IKEA Place

IKEA Place is an augmented reality furnishing app that users can experiment and visualize furniture at their home.

PROBLEM AND OPPORTUNITY

Current app with cumbersome user flow and limited spatial control can frustrate the furniture placement and visualization experience, wasting user’s time and debasing IKEA’s value.

A well optimized IKEA Place should make the furniture visualization intuitive, effective and fun, ultimately boosting IKEA online sales.

SOLUTION

I redesigned the user flow and optimized the furniture placement operations to enhance user control, flexibility and confidence when using AR to find their favorite furniture.

MY ROLE

Product Designer

This is a personal project (no affiliation with IKEA)

Scope

User Research
Interaction Design
Hi-Fidelity Mockups
Interactive Prototype

Tool: Sketch / Principle / Adobe Suites / Miro

Time: 2 weeks

OUTCOME

Informed Furniture Loading

Precise Furniture Positioning

Instant Furniture Replacing

Empathize

Tech-driven millennials love quick and easy solutions
to find stylish furniture

Jobs Stories: see it before you buy it

Before I started, I used The Jobs To Be Done framework, which emphasizes on the core functions of IKEA Place, to focus on motivation and context without adding any implementation during research.

Provisional Persona: techy IKEA fan

Through my research on IKEA’s marketing report and study done by Earnest, I synthesized key characteristics for IKEA customer:

I created the following provisional persona below to build user empathy and understand their behavior, goals and needs further more.

Define

Cumbersome furniture loading, positioning and replacing process frustrates users from trying and buying furniture

Guerrilla Usability Testing: real user stories in IKEA store

To uncover pain points, I conducted 5 guerrilla usability tests in the IKEA store in Emeryville, CA. They are IKEA customers and two of them have previous experience with AR technology. I gave each user three scenario-based tasks to complete within IKEA Place

Scenario example: You are planning to buy a bed, a nightstand and a desk for the new bedroom which you just moved into. Open up the IKEA Place app in your phone, try to find furniture you like and put/arrange them in your room."

Insights from the testing were clustered to identify relationships and reveal main frustrations users had using the app. These clusters were mapped in a diagram to display their importance in relation to the users and business and to prioritize design direction.

Task Flow: audit and identify 3 frustrations

By observing users completing the test, I created a task flow detailing the steps they went through. Based on the results, I highlighted three areas where user showed most frustrations, and summarized three high priority paint points.

Ideate

Experimenting different approaches to discover
a simple, elegant solution

Lo-Fi Sketches

I brainstormed multiple options to address established pain points. Through iterations of testing and optimization, I redesigned the user flow with minimal changes and incorporated an advance positioning feature to enhance functionality and user experience. My redesign aligned with IKEA branding, value and mission.

Prototype

Making furniture discovery more accurate and flexible

Hi-Fi Prototype

Moving forward with the process, I turned my Lo-Fi sketches into Hi-Fi prototypes to further illustrate and visualize my approaches.

I listed three paint points in their sequential order. For each paint point, I included both task flows as well as detailed comparison of the user interfaces before and after my redesign.

Pain Point 1

Furniture Loading: poor navigation and inconsistent user expectation

Solution:


Pain Point 2

Furniture Positioning: low positioning precision for fat fingers

Solution:

Pain Point 3

Furniture Replacing: unnecessary, redundant operation


Solution:

Final Design

A fun and intuitive way of discovering furniture

Informed Furniture Loading
User can now smoothly scan the room and tap to place the furniture at the desired location. “Help” button provides scanning instruction and “Exit” button can leave the scanning process, so users can improve the physical conditions and rescan.

Precise Furniture Positioning
Users can refine the furniture placement to the exact position using “Arrow” buttons which have finer control and higher precision. If placement is not desired, user can reset to the loading location.

Instant Furniture Replacing
Users can replace the furniture with a similar alternative directly at the current location without going through the searching, scanning, moving process.

Validate

Tecky IKEA fans love the AR features and could seamlessly find their favorite furniture

After two weeks of user research, analysis and redesign, I was able to validate my assumptions and changes by testing my clickable prototype with five new users. The results are:

Takeaway

AR technology should make furniture purchase easier, but bad design won’t.

This UX case study has a very aggressive timeline and I took on an app by a well-known company. AR technology supposedly to help users conveniently select furniture through visualization. However, cumbersome user flow frustrates the user and hinders online purchase.

To improve the app, I have identified more than 10 user paint points through usability test. Under the time constraints, I have to priorities the most important and relevant paint points. The three selections are essential to the app core function that can greatly impact both the users and the business.