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Creating an ad-free, unbiased shopping experience

Pricesearcher is the UK's largest product search engine that is an ‘Always On, Always Free’ source of highly engaged shoppers that thousands of retailers are accessing for free and with zero development resources.


My Role

User Research, Information Architecture, Wireframing, Prototyping, UI, and Project Management.


The Challenge

The average shopper checks 5 different websites before making a purchase, however Pricesearcher checks over 10,000 websites a day, saving you time and money. Also, no retailer pays to be listed on Pricesearcher. Its mission is to show you all your buying options, without any bias, adverts, or paid listings. Designing a product search engine, that features millions of products, was a massive task. The products and pricing data had to be organised in a way that made sense to the user.



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The Solution

A web app was designed that enabled the user to not only search across a massive range of products, but also see all of the different price points from the different retailers. Pricesearcher became a product search engine that was both an online shopping experience, but also a price comparison site. Pricesearcher enabled retailers of all sizes to organically upload their products via a simple upload form, reducing the need for any technical integration or customer support. It is a completely free, completely unbias product search engine.




Process


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Reviewing the competition

Challenging some of the biggest tech companies in the world is no easy feat. Especially when it comes to online shopping. Tech giants such as Google and Amazon have entire departments dedicated to search, pricing, and interface design. At Pricesearcher, I was the sole designer. To understand how to display the best shopping experience I had to assess all of the strengths and weaknesses of other e-commerce and price comparison sites.






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Conducting stakeholder meetings with senior management

To understand the potential of what Pricesearcher could be, I had to organise frequent meetings with senior stakeholders. I had to find a balance between the business needs, the technical capabilities, and the optimum user experience. Running card sorting exercises with key members enabled me to group features and functionalities, which helped me initially map out the structure of the search engine.






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Understanding the user

Another UX research method I moderated, was utilising remote user testing tools. After I wrote the script, which consisted of simple tasks and interactions, I gathered a large amount of qualitative feedback. This included task completion times, verbal feedback, and responses to survey questions. I used an empathy mapping technique to visualise the user's thoughts and categorise them accordingly. I was also able to use this feedback to create personas, which were an excellent reference point during the design process.






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Designing the user interface

I worked with the front-end development team to design the user interface. From conceptual sketches to wireframes, I was able to share my ideas with the rest of the team. I had weekly meetings with the CEO to ensure communication was frequent and strong, and the website was moving in the right direction. Once the layout and structure were signed off, I could turn my wireframes into high-fidelity UI designs. I used Sketch to design the UI and uploaded it to Zeplin so that the front-end developers could extract code snippets and downloadable assets.






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Testing the live site

After the site was pushed from the staging environment, into production, it was there for everyone to see. After deployment, I wanted to gain insights into how the site was performing in the real world. To achieve this, I used Hotjar, a behavioural analytics tool. I was able to observe users' interactions through screen recordings, heatmaps, and funnel analysis.



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