Wheelchair users are facing more issues when shopping in a physical store, especially in the following aspects. Here we will focus on the last problem.
Here we present FittingEasy, a convenient app that helps wheelchair users go through try-on process smoothly. The main functions are:
Please check the interactive prototype.
This project followed an evidence-based design process. Feedback was collected in every step.
Interviewed several experts within the field
Launched a survey to collect user data
Conducted literature review on existing products
Through thorough research, we identified three major problems they are facing when shopping in a physical store. And unavailable accessible fitting room is more upsetting compared to the other two problems due to the reasons below.
We also determined the following design criteria to guide our design process and final evaluation.
We interviewed 4 participants including two wheelchair users, an occupational therapist, and a research scientist who specializes in accessibility. We obtained many key user insights and identified our problem space.
"Clothes shops cram too much stock in which leaves little room to get by."
"The shelves are always so high, and I can never reach them!"
"Fitting rooms are the worst because they always let normies go in them, and I have to wait."
"About 1 in 10 assistants will ask if I want help or try and pack my clothes into my bag for me — DON'T EVER force your help on me!"
We launched a survey with questions about their current shopping situation and opinions about it. We found some strong evidence to prove that wheelchair users are not having satisfying physical store shopping experience, despite the same need as we do.
We also read through retail news, technical reports, peer reviewed articles, and other relevant information to better understand previous solutions. For example:
Oak Mirror | Photo: Oak Labs
memomi | Photo: MemoMi Labs
Held a brainstorming session and narrowed down to three design concepts
Paper-sketched our design concepts and made storyboards
Conducted a user feedback session to narrow down design concepts
In the end, we presented our final design solution as illustrated below.
During this session, we came up with plenty of ideas around our three problem spaces. Then we coded and categorized these ideas by their type, such as body scanning, virtual assistants, tactile displays, and mechanical solutions. Once we structured the data, more patterns emerged. Next, we combined similar ideas, and compared each idea's feasibility to narrow down to three design concepts.
With three design concepts, we started to paper sketch main interfaces. The following images are part of our original design.
We also made some storyboards to help us illustrate our design concepts. The image below is one of our design concepts.
After we finished paper sketch and storyboards for our three design concepts, we launched a survey and interviewed experts to gather user feedback. We got many valuable insights and reconsidered how we could better design our final solution. Eventually, we built our final version of design concept incorporating shining points of each original ones.
Having determined our final design concept, we built wireframes to specify our design. And eventually we designed the prototype FittingEasy which supports wheelchair users in the following steps.
Sign up & Enter measurements
Reserve a fitting room
Scan barcode & Check fittingness of items
Wait for the fitting room to be prepared
After we finished the prototype, we had several experts and users go through our application. Through cognitive walkthrough and user testing, we got their impressions and identified design flaws.
2 experts for cognitive walkthrough, and 4 users for user testing
Cognitive walkthrough and user testing
Learnability, efficiency, error and satisfication
The graphs below is an overall evaluation on our design.
We conducted 2 cognitive walkthrough sessions with experts. The experts were given the same tasks designed for users. The experts would identify issues as they tried to perform the tasks, and also answered questions about the interface.
4 users helped us perform user testing. As they performed tasks, we asked them to think aloud. Once the users completed their tasks, we asked several follow-up questions. Then they rated our design through the questionnaire based on SUS.
Based on testing results and user feedback, we provided the following recommendations for further improvement:
This is the first project that I was involved from the very beginning to the end. I learned a lot about evidence-based design process. Being proactive in every step, I have laid a solid foundation for future design work.
I was also impressed with the importance of accessible design for people with impairments. A wheelchair user said:
"You probably never think about what technology means to disabled people. For you, it is just an alternative option, but for us, it helps us to survive in this world."
I believe our work will benefit people significantly. I sincerely hope more and more people will join us in this cause and contribute to a better tomorrow for those in special needs.