UX at Tiffany's
One of the world's most iconic jewelry houses, Tiffany & Co.'s reputation for craftsmanship and design innovation dates back to 1837 when founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany, opened the first store in New York City. Even though sales from the first day totaled just $4.98, it would be the beginning of a journey for a company that would be formative in defining the luxury category for decades to come.
The industry landscape has changed quite a bit since 1837, and staying ahead of the curve in a hypercompetitive category is about more than just producing beautiful products. So when Tiffany reached out to us in 2018 to spearhead UX for the redesign of all their regional web properties, we knew that uncovering deep consumer insights would provide the foundation for building an enhanced omnichannel experience - the kind that 21st century consumers have come to expect.
When Tiffany brought us in, the project was already underway, and the agency that had been tasked with leading the design portion of the project had all but checked out once they delivered a huge batch of mockups. Luckily, and despite the tight project timeline, there was still enough time to conduct usability testing of high fidelity prototypes, with real users, to gut check the proposed UX/UI of the site.
Together with Tiffany's Digital Commerce and Creative teams, we quickly turned the insights gleaned from testing into actionable design decisions, and modified existing user personas and corresponding customer journey maps to reflect our latest findings. This information and feedback gathering checkpoint in the project turned out to be critical in helping the team to understand how the new design direction could help or harm the different browsing and buying journeys for different customer types, as well as highlighting the regional differences in online consumer behavior and expectations.
Coming out of the usability testing sessions, we cross-referenced the qualitative data amassed with legacy quantitative data to paint a more detailed picture of how and why users were behaving in certain ways at different points along the conversion funnel. We then took the opportunity provided by our new found insights to reconsider design decisions that would better optimize the journey for both users and the business - if we can better enable users to find the right information at the right time, everybody wins.
During this time, we also sowed the seeds for a more iterative product process that would incorporate testing and gathering user feedback into multiple stages of the product development cycle. This process shift would have a two-fold effect: ideas and proposed solutions can be vetted more quickly and at a much lower cost through prototyping rather than full-scale implementation, and it facilitates the organization's movement towards user-centricity which can be applied to future product initiatives.
The Usability Lab Takes Shape
Immediately after the site went live in Spring of 2019, another usability study was conducted to establish a benchmark for the customer experience. The new data synthesized and analyzed to inform the product roadmap, future opportunities, and additional areas for exploration. It came as no surprise when stakeholders began to see the power of consumer insights, and we continued to nudge the organization in the design-thinking direction by introducing agile methodologies like remote usability testing, card-sorting exercises, design studios, etc. that can be conducted throughout the product development cycle to gather insights and get team consensus.
Just as we had hoped when we first joined, Tiffany is transitioning to a more nimble product development process that relies on testing and user feedback loops to better understand how they can meet their customers where they are today and where they will be going tomorrow.