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:
Kaylin Broussard, Karthik Srinivasan, Jemma Yang
Aug. 2017 — Dec. 2017
Universal Design | Clothing Shopping | Mobile Application
Conducted detailed reseach on problem space and users through interviews and surveys; designed a part of wireframes and interfaces; conducted user testing.
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 determined our final design concept and built wireframes to specify our design. FittingEasy 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
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.
The store sets up body scanning technology which would scan a customer's body and collect body size information. The information will directly send to customer's phone while the store won't have access to it. When the customer finds some favored clothes, they can use the phone to scan the price tag, and the phone will show the information about how this clothes fits. Also, the customer can check the virtual image of these clothes shown on a model.
Customers can reserce a fitting room before they go to the store. They can pre-order clothes online, or select clothes in stores depending on their preference. The selected clothes will be sent to the reserved fitting room before the customer arrives there. If the aisles are too narrow to get through, they can pre-order online and go straight to the fitting room without going through every aisle.
Users can browse clothes options via a large in-store interactive display screen. Users browse and search through a system that is similar to an online shopping experience, narrowing down categories and finding specific types of items. Clothes are displayed on the screen in actual size with relevant specification information, such as size, price, and color options. Users then have the option to have the clothes pulled for them, ot sent directly to a specified fitting room to try on.
To keep narrowing down our design concepts, we decided to ask users for feedback. After we finished paper sketch and storyboards for our 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.
2 experts for cognitive walkthrough, and 4 users for user testing
Cognitive walkthrough and user testing
Learnability, efficiency, error and satisfication
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.
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.