Website Before Changes
The main focus for this is to redesign the pages to enhance the user experience. For example, the yellow branding clashes against the white background. The menu options overlap and create extra menu options creating unnecessary pages and journeys for the user.
The main selling point of the company is the offering of naturally sourced ingredients to make haircare and skincare products. The overall goal was to enhance the e-commerce first aspect of the website, influence buyers choices from selecting products and driving sales for the hair services.
Competition & Research
To focus on what needed to change, I began the customer research and research on the competition. Working with the owner, I started the competitor research by asking about who they consider a competitor in their market and also their style inspirations. The client identified the following companies as both style guides and also competitors: Kiya Cosmetics, Afrocenchix, Only Curls, Flora Curl and Jim and Henry. With this information, I began looking at these different websites to see what they were doing successfully, what they did well and how these features could be reflected on the VP Royals website.
The highlights taken from analysing the competitor websites:
-Kiya Cosmetics and Only Curls website start with a sign up call to action for customers to receive a discount
-Kiya, Afrocenchix, have a clear banner slider with a hero image of the product – no text clash
-Bestsellers section to highlighted all the different products with customer ratings
-A section with what parts of the bodies their products should be used on
-Kiya have their customer review above the footer
-Kiya and Only Curls have Chatbots
-All showcase where they’ve been featured
-Afrocenchix keeping to 7 menu options (including the profile, cart and search icons)
– Kiya offered a filter section for products
The websites selected for the had similar features in style, clear menu layouts and CTA’s to engage users to click. These websites have good UI and also follow good UX e-commerce conventions. The simplicity of the designs and layout allows the focus to be on the products instead of figuring out how to navigate through the website. These key elements have been listed as “crucial factors” by bigcommerce.co.uk.
This was an issue for VP Royals, as the website lacked clear organisation on the menu to allow users to purchase products. The several options could lead to confusing and users exiting the website.
This is what Nielsen’s Norman Group identifies as UX principals for e-commerce product pages.
At an absolute minimum, product pages must have these core components.
Descriptive product name
Enlarged view of the image(s)
Price, including any additional product-specific charges
Clear product options, such as colour and size, and a way to select them
Clearway to add an item to the cart, and clear feedback when it has been added
Concise and informative product description
Nice to Have
Shoppers generally expect and appreciate these elements on product pages, but not all sites and apps need each of these.
Customer or expert ratings or reviews, sortable or filterable by rating
Additional product images (rotated or detailed views, animated images of the product in use)
Zoom or pan functionality on product images
Related product recommendations
Wishlist or registry tools
These may be worthwhile for some products, but only if they are flawlessly executed with high usability and utility for the user.
Virtual try-on (for example, via photo upload or augmented reality)
Photo or video reviews from customers
Metadata and advanced filtering in reviews
Recurring- or subscription-purchase options
Product customization tools
Step-by-step how-to videos or animations
Looking at the competition, I decided to then create a survey to target users who would these sites. All the companies, including VP Royals, target mainly Black women from the UK. This is seen from the images used on the website and the reason behind using natural products due to the negative impact mainstream products can have on afro hair.
1, What’s your sex/gender?
2. How old are you?
3. How do you usually buy hair and skincare products?
4. How often do you purchase hair or skin products?
5. Have you heard or used any of these companies?
6. Would you recommend any of these companies or another company that sells hair and/or skincare?
7. How important is using natural products on your hair and skin to you?
8. How likely are you to buy natural hair and/or skin products?
9. Would you book hair services through a website that sells hair products? E.g. booking a wash and go or restorative treatment
10. When buying hair and/or skincare products, what do you look for?
- 70% of women
- 90% between the age of 22-29
- 80% buy their hair and skin care products online
- 30% buy products monthly
- 40% had heard of Afrocenhix
- 40% hadn’t heard of any of the competitors
- 60% said it was very important for the products they used to be natural (free from chemicals)
- 80% are likely to purchase natural products
- 60% would book a hair service online (a feature of VP Royals)
- 90% rated customer reviews and product quality as a factor when purchasing hair and skincare products
The new focus of the website is the menu organsation, booking hair services and enhance the users journey from start to checkout. The change in the main menu to help users make a decision quicker by directing them (Fitt’s Law). Although several pages have been created, only 6 options feature in the menu to help users make a decision on the website (Miller’s Law and Hick’s Law).
The design focus is to align the style more similar to the competitor websites (Jakob’s Law) and more of a focus on driving sales. Users often perceive aesthetically pleasing design as design that’s more usable (Aesthetic Usability Effect).
About Us Page
After wire-framing and researching, I was in a position to start designing and turn around the design for the website.
List of changes:
Organised menu – reducing the menu to 7 options (including the icos) – Miller’s Law
Change hero image to the slideshow to make the text easier to read
Using similar shades for the homepage
Including a chatbot
“Natural” section would be changed to videos to showcase the products
Balanced sales items
Focus on hair services
Product filter added to the shop
Pulling Colors From Existing Brand & Identity
With the website now better optimised for an e-commerce experience, the process was put together on WordPress. The real copy was added and a few changes were made to the website to better fit the design and selection of photos. The client was happy with the changes as the design is more aligned with their vision.
The main goal was to improve the user experience to increase sales on the website. The changes removes previous barriers so people visiting can become consumers and purchase from the website.
You can view and buy from the VP Royals website here: https://vproyals.com/