Project Description

Role

Front End Developer
Visual Designer

Timeframe

3 months

Skills

HTML, CSS, WordPress, Visual Design, Responsive Design, Photography

Software

Fireworks, Illustrator, Photoshop, Perfect Studio

Fireworks Illustrator Photoshop PerfectStudio WordPress

The Opportunity

Paul Sanders, owner of Pacific Bike and Ski, opened up a conversation about needing to update his web site and increase communication with his local customers in Sammamish, WA. His site needed new branding, the ability to update a fast-moving inventory that changes weekly, and add weekly events to keep in touch with his customers more frequently.

Research

I love it when clients come to me saying they simply need a new web site.

Why?

They don’t really know… without some good prodding.

As User Experience professionals, we will immediately fail if we simply allow the client to become designers. Colors and cool-looking buttons don’t solve problems.

We need to know what the problems are and what the business goals are. My go-to aid is “The 5 Why’s.”

.

I walked Paul through “The 5 Why’s.” I kept asking “why” until I felt there was no other answer.

Question Answer
Problem: We need a new web site.
Why? Customers are visiting other stores.
Why? They don’t know what we carry.
Why is that important? We have bikes REI doesn’t.
Why? We cater to a different audience.
Why? We’re a local, specialty shop.

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Now a problem is defined and we can work on a solution!

Competitive/Comparative Analysis

I performed a Competitive/Comparative Analysis of who he would be competing with in the area. This included several local bike and ski shops and co-op giant, REI, with two stores equal distance from him.

Contextual inquiry helped me learn what would differentiate Pacific Bike and Ski in both products and services offered.

I both compared stores both physically and electronically, actually visiting them, talking to people, and looking around. Differences started to grow… perhaps Pacific Bike and Ski didn’t carry as many accessories as REI, but it stood out in actual bikes offered. Brands such as Specialized and Santa Cruz can only be purchased from authorized dealers, like Paul.

Planning

Questions and Ideas to Guide Us

  1. What is the Pacific Bike and Ski brand?
  2. Who are your current customers and who else do you want to come in to the store?
  3. How can your website be used to grow your customer base and bring in your current customers more often?
  4. What do you want your website to do? What problems should it solve or help with?

Solutions

I wanted to focus on customer goals.

But how do you know what customer goals are if some of those people aren’t even your customer yet?

Personas

Much of the data gathered from the research stage was informative on people living in the area. I combined that data with Paul’s business goals and developed four separate personas. They ranged from avid bikers who frequented the store to folks that bike but don’t know about the shop yet. The question of how we can get them to their goal molded the design work to come.

Technology

I reviewed several technology solutions with Paul giving him the pros and cons. Possible solutions ranged from 100% custom development to Content Management Systems like WordPress. We discussed inventory and e-commerce solutions. Paul decided to move forward with WordPress. Strengths included its popularity, support, ease of use, available plugins to add features, e-commerce support, and its robust CMS features.

Brand & Design

Color Standardization

Multiple versions of logo colors were standardized into PMS and hex for consistency in web, print, and clothing.

Clothing

Standard colors were integrated into race kits (the clothing bikers wear).

Website

Standardized color schemes and logos were brought into the website design.

Specification Documents

Specification documents were created for several pages to ensure standardization and create consistency if another developer needs to work on the project. Below is a sample from the product detail page.

Final Product

Visit Website
0
Photos Taken
0
Days of Production
0
Bikes in Inventory
0
Bike Events Created

Ongoing

Should we all be so lucky to be able to find work that feeds our passions! Not only do I love biking, but this project keeps growing and getting better. The part of me that managed IT solutions says, “always look for scalability.”

Pacific Bike and Ski is fully leveraging the many awesome WordPress plugins out there. We’re now running calendar events and email lists, both of which are drawing in new customers and keeping the active ones really involved. Event calendars, Facebook, and email newsletters are all reaching out to clients inviting them to participate. Some of the calendar badges are displayed at the right.

Paul is expanding his services and his website is growing with him!

Calendar Badges

Retrospective

I think one of the reasons the Pacific Bike and Ski website was (and is) so successful is that we took the time to learn user goals. Skip this step and you’re throwing darts.

We even kept in mind that some riders will be using their phone with them while joining evening rides – and therefore, mobile items are immediately available to point them to the routes on Strava.

I’m also very pleased with how well WordPress is working for the store. That’s not to say it’s for everyone, but it is to say that you need to evaluate business goals as well. When you can hit the business goals and user goals… bullseye!