UX Researcher

UX Researcher

GlassblowerBen UXR Case Study

Dec 15, 2021

Client: GlassblowerBen

Project Duration: 9/6/2021 - 12/15/2021

Research & Refresh

GlassblowerBen makes handblown, custom glass drinkware as well as other custom glassware. They came to the UMSI Design Clinic for a UX Evaluation and Research project in preparation for their upcoming rebrand in 2022.

Problem Overview

GlassblowerBen’s website accounted for less than 5% of its total sales during 2021. They are looking for ways to make their website more attractive to new customers and are planning to do a full relaunch of the site in 2022. However, their niche as a luxury glassware company is important to them, and they need to make sure their current customers are involved with any changes.

Our Team

The UMSI Design Clinic connects real-world clients with multidisciplinary teams of student consultants to solve their problems.

  • (Graduate 2nd year) - Project Manager

  • Me (Undergraduate Junior) - UX Researcher

  • (Graduate 1st year) - UX Designer

  • (Graduate 2nd year) - UX Designer

  • (Graduate 1st year) - Visual Designer

Methodologies Used

  • Desk Research: Prior Findings, Google Analytics, Competitive Analysis

  • 1:1 User Interviews

  • Moderated Usability Testing

Kicking Things Off: Research Jam

As the researcher on the team, the task fell to me to help encourage, excite, and motivate our team about the research phase of our project. My solution? A Research Jam! The Research Jam had two purposes: to help our newly formed team learn to work together and to give us time to ideate on what direction our research should take.

Research Questions

  • Why do the majority of repeat customers choose to place orders via email instead of using the website?

  • What are the usability pain points these customers encounter while placing orders on the site?

  • How might GlassblowerBen attract more “average” customers without changing its niche?

Takeaways from Heuristics Evaluation and Competitive Analysis

  • Bugs significantly hindered navigation to the point that I felt uncomfortable doing unmoderated usability testing. It was decided a moderator was necessary to help users recover from errors.

  • GlassblowerBen’s prices were among the highest in the industry. Ranging from $80 for a standard glass to $2400 for a custom glass. For our interviews with their existing customers, we wanted to focus on understanding why they are willing to pay a premium for Ben’s work.

1:1 Interviews

In total, we interviewed six participants. Three were the primary repeat customers of GlassblowerBen (responsible for the majority of all sales). The remaining three participants were recruited through social media and word of mouth with the following criteria in mind:

Age: 21-65

Familiar with using Zoom

Interest in high-end bourbon/whiskey or glassware

Usability Testing

We ended up running two usability tests. One with a customer familiar with the website and one with a participant who had never heard of the company. Both tests were moderated due in large part to the number of bugs present on the site. Additionally, we decided not to use task success rate as a metric in our study and instead focus on the way users navigated the site. We wanted to understand what they expected to see where and encouraged them to explain why. A moderated test ended up being a huge success since we were able to ask them to elaborate in ways that would have been impossible in an unmoderated test.

Key Insights

  • Existing customers feel restricted by the limited ordering options on the website. A primary reason they prefer to email instead of using the website is that they can be more specific with what they want (thicker base, height, etc.)

  • Existing customers feel that Ben doesn’t update the website enough to bother visiting it. They follow him on social media and wait for him to post interesting designs there.

  • New customers feel that the price is hard to justify without having seen it in person. However, they might be willing to give it a try as a gift.

  • Both types of customers enjoy supporting small businesses and greatly appreciate the efforts Ben makes towards each glass (recording videos of the process, update photos, etc.)

Customer Personas

After analyzing the data we gathered from the User Interviews, we got to work creating personas. Based on the six users interviewed, it was found they fell into one of 3 categories: connoisseurs of expensive drinkware, people looking to buy as gifts, and new hobbyists getting their first custom glass.

User Flow Map

We also decided to put together a user flow map of how users typically navigate the site while placing an order. This was based on data gathered from our usability test, where one of the tasks was to place an order for a specific glass. At Ben’s request, we used screenshots to represent each page to help with visualization.

Regroup and Design

With the rest of our deliverables in place, my last area of involvement was to assist with the creation of the low-fi wireframes. As the research lead, it was my responsibility to make sure design choices were intuitive and in line with what users expected. Particular emphasis was put on the custom glass order page, where we wanted to make sure various options were included but did not become overwhelming.

Conclusion & Next Steps

We presented our final findings to our client and handed over all research artifacts and deliverables. Based on this, Ben decided to proceed with the redesign in 2022 and use our findings, recommendations, and prototype as a guide. He also decided to increase his focus on the unique aspect of his product by offering step-by-step creation videos for each glass ordered and by offering tours in his studio.