The story of the unsuccessful case: How we drained alcohol

    In this article, as an example of one unsuccessful case, we will consider how excellent design thinking and creative skills, the use of bright ideas in conjunction with the user-centered design methodology were used in the design of a foreign elite online store for alcoholic beverages. The article will not only describe everything that happened as inevitability, but an attempt will be made to conduct “work on errors”.

    Getting Started: Data Collection

    It is well known that the method of fictional characters is only good for performing test tasks when entering provincial web studios, and in these expensive projects, analysts prefer to rely on real data collected when observing specific people, rather than on their own ideas about the life of invented characters. That is why the first stage of graphic sketches in the design was preceded by a stage of lengthy data collection. Based on its results, the following main points were identified:
    • At the moment, there is a very weak version of the site where you can neither adjust the headings, nor increase the snippets, or unload the database of goods. Need a new site from scratch.
    • The online store will operate in Indonesia,
    • Indonesia is a Muslim country with a negative attitude to alcohol among the conservative part of buyers,
    • The main target audience: visiting tourists and local counterparts of hipsters (representatives of the local creative class),
    • Women, even the most advanced, do not buy alcohol at all,
    • Buyers of alcohol in real stores always try to quickly hide the bottle from their eyes, disguise the purchase process itself, for fear of judgmental glances,
    • Online payments are still rather exotic. Almost everyone will pay in cash;
    • Alcohol is not even the most elite brands in the country are extremely expensive.

    There were still thousands of little things found in preliminary marketing research, which now makes sense to omit.

    So, the main task from the owners of the company was set as vague as possible: to come up with and implement not just a model store on a template, but to make a loud Internet statement about the dominant leader in this field. The site was supposed to strike a blow to the pride of competitors and become a role model and role model throughout the country.

    As it was necessary:in the Evo methodology I use today, there is no time for beautiful abstractions and hypothetical slogans. It was necessary to set a clear goal for stage 1: after 3 days, place an online storefront template on any flexible editing platform for the gradual placement of about 2 thousand items. So far, without registration and basket, without payment systems, etc. - you just had to take a place on the hosting, where the girl will enter photos of bottles and prices for several weeks. In this way, it would be possible to significantly parallelize the processes.
    In general, evolution does not approve of sharp leaps in design, but offers the “thousand steps daily improvement” methodology of the old site without shocking the user experience with sudden bright innovations.

    Design: Search for Inspiration

    Before designing, several European similar sites were analyzed, a kind of mudboard was compiled. In simpler terms, the customer clearly defined the search area for the idea with his definition of "sites that you like." Every 3 days, the circle of your favorite sites changed dramatically, which added a twinkle to the process.

    The team adopted the concept of a “progressive jeep”, when the initial idea and the overall structure of the site are determined first in the outline (mockups), and then the block sizes and pixels are polished on it. So the prototype options began to appear: the first, second, fifth, twenty-fifth. Indonesian partners, like partisans in Belarus, easily derailed one concept after another due to an insufficiently creative approach. Since the designers ’bid was time-based, this was a plus for everyone, and no one really tried to force events. I must say right away that in this article, at the urgent request of a partner, the final page design options “for finishing” will not be given, but only the initial prototypes in Axure, showing the essence of ideas in the bud:

    It was obvious to the store owners that this was completely wrong, because the rows and columns of standard bottles were nothing but a small label, which meant they did not create any “Ah” and “Wow”.

    Representatives of the store worked tirelessly as many as three designers, two Russian designers were also connected in turn from our side, but boring bottles still looked like bottles and did not want to turn into "beautiful princesses". Designers painted prototypes in every way, tests were carried out, a lot of information was accumulating that people prefer one block to another, and three columns of bottles to four. But the steady stereotype of the wholesale base site could not be avoided. For example, at one time we were inspired by the concept of an application for Amazon for Windows 8:

    Then we were more inspired by the Ebay app for iOS, and then something else. In short, everyone understood one thing - no one really understands what exactly needs to be done and which figures from the studies where to apply to get a stunning effect. There were just piles of pieces of paper, words, numbers, hypotheses, opinions and gigabytes of pictures - but this did not fit into a single semantic picture.

    As it was necessary: Evolution teaches us that it’s foolish to expect juicy fruit — without planting a seed in the ground. It is foolish to wait for the first “Agu” from the child - without conceived. So, without launching any of the rejected prototypes into operational operation, without conducting at least thorough testing on ten ordinary Indonesians, the site owners only lost money and potential profit on our fruitless torment of creative search. Any site without any design would already sell the product, collect calls and applications, increase the range of products presented. Even a simple ordinary landing without a catalog at all - all this time could increase the audience of future buyers due to an interesting promotion.

