WALLWAY|VISUALIZE ART ON WALL

Objective

To help users visualizing designs on walls.

MY ROLE: UX Researcher & UX Designer & Marketing Assistant

TIMEFRAME: May 2019 - July 2019

PROGRAM:Georgia Tech Create-X accelerator program 

TEAM STYLE:(interchangeable)1 UX Designer,1 Software Engineer,1 Marketing Manager 

TEAMMATES: Yayun Huang, Shawn Wong

TOOLS USED: Stakeholder Analysis, Benchmarking, Observational Studies, Interviews, Online Surveys, Optimal Workshop, Persona Generation, Storyboards, Journey Maps, User Testing, Adobe XD, and Illustrator

BIGGEST TAKEAWAY: Discovering users’ true needs is the first priority. 

The Start

One day I was putting up stickers on my own wall and I suddenly grew interests in sticker businesses. I did some research about stickers and noticed how big the sticker market is but at the same time how stagnant the sticker market has been in its technological sense: besides higher print quality, stickers are just not too connected with other technologies. And I thought that some change and innovation to stickers would move them to another dimension. I invited the other teammates to join me. All of our members have known each other for quite a long time and we all share common interests in arts and sciences (and stickers!). All of us are in great excitement, hoping to build an inspiring company and products, and our journey of unforeseen obstacles (and endless customer discovery) thus began, in the hot summer days of Atlanta. 

The Challenge 

When people decorate their walls using adhesive wall stickers, they sometimes do not know what size or design to get since picturing how the design would look upon the wall appears challenging with merely brain power sometimes. Customers may regret the buy afterwards due to wrong color or size. 

Initial Research

First of all, we need to identify the users. Who are using stickers? And what are the problems they are facing when using stickers? Is there any inefficiency or inconvenience about stickers that they would like to change? What are the purposes of these stickers that they bought? Do they buy them to mainly decorate (wall stickers or artistic stickers) or to promote (business stickers)?

 

With these questions in head, we brainstormed three potential groups of buyers: 1. Family 2. Business owners 3. Artists 

 

The reason family would buy stickers is because that family usually have a more stable source of income and fixed place to stay so that they would have the money and time to decorate their houses, sometimes with decorative wall stickers. Also since families may have children in the house, decorating the room becomes fun activities for the families. Wall sticker, with its stick and peel, easy to remove qualities, would be a supreme choice. 

 

The reason business owners would buy stickers is an apparent one: to promote their businesses or to get more memorizations/ customer loyalty for their brands.

 

The reason artists would be more prone to buying stickers is because that they are sensitive to art and would be more open to appreciate other people’s art pieces. Also, they also buy stickers to promote their own artwork. 

With these potential buyer concepts in heads and we came up with the list of customer discovery questions:

Customer discovery questions. The emphasis of designing this question set is to spot any problem related to stickers, without biases.

After some initial customer discovery with about 30 students, 10 business owners, 10 artists, and several family members, we found that most people we interviewed were mainly using small formats stickers as decorations, students especially. We were working on more customer discovery hoping to find people using larger format stickers. We also generated some personas:

Persona generated.

Ideation

After some initial interviews and an examination of personas, we came up with the idea to use Augmented Reality technology to solve the potential problem that users may find picturing designs put upon the wall difficult. This ideology is based on the assumption that there IS the need for large format wall décor, based on our observations of how well these products are selling on online platforms, such as Etsy and Amazon. Thus, our main buyers would become family buyers, since they may be more prone to buying large format décor stickers.  

For our Augmented Reality idea, we have several branches of thoughts in determining the business model canvas of our company. For example, we need to determine the channel: how would the format of this Augmented Reality powered platform be, website or APP? What are the sources(key resources) of these designs in the platform? How are the stickers made(key partners/resources)? Etc.. Some key considerations and comparisons are listed below. 

Channels

AR APP: The Augmented Reality powered APP would be able to support customers to view how a specific design from design gallery would look upon the wall through augmented reality. The customers can also customize their own wall décor by uploading files from their phone. A detailed design and explanation of how it works is shown in the video below. (*The design of the APP included 3D wall décor but it would not be within the scope of our discussion or exploration this time.)  

APP interface designed in Adobe XD

Description of APP interface and functions.

