Threads

  • Bootstrap
  • Ember.js
  • jQuery
  • Photoshop
  • Rails
  • Ruby
(1/12-4/12)
  • Architecting
  • Collaborating
  • eCommerce
  • Frontend
  • Prototyping
  • SPAs

Summary

To revolutionize personalized shopping, a team of three (the CEO as product manager, me as the F2E/architect, another as backend engineer,) created a new shopping experience using Ember.js over two sprints

Achievements

  • Ramped up quickly on Ember.js
  • Architected the frontend of project (as a Single Page Application)
  • Worked with backend engineer to agree upon/implement integration between FE and BE
  • Drove development through four major iterations during a two one-month sprints
  • Suggested (though not responsible for implementing) lazy-load as a way to improve performance
  • Picked up design slack when we lost our Graphic Designer
  • Scoped frontend deliverables and managed expectations
  • Worked with CTO to coordinate out-of-cycle releases to production
  • Planned, conducted, and analyzed user testing

Link

Press

Overview

Shop It To Me has been a beloved service for years when it comes to finding the best deals across retailers, but we wanted to enable the user finer-grained abilities to find exactly the item(s) of interest for them.

We often had feedback about being able to drilldown by clothing type and brand (e.g. "Rebecca Minkoff handbags") but our previous tools didn't enable that kind of granularity.

Enter "Threads."

As the brainchild of our CEO, project "Threads" has become a way for users to track the specific items of interest to them. We now empower the user with the ability to get as general (e.g. "Black dresses") or as specific as they want. (e.g. "Rebecca Minkoff handbags under $300.")

Below, you'll see the hi-res) mockup we came up with (after having previously white-boarded the idea) in early March (click to view.)

inspiration (as mocked-up in Photoshop)

Over the following two weeks, I ramped up on Ember.js and implemented the first version of the app while the other engineer built out the pseudo-RESTful backend. I won't claim that the code we produced was the cleanest either one of us ever wrote; while doing the best we could, getting to market was the true driving motivator.

We went live - that is, deployed to production for internal and a select group of test users - on March 27th, 2012, with the following (click to view):

very first landing page

Based on user tester feedback, we decided to bolt-on onboarding and improve the look, so four days later on March 31st, 2012, we deployed the following (click to view):

revised landing page with header and pseudo-onboarding

Based on observations during user testing, we realized the opportunity to incorporate a feed of site-wide activity as that would benefit discovery. We also took a few cycles to flesh out onboarding and a "Things To Do" list given challenges users' had in making sense of the new product. We also tweaked styling to highlight the very newest items in the users' results; screenshots follow (click to view.)

onboarding modal on landing page (4/11/2012)
1st try: TTD/activity feed on landing page (4/11/2012)
2nd try: TTD/activity feed on landing page (4/12/2012)
emphasizing new items (released 4/12/2012)

We brought in more and more user testers. Here's a screenshot from April 17th, 2012, showing progress we made from our observations:

4/17/2012 release of results page

While observing user testers, we discovered that they wanted tastemakers to help them navigate the overwhelming number of apparel items, so we introduced the concept of curation. We also made the assets/images larger by popular demand.

curation (4/23/2012)
results page (4/23/2012)
results page w/larger assets/images (next day : 4/24/2012)

After April 24th, we stepped back to assess how we were doing. I was rotated onto our bread-and-butter projects but the team was augmented with other talent and continued forward, contracting the look-and-feel out to a third party.

The product has since been retired.


anthony at bluxomelabs dot com