    But alas, nobody was interested in the small successes - everyone wanted to immediately get explosive growth and a viral effect for Russian tourists on the Zuckerberg Calls portal from a completely finished site, bypassing all the preliminary stages of development and evolution of the information system being created.

    Breakthrough: One Million Idea

    And then one day at the end of the second month of searching for a killer mega-design concept, it dawned on us - why do we actually impose images of bottles on people, putting them in every way - if buyers in Indonesia are embarrassed about them, hide them, do not want to see them at all?

    So finally the only correct idea was found - to sell a person his emotions, memories, feelings of a holiday. The following is an excerpt from a document entitled “Site Art Concept”:

    The main idea of ​​the site is that we sell emotions, not bottles. Initially, past sites looked very dull due to the monotonous photographs of bottles, with the same color of liquids, on which it was impossible to make out the text on the label. Visually, without reading into the text, it was impossible for a novice buyer to understand the difference between goods in neighboring columns. Therefore, it was decided to post photos of people - at parties, parties, socializing, smiling, having a rest, loving. And on these ordinary photographs of real emotions of people, a stencil in the form of a bottle is placed on top, its price and name, as well as a brief explanation of the taste, alcohol content and aroma. So we will give people not the goods themselves (glass and water), but the end result - those feelings that they would like to experience with us.

    The prototype of the idea was based on horizontal flipping of cards of potential emotions. So, choosing the most suitable emotion for himself, the user chose the product itself.
    Main page: The

    card of the product itself is not only emotions, but also the story of the drink, and the suitable dishes, and the meme generator, anything:

    According to our idea, people just should initially like to look at our photos, and then they should get used to it that the product itself is not so bad. Someone particularly exalted has already suggested a working name for our site as "a lookbook of your moods."

    Reveling in delight, exactly at the end of the second month of designing, we submitted our stunning design to the board of directors of the store owners and ... got just a flurry of negativity. If you briefly describe the list of comments on the concept, they looked like this:

    • There will be too much alcohol in the catalog. Where can people get so many emotions?
    • On the site, the user’s profile requires you to indicate the age of the buyer, which is an unforgivable mistake and a direct insult to the buyer,
    • There is too little space left for text - search engines will not appreciate this “photo stock”,
    • This concept does not look like a typical template store. But people in their mass are impossibly stupid, and they won’t understand that they are waiting for purchases from them here,
    • There is no place for Facebook and Instagram icons,
    • A horizontal scroll everywhere should be replaced with more obvious “Next” buttons,
    • Fonts not from Google (which will slow down a site’s performance in Indonesia by several times),
    • Page 404 generally caused an unreasonable wild laugh in the hall.

    Do you find the claims tense and strange? The thing is that no one conducted a large-scale testing of the last design option on the target audience by the Indonesian team, and the company's board of directors was simply tired of constant endless spending (after all, these 2 months have not been generated by the revenue from a working and developing site it was, but the salaries of the leading designers were quite “Western”). Unfortunately, we all relied too much on our own genius, took "expert opinion" as the cornerstone, and neglected the desire to gradually develop the project. Having desired “all at once” and showing unhealthy teenage maximalism, as a result, our team simply took the entire budget for any further actions, asked to throw away all the established designs and closed the project. Here is a story.

    How would we do today

    No customer himself ever knows which site he wants. The usual associative thinking works here - they said what’s cool there, these wrote about those, and the others at the same time made a profit. These initial plans are akin to the efforts of especially hyperactive parents to choose their profession for a newly born child and to think through their entire career in advance. So you can spend months and years on such dreams, but when the time comes, it will certainly turn out that no one could foresee all real circumstances, restrictions and requirements.
    It is better to give your project as a beloved child only what he needs right now - food, love and freedom for independent learning and development. It would be worthwhile not to shield the excess requirements with thousands, but let go into the open with an infinitely rich set of chances and just carefully analyze it, and we ourselves would notice in which direction the growth should be directed and adjusted in order to satisfy an ever-increasing number of users.

    While the child has not sat down at the piano, no one will notice that the pianist's talent is laid in him. Until your simplest website has collected the first hundred orders, the first ten calls with questions, the first reviews and suggestions - never decide individually for your customers from the other end of the world about what they will need from your website and in what form.

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