Advantage of using APP:

1. easy to use AR feature with phone

2. Users can browse through designs in free time

3. Easy upload of phone pictures

4. Automatically signed in

Disadvantage of using APP:

1. Difficult to get people to download

2. Expensive promotion fee on Apple

3. Not all phone can support AR features

AR website: Functions the same as APP, can be used both in phone and computer.  

Advantage of using website:

1. Lot easier to promote

2. Easy to use AR feature when website is opened through phone

3. Can view the designs in larger format if used in computer

Disadvantage of using website:

1. Long process of check out and log in each time when using phone

2. Inconvenient to use AR feature when using computer

Sources and manufacture

1. Source design from artists and outsource manufacturing to other printing companies:

Advantage:

a. Abundant design resources

2.  Make deals with companies who already sell wall stickers; they provide product and manufacturing and we provide service

Advantage:

a. be able focus on product development only

 

3. Buy loyalty free designs and invest on own printing machine

Advantage:

a. Need not negotiate with other companies

b. may be more profit in the long run

Challenge:

a. Determine the details of partnership deals with artists

Challenge:

a. need to talk to companies about their demand first

Challenge:

a. risky investment in the short run without validating business value proposition

b. More work

After a discussed evaluation of the aspects above, we come up with the initial business model canvas as follows:

APP

Website

1.artists

2.small business owners

3.family members who are stable

1.artists

2.sourcing companies

3.payment processors

4.local authorities

1.product development and management 

2.marketing and customer acquisation

3.artists on boarding

customers:

1.visualize designs on wall for better choices

2.easier customization process

artists:

1.source of passive income

2.promote art works

1.social media

2.customer support

1.technological platforms

2.artists relationships

1.physical products share

2.artists design share

1.technological infrastructures

2.marketing expenditures

3.salary to future employees 

Initial business model canvas. 

Customer Validation

Now that we have an initial business model canvas and interface design, we are to go out and do more customer validation to validate our business value proposition: family members who have a stable place to stay and who intend to buy wall stickers would buy them from AR powered website because AR would help them better visualize the final result. In order to hunt down family members who probably has a house/children, we were mainly focusing on places like parks and children’s interest studios. 

Our questions are listed as follows:

We indeed were having a hard time to locate where our customers might be. The amount of people who intended to buy or already bought wall sticker was around 1/10 among all that we had interviewed. People who used our APP generally liked our design and idea.

We also conducted Facebook AB Ads testing with the following information: 

Customer validation questions. The emphasis of designing this question set is to find potential users of the product and ask for feedback on APP interface and functions.

Facebook AB testing with different audiences of family vs. business owners. 

website front page

Some of the results is as follows, with a click per link rate of about $0.48, which is pretty costly. 

Part of Facebook testing results. California and people aging 25-34 showed biggest interests in ads. 

Dilemma

Now we are facing a dilemma that most startup face: where is our potential customers? 

One potential explanation for the difficulty in finding wall sticker buyers offline is our location of interview: Atlanta is the city, and people who live in the city generally don’t stay in one place for a long time. In places that are more rural we may find more people who are interested in decorating their wall using wall stickers. One possible explanation of the low clicking rate online is that our brand is not well known enough for people to trust us, especially on internet. They probably need to have an impression(for example have seen it a couple of more times) before deciding to open it. One possible way to improve the clicking rate is to optimize the ads campaigns further.

Takeaway

We decided to put this project to a halt after a couple more trials of Facebook ads testing and lot more hours of customer validation expeditions, since it is not a mature move to build a product before the business value proposition is tested. Our biggest mistake was that we were too blindly convinced by our assumption about the market without first validating the market opportunity and pondering about the what customers really want. I built the APP interface way before more customer discovery and validation was done. We should have explored more possibilities before jumping into one based on our assumptions. It was a great lesson learned during our entrepreneurship journey.

This idea still remains valuable for us. If to go further on this project, we need to first determine if the Augmented Reality feature of the website/APP would become a key drive for the customers to buy. We would do more customer discovery on different areas of the country and optimize the Facebook ads further. If validation is shown, partnership with companies or artists can be negotiated. 

The stop was not an end! During our hours of customer discovery and validation under Atlanta hot sun, we found out something that the customers might truly want. And here we went, into another endless expeditions of customer discovery…

 

Keep up with our next journey here:

wuqiong97c@gmail.com​  |  Tel: 470-721-9279