Overstock.com

Guiding users to their Dream Home 

Early in the spring, we created a navigation experience for users that will help guide them to the products they're looking for.

Role: Lead UX Product Designer

Team: Front-end developers, UX product designer, product manager

OSTK-gnav-2x

The Problem

While some users have a clear idea of exactly what product they want, others need inspiration and guidance and only make up their minds as they explore the site. This is the same sub-group of users who will often prefer to click the main navigation items over specific sub-categories in a drop-down menu. They are undecided or don’t fully understand the sub-options and want the most generic option to get a better understanding of their sub-options before making a scope selection.

For these users, the intermediary category page – with thumbnail previews, longer titles, and maybe even descriptions of the sub-categories – will provide much-needed guidance that can help clear up selection ambiguity.

The Research

We ran a few unmoderated competitive tests against the mobile guided nav experience for Wayfair, Walmart, and Overstock. Target audience was female, 25-60 years old, with an income of $80k. Users were asked to imagine a piece of furniture that they would like to buy. They were then directed to navigate the site only using menu navigation and to talk about their experience.

Key Research Takeaways

  1. Users want to get to results fast and drill down quickly
  2. Users are aware of when they land on page to filter down to their results
  3. Users like to see products broken out into attributes (style, finish, type, etc.)
  4. Users like to visually see all the different subcategories

Navigation Foundations

  • Allow for users to quickly click through subcategories
  • Show different attribute levels on page
  • Include imagery with subcategories for those who don’t understand the meanings

How can we create a navigation experience for users who are looking for inspiration and/or specific products?

Mapping the ideal flow

Once we had a better understanding of what users are looking for in category pages, I was able to map out a flow of what types of customers would access the page and at what point of their journey.

Guided nav page flows
process1
more options for guided navigation pages
process2

Testing

Once we had the wireframes nailed down, it was time to test them against the current navigation pattern on site. Part of working on this project was collaborating with other teams, namely marketing, to make sure every type of customer is represented on these pages. Marketing was focused on the inspiration aspect of the navigation pages. UX/Search were focused on getting customers from point A to point B.

wireframes of guided navigation

Learnings

After running an A/B test for a week weeks with the new designs we got our answers. On the Tier 1 pages, users preferred the new test by a large margin. My understanding on why this happened, was that there was a larger focus on categories and inspiration in the new design. Something that at the higher level of coming to the site, would help the user navigate when they are unsure.

The Tier 2 pages were a different story. The control version won the test. I believe this was due to the fact that against our original plans, we added some marketing elements at the top, detracting from the purpose of a Tier 2 page: navigation.

Going forward, I would test the Tier 2 approach again. But instead this time I would remove some of the more redundant marketing pieces that take away from the ideal navigation flow. I would also take more a look at the KPI's surrounding what "successful" navigation means outside of conversion alone. 

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