and offers were easier to find

UI Interactions

Prototype to show UI interactions.