Building Design Ecosystems with Red Antler
Red Antler acts as a design & strategy partner to startups looking to disrupt direct-to-consumer business models. Well known for creating the distinguishable look and feel of Casper, Allbirds, Brandless, and Otherland, Red Antler has a visual style that almost anyone can recognize. Building fluid design ecosystems require thoughtful inquiry and we defined our approach with answers to the following questions:
- What problem is this startup solving, and how could we re-position these challenges to resonate with people in a beautiful and connected way?
- How many competitors are in the space? Is this market crowded with other D2C startups? How could we create a fresh digital strategy and branded experience for this startup to stand out.
- Who are the people behind the product? What about them is reflected in the product, and how could we highlight them in meaningful ways to encourage others to join their team?
At Red Antler, I worked across 10+ projects including Goby, Embroker, Glosslab, OnDeck, Territory, Fluent City, and Urban Remedy. I led digital discovery, UX research, and supported the design process while working closely with strategists, copywriters, producers, brand designers, art directors, and photographers.
Highlighting Products Within Brick and Mortar & Through E-Commerce
Urban Remedy is widely known for their approach to creating a healthy and sustainable diet that can be delivered to your door. As a D2C startup with both a brick and mortar and digital presence, the UR team reached out to Red Antler to understand how to better position their products online and in-store
For their website Urban Remedy asked us to take into consideration the way top level categories could tell a story around products. The team also wanted to determine if creating a section within the navigation around hero and best selling products would benefit the customer experience. In addition to determining the information architecture of the products, the team was interested in understanding what it might look like to have a visual search that guides a customer to a product based on preference.
Leveraging Card Sorting To Determine A Logical Product Hierarchy
After I conducted an audit of the way that product categories appeared within the navigation, I was able to identify challenges in the user experience.
The navigation was broken into product lines that spread across multiple categories with product imagery on top of each product group. At the navigation level the categories were unnecessarily complex and the lack of organization created an imbalance in the user experience across the site.
In order to solve this challenge, I proposed a card sorting exercise to determine the best way to organize the product architecture based off the logic and themes that would emerge with card sorting participants. Card sorting has always provided reliable and actionable results that I use to inform information architecture where categories have similarity or overlap.
By arranging this rapid user testing exercise in office I was able to document the findings and interactions of multiple participants very quickly. This experience was extremely conversational and allowed an opportunity to conduct user research alongside the card sorting exercise.
Strategy Takeaways From Card Sorting
I began each session by prompting testing participants with a little background on the exercise, and kept the goal open ended. I defined the space as an opportunity for them to simply categorize information in a way that felt the most logical to them.
Participants often categorized items by titling different sections, most frequently as drinks, food, snacks, juices, and desserts. Each exercise was light hearted and conversational, allowing room for participants to discuss what they felt was the most natural order and hierarchy of products.
Translating Card Sorting Into A Blueprint For Brick & Mortar & Digital
The larger strategy team was extremely receptive to the feedback from card sorting, it provided the team data and valuable insights. I translated the findings into an experience strategy for the Urban Remedy team. It incorporated the “What We Love” section as a space for their team to highlight hero products, curations, and collaborations with influencers.
Creating a Filtered Search Based Delivering Health Focused Results
Based on the card sorting exercise, I determined that an additional layer of contextualization would add real value. I provided an outline of what should exist within a filtered search based on feedback from the card sorting exercise. Given that a majority of Urban Remedy products are focused on delivering specific results, I designed a filtered search to bring forth recommendations based on specific goals.
Categorizing Products By Need
My recommendations were implemented in the “Shop By Need” section of the navigation. This solution proved to be more scalable for the amount of product lines necessary. Product lines were titled based on how they support customers needs and health goals, which was in alignment with the feedback provided by the testing participants .