Part of the unsung heroism of good UX is talking teams out of certain features or projects. This is one of those stories. This project was from early 2017. All stages of this project were live, public versions of the app at one point or another.
Without first connecting with UX during feature planning, the product team spun up a project to push mobile customers to filter search results. Statistically speaking, X% of mobile users weren’t using filters. Someone jumped to the conclusion that we needed to build something to push them into filtering.
This was a misinterpretation of data and user behavior. Ptype CEO Debbie Levitt was contracting at Macy’s, and requested data showing that these X% were spending less, buying fewer items, complaining more, or had some sort of pain point from not using our filters. Perhaps they were doing just fine.
Sadly, at that point, she couldn’t kill the feature. It came heavily prescribed (“make it look like this”) and there was no time or budget for UX testing; both are poor UX process.
Some of the Process and Story
Wireframe of Feature, Step 1
Debbie documented that this was an unnecessary feature. She predicted that in 2018, a team would undertake a “clean up the clutter on this page” project and this feature would be removed.
The top of this screen was an actual screenshot of the (live, public) app in early 2017. The page was crying for a redesign.
The blue line was my way of showing where the fold would be on an older, smaller iPhone.
She built a clickable, interactive Axure prototype that brought the idea to life (in medium fidelity).
Wireframe of Feature, Step 2
The concept was that when someone chose their first filter (“female”), they would then see additional, logical filters based on that choice. They would also see a “chip” for “female” that they could tap to remove.
This took up a huge amount of screen real estate for something Debbie wasn’t sure we even needed. We did have a way to get into filters. Perhaps people had one or more good reasons to not use filters.
Wireframe of Feature, Part 3
Once you had tapped on enough of these pushed filters to end up with fewer than X search results, the interface would disappear and leave the chips behind.
Again, this is not an example of our best work. This was mostly prescribed by the product team. This project example is more about the importance of involving UX at all steps.
App Screen Shot, Late 2018
Debbie’s predictions were correct. The feature that had been there was gone by late 2018, and the top of the search results had been completely redesigned. This app screen shot shows this project removed.
I could have saved Macy’s a lot of time and money by killing this feature before it was a funded greybar. This is one of many reasons why it’s important to bring in UX at the start of any feature planning, product, or project discussions.