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User Personas
Design Strategy
Card Sorts

Concept Development
Usability Testing

Iteration & Polish

Design Solutions
Project Reception

Final Postmortem

Content Inventory
Heuristics & Usability

Market Research


Like so much of the UX work I've completed for startups and smaller businesses, the Golden Age project challenged me to confront pivotal uncertainties head-on, blockers be damned.


As a solo concept piece, design efforts required me to establish everything from business goals to strategy to content inventory—often with no means of confirming or validating my direction.

Nonetheless, I went to great lengths to ensure the site would meet both client and user needs, and while this didn't always require a reinvention of the wheel, it did ultimately manifest in a clean, organized, and scalable online storefront.

Provided with customer-driven solutions, Golden Age Collectables would be primed to enter the modern age with relevant, bespoke e-commerce functionality. No more crate-digging required.

John values exclusivity, and likes to stay updated on the latest and greatest products to hit virtual shelves.

In an effort to promote repeat site visits and impulse transactions, the site's landing was designated to host new and featured content. "New Arrivals" was also added to the global nav, linking directly to freshly stocked inventory.

Both John and Daniella struggle with unintuitive organization and obtuse navigational schemes.

The site's information architecture proved daunting. However, user-tested solutions prevailed, collating highly browsable shop design with flexible categorizations, helpful search filters, and simple, even formulaic navigation.

John is cautious with his budget, especially when purchasing items from unfamiliar brands and product lines. 

Product pages were designed to be as informative as possible to meet John's needs. Besides price, item listings were made to include an overview, multiple large-scale images, detailed specs and features, user reviews, and the MSRP.

John tends to stress over the costs associated with retailer specifics like shipping charges and return policies.

In addition to a free economy shipping option for orders over $25, the global nav's "Hours & Store Info" page houses an extensive FAQ section. Policy info is also linked from the checkout page, ensuring full transparency.

In usability testing, Laura's frustrations with effortful, time-intensive checkout processes were echoed by participants.

In response, I reduced user input. Email addresses were only required when  asking for a receipt. A billing address form was simplified to a billing zip code, and a "save my info" checkbox was added to facilitate future efficiencies.

Both John and Laura were interested in authentic, unique, and/or exclusive items reflective of their personal tastes.

Working to hone the brand's value prop without increasing risk, I doubled down on GAC's commitment to rarities and collector's items. The category received its own department, and I included fresh acquisitions on the "New Arrivals" page.



My final designs were well-received by both study participants and industry professionals alike, surprising my perfectionist side as I picked apart the site's most apparent flaws.


While the former flattered me with their genuine shock (I explained the conceptual nature of the work at the end of the study), the latter lauded my extensive market research, user-centric design strategy, and highly visual browsing experience.

"It's a huge step up and honestly I'd just show it to them. Now that I'm seeing the actual site. You know. It just makes me wonder if they actually know how bad it is."

Carson G, 27

Superfan, Guardians of the Galaxy

"It's cute, though! I really think the shop is going to love it, [...]  ...where I expected, and I'm not even really familiar with the kid's, I mean the, um, the superpowers and all. But it made sense. "

Wendy N, 44

Single mother, Harry Potter  fan


In the event of continued work on the concept, including the unlikely scenario wherein I actually do secure a contract with Golden Age, I drew up a list of additional efforts to help bring the site to life.

  High-Fidelity Interface

I concluded the project feeling satisfied with the quality of the site's interaction design. However, user interface is often one of the best ways to uncover hidden kinks, allowing for continued improvements.

Social Media Integrations

An untouched, yet core component of John's persona regards his need for peer validation. With developer input, social media APIs could work to create a more personal shopping experience.

 Staff Curation & Editorial

Market research touched upon the benefits of curated content. With Apple's App Store strategy as a precedent, CAG could engage all three personas with gift guides, listicles, and similar staff editorial.

Additional User Flows

While my wires hit on many of the most important facets of e-commerce, a few flows, such as account creation and management, store contact, and newsletter sign-up didn't make the prototype.


Working an end-to-end process, especially without any client input, proved to be lonely, challenging, and enlightening in seemingly equal parts. Here's what I took away from this particular experience:

Start with sketches—it's still the best kickoff.

For many (myself included) opening Sketch to an empty artboard is an instant blocker. Whiteboards and scratch paper, despite myriad alternatives, remain the best, most agile ways to organize ideas.

Best practices aren't always the best practices.

I've gathered my methods from some incredible mentors in UX, UI, visual art, and game design. But every project is unique, and some processes are better left behind. Don't do them just to say you did.

Make sure you're prototyping with focus.

I wasted major efforts ensuring that my prototype held the detail of a fully functioning website. While crossing every t meant users had more freedom to explore, most testers didn't veer far off course.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

As always, my creative instincts directed me toward plenty of out-of-the-box solutions. But coming to terms with convention can save you time, reduce user frustration, and aid in intuitive design.


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