The concept for this article is to exemplify the definition of a streamlined process for the creation of a e-commerce experience, that focuses on items such as accessibility, localization, within a specific industry. This exercise was built in a 5 hour span.


The concept for this project is building out a that provides an effective e-commerce experience for a company that specializes in construction materials (across multiple platforms). This concept, should be elaborated and defined in 5 hours.

Product Experience

The product experience was specifically built around a mobile responsive product. As part of the product definition and experience, I sought out different sources of information on the specific industry, but also on the e-commerce experiences throughout the world, in order to understand the commonality of patterns present in all these products. The goal for this product experience, is anchored in a flow that is streamlined, cognizant of the multiple platforms that users utilize in order to make their purchases. The product being built should also contemplate factors such as localization and accessibility.


The research component of this project was anchored in a variety of sources. On one hand there were data analytics I gathered from several sources available online, namely on the evolution of e-commerce platforms (across the globe), the demographics that are specific to the construction universe (and understanding how that sector consumes products and how technology impacts it). I also researched reviews and ratings on the products that are the most successful on e-commerce, in order to find common threads around the feedback provided by users.

Understanding the Problem

The questions and observations that I documented pertaining to this project, include the following items.

  1. Who is this application built for?
  2. What defines the users of their products?
  3. What products on the store are more and less relevant for their clients?
  4. How do users relate to the brand and physical store?
  5. What role does the online presence play?
  6. What analytics exist to substantiate their process?
  7. What are the user journeys associated with their digital products?
  8. How do users reach the digital presence?
  9. What impact does word of mouth and specialty stores pay in advocating new clients or client retention?


Based on the scope definition, centered around the client/user perspective, below are some of the observations that can be asked from creating an empathy map and observing users.

What does the user SAY — What do users say about finding the materials they are looking for, and how effective their checkout process is;

What does the user THINK — What expectations do users have towards the online store, and how that marries with the physical store for instance;

What does the user DO — What do users do in order to purchase their product? Is there prior research, is it based on recommendations?

What does the user FEEL — What do users feel about the process across the multiple platforms?

This component should also focus on the definition of user journeys in order to understand the process by which users research, and come to the product. How relevant is it to them the creation of profiles, for quick sign in, and for easy checkout processes.

In order to also define an Affinity Diagram, that will collate observation, married with insights, here are some of the Design Mandates for this experience.

  1. Create a seamless, consistent experience for multiple platforms.
  2. Create a shopping experience anchored in clarity, defined categories and streamlined checkout.

Personas Used for this Case Study

Michael Jehl (51yo, Construction Supervisor, USA)

Michael has worked in construction for over 15 years. He has been with the same company for the last 5 years, and he’s a foreman. He is fairly tech savvy, and is responsible for hiring, and also making sure that there are enough materials/equipment within the warehouse for the tasks to get successfully accomplished. He prefers to go to the stores directly, but has been adopting the process of purchasing some items online. He appreciates ease of use and check out processes.

Research Data

The biggest e-commerce platforms currently in existence:

  • Amazon
  • Yingdong
  • Alibaba
  • Ebay
  • Rakuten
  • B2W
  • Zalando
  • Groupon

Top 50 US Retailers (ranked by online sales):

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Wal-Mart Stores
  • Macy’s Store
  • Costco Wholesale
  • QVC
  • Nordstrom
  • Target Corp
  • Kohl’s Corp
  • Gap Inc

Demographics of who works in Construction (data obtained from the US Department of Labor):

  • Total employed (over 16): 153,337 (numbers in thousands for 2017);
  • Construction: 10,692 (of this number, Women are 9,1%, White are 88,8% and Hispanic are 29.8%);

The construction Industry has a technology problem:

  • While 61% of construction companies are using Building Information Modeling (BIM), surveys have identified that firms are not investing in single, fully integrated project management information systems;
  • Additionally, nearly 40% of construction firms that use mobile technology do not link to an integrated system or enterprise-wide project management system;

Observations and Common Denominators for these applications (based on customer ratings and reviews):

  • Prominent search feature at the top;
  • Register and shopping car features always at top in terms of hierarchy of information;
  • Personalization components are highly relevant and demonstrate targeted focus;
  • Highlight components for special campaigns;
  • For accessibility, there are factors such as white space, labels, contrasting colors, big text;

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