Designing a cross-platform shopping experience at Amazon

Scratchpad is a concept for cross-platform shopping that integrates in-person and digital shopping experiences. It was created during a UX design internship at Amazon with the mentorship of Daniel Jaeger.

Scratchpad helps shoppers effortlessly collect and store information about any product, anywhere. The concept was developed using Amazon product initiative guidelines and user-centered methods from the book, Designing for the Digital Age by Kim Goodwin. At the conclusion of my internship, I pitched this concept, with a live-action video to demonstrate the user story, to Amazon design leadership.


Problem

Shopping experiences are scattered across multiple platforms, sites, and sources of inputs. How do we keep it all together?

The foundation for this project rested on a summary from an Amazon mobile research report that called for increased support of multi-platform shopping experiences to match user behavior. More people were shopping across multiple devices, and my team wanted to explore how Amazon might address this challenge.

Before starting the research phase, my mentor and I planned out each step of our process, established stakeholders, and created an Amazon product one-pager to be the project's north star.


Process

Talking to real people and extracting patterns in shopping behavior inform the key user flow

I organized an ethnographic study and recruited 12 internal participants to talk about a recent experience making a large purchase online. We decided to narrow the focus to large purchases since our assumption was that buying large items such as furniture and dish washers would require lengthier research periods, and therefore a higher likelihood for cross-platform shopping processes. 

After the interviews, I plotted the data onto charts that helped me find patterns and distill user behaviors and characteristics into personas. 

From the research we also determined our top 3 product goals:

  • Unify the shopping experience across mobile and web
  • Facilitate information gathering and sharing
  • Integrate in-person shopping routines

With these goals in mind, I used the personas to design screens and storyboards around an idealized user flow, where a couple goes through several steps to purchase a new sofa for their home.


Solution

A digital shopping research assistant that understands the importance of in-person product evaluation

Screenshots from a live-action video that I shot within the Amazon offices that follow the story of Sara and Greg as they research sofa options and make a purchase through Amazon Scratchpad. (Video not shown here for confidentiality reasons)


Reflection

Focus on emotional impact with conceptual product design

While the presentation was well received, I feel like I could have done more with showing how the product positively affected the user's shopping experience. When it comes to conceptual design, the UI and UX is important to showcase, but the emotional experience is just as important and something I will focus on more next time.

Frances Tung