Defining The Challenge
Finding clothes that fit is hard work. These days a “small” at one store may share the same measurements as a “medium” at another store, leaving the shopper confused and guessing. The goal of FitFinder was to create a simple smartphone application that would allow users to find the right size of clothing by matching their measurements against retailers’ posted sizing guides. This would eliminate a lot of the guess-work associated with figuring out a fit, and hopefully make shopping a less stressful experience. Our team consisted of Mike as the chief designer and myself as the information architect and UX strategist. We constrained ourselves to 12 hours from problem definition to final designs.
Generally speaking, the phenomenon that we were looking to mitigate is known as “Vanity Sizing”. In basic terms, vanity sizing is the practice of retailers to give nominal (“in name”) sizes that do not match the actual dimensions of the article of clothing. For example, a size 36 US used to imply that the suit jacket had a 36 inch measurement through the chest. Now, however, a size 36 suit may have actually dimensions closer to 37 inches due to vanity sizing. To help educate purchasing decisions, most retailers provide a sizing guide on their websites or in their stores that list which sizes correspond to each measurement.
Laying Out The Plan
Given that this project was created in a “hackathon” style, the project management strategy was very free flowing and less rigid than work performed over a period of time. While roles were loosely defined, they were not strictly adhered to in favor of rapidly completing the challenge at hand. However, as always, we began by defining our target customers and creating end user profiles. Our target customers were clothing retailers who wanted to improve their shoppers’ instore and at-home experience in order to reduce customer dissatisfaction and returns. The target end users were shoppers between the ages of 18 and 40 years of age, earning above the median income level, and frequently using smartphones. These profiles were based off of demographic research conducted about the clothing retail space.
Once the problem and target user profiles were defined, I started the project by collecting sizing data for 20 popular online retailers. I created a spreadsheet for each gender (since sizing works differently for men and women), and copied in the sizing data for each retailer in each clothing category (shirts, pants, coats, et cetera).
As I was completing this task, Mike began coming up with UI sketches and started prototyping the interface. I provided input regarding the user flow from one screen to the next. We emphasized simplicity and minimalism. In the absence of a brand guide, we chose a simple black and white scheme with blue accents. Finally, once the sketches were complete, I compiled a basic project specification detailing interactions and how the app should work.
In a short time, we successfully built a concept that could address the challenges shoppers face as a result of vanity sizing. Naturally, our “final” concepts were rough as we had to limit the number of iterations we could produce, but the general layout and user flow is very similar to what we would want to see in such an app. We did use the concept as a challenge project when vetting some developers, but we never pursued the project past this stage.