The Project

Design an interactive prototype of an e-commerce website that is a separate site but follows the “look and feel” of the REI brand. 

The Challenge

When engaging in outdoor activities, people don’t always know what gear and clothing they need to bring. Also, when planning a trip with friends, it can be a hassle to coordinate who is bringing what items and what might be missing.

The Solution

A trip planning website that provides customers with recommendations on gear and clothing based on their activity/sport. If  you don’t already have an item they recommend, you can purchase it. The site will create a trip checklist that you can share with friends going on the trip with you.

My Role

This was an individual project, so I did it all: user research, user flows, running the card sorting, creating an interactive prototype for the site in Axure, and user testing.

The Prototype

Here’s a video walkthrough of the site prototype I created using Axure.


The Work

User Research

I talked to several people that ranged in age from mid-twenties to early fifties, and whose experience ranged from novices to experienced campers/outdoor sports aficionados. Some said they want a site that helps them keep track of what they need to bring on a trip. One person said she would love to have a site that provides her with gear and clothing recommendations because she relies on other people to tell her what she needs. Another person who is a more seasoned camper, cyclist, and kayaker said he could really use a site that helps him coordinate with his friends what gear they need to bring for the group.

Card Sorting

In order to figure out the content for the site and the order, I had a few people do some card sorting. But when I first did it I hadn’t really narrowed the scope of the site so it didn’t really give me any good results. The next couple of times I tried it yielded more helpful results.

Initial card sort with too broad a scope.

Initial card sort with too broad a scope.

Later card sort with a narrowed focus for the site content

Later card sort with a narrowed focus for the site content

User Flows

I worked on a few different ideas for user flows. The first one I thought of having different gear/clothing recommendations for different members of the family (children, vs. adult woman, etc.). But in the later version the customer would get recommendations for them specifically.

Initial user flow idea

Initial user flow idea

Later version of the user flow

Later version of the user flow

Narrowing the Focus

The project brief included several feature requests for the site. But I found that two of them: “Allow users to find and book camping destinations” and “Allow users to discover and book (if applicable) other outdoor activities to take part in while camping” were features that REI’s own REI Adventures micro-site already provides. So instead I decided to focus on creating an interactive trip checklist that can be shared with the other people going on the trip.

Next Steps

I got some great feedback from the users I’d spoken to about this project. I implemented as much of it as I could within the project time frame. But they had some other feature suggestions that I think would be great to put in a future version of the site. One suggestion came from someone who goes camping often and I think it’s a really good idea. He suggested that the site should warn someone if they don’t check off critical safety items from the trip checklist. He gave examples of items like a bear-bag and rope to hang it (to keep bears from eating your food), specific first-aid items, fire-starting items, rain gear, etc.