For a senior interaction design course at Simon Fraser University, our team was tasked with seeking a local organization in Vancouver whose values we shared. Arc’teryx’s philosophy as a design company and commitment to sustainability resonated with our team, and we were lucky to be able to collaborate with the Kitsilano and Metrotown branches.
Conducted on-site ethnography, user research and interviews, and led the visual design of presentation slides. Facilitated remote co-design workshop and design sprints. Designed, ideated and illustrated product care artifacts. Designed online experience of receiving product care gifts.
We designed an intervention to tackle the lack of product care knowledge that online Arc'teryx customers often face. You can read more about our research and process below.
Arc'teryx customers are able to choose a free gift upon purchasing an item (online or in-store). We decided on gifts because we wanted to make product care knowledge available to every customer free of cost.
For this project we found an opportunity to design for online buyers since there are no current product care touchpoints through ordering on the Arc'teryx website.
An email with product care links will be sent to users who are expecting to receive their gift soon. We want users to be ready for when the product arrives as it's recommended to wash the jacket because it increases the effectiveness of the waterproof material.
The magnet is a product care guide made from Gore-tex scraps, which was an environmentally conscious decision. The back of the grommet is magnetic, so people can stick it on their laundry machines. The loop allows people to hang the magnet on their coat hangers or wall hooks in case the user doesn't have a laundry machine.
We aimed to design an artifact that could live in the laundry room or closet — because it's a place where clothes live.
The bandana has product care instruction written on one side and the pattern features a Vancouver trail. This portable artifact was designed to be used daily for people adventuring in the city or nature.
Ultimately our framed design question was: How might we dispel misconceptions by facilitating post-purchase self-learning on why and how garments should be cared for?
To begin, we set the course for our research by asking ourselves:
We began our research by visiting and observing each store across the lower mainland to understand their unique programs, while keeping in frequent contact with the store manager and marketing leads. During hour long sessions of undercover browsing, we took field notes, photos, and conducted interviews with product guides regarding customer-employee interactions.
To attain a nuanced and learned understanding of Arc’teryx customers, we conducted 8 qualitative interviews seeking to understand motivations, behaviours, and rituals. We sought out the people who were best able to shed light on our questions which included athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, urban commuters, techwear fans, and casual shoppers.
"I left Vancouver before I had a chance to bring it in. Fabric glue stopped working in London. Has really bothered me considering how good their products can be."
"In 2013, I was on a hunt for a jacket to climb Kilimanjaro but one that I can still wear in the city’s winter too. I learned the hard way that you're supposed to wash these jackets regularly/often to keep the waterproofness etc. Basically something went wrong when I once washed my Beta AR..."
"Once I figure out the fabric glue situation I’ll stand by them 100%. But if I’m paying this kinda money for a jacket I want it to stay strong for longer than a couple years."
"Just with dish soap, I wash it or dry clean."
"I use a hose to clean it, so it doesn’t remove coating, especially after I come back from camping. I make sure I air dry the jacket. I know heat is not good for the jacket, so I don’t put it near a heater or a dryer."
"At most, I go over it with wax cause it’s cotton."
Using data from our interviews, we mapped common journeys that customers may take, from their first connection with Arc’teryx, to active garment use, and eventual replacement. Discrepancies between Arc’teryx’s expectations and customer patterns confirmed for us that there is an opportunity to further leverage the current touchpoints.
Arc’teryx expects customers to have consulted product care resources, and to perform maintenance on garments as needed after purchase.
Customers avoid washing and drying, fearing it may damage their garment.
Arc’teryx expects product care education to take place in-store, during the sales process.
Customers leave the store having forgotten product care information.
The Arc’teryx website has product care information for customers to find.
Customers don’t seek product care information.
From the information our team gathered, we created 2 journey maps that described a person's typical experience regarding product knowledge and product care in-stores and online.
3 personas were also created and used as tools to guide the direction of our project. The three personas were created with more of a storytelling narrative and include the online deal seeker, the in-store customer, and the warehouse sale customer. Ultimately designed a fourth persona, someone who bought garments online at the Arc'teryx official website.
The frictions confirm that there is an opportunity to further leverage Arc’teryx’s current touchpoints to communicate the importance of product care to customers.
We quickly understood that a post-purchase intervention, communicating the importance of product care, would renew trust in Arc’teryx’s lasting quality, and help Arc’teryx achieve sustainable goals.
I helped facilitate a 1h 30min online workshop (quarantine style) using Miro to better understand the wants, needs, desires and feasibility of ideas for an intervention. In this workshop we better understood the lens of product care through Arc'teryx employees. Together we did activities like Visual Toolkit, Mashup, Spider, Crazy 8's and made a journey map.
Over the course of a few weeks, we came up with over online and in-store 100 ideas, with each intervention tackling product care in its own way. I facilitated some design sprinting, design thinking, and sketching activities as well as had spontaneous ideation sessions on our Figma board.
A wise man once said:
That man was my professor, who was guiding our team when we had too many ideas for online and in-store interventions.
Throughout this 14 week project we received critique and feedback from our work which was invaluable to our team. The feedback we received from the people we interviewed, the people at Arc'teryx, and our peers drove the direction of our project. The product care magnet and bandana are simple objects that do their one thing well.
Our process throughout this project was never linear, it was constant diverging and converging from critiques and meetings with Arc'teryx, our class, and ourselves. I'm really proud of myself and my team for giving it our all, and thankful for Arc'teryx for giving us design students this opportunity.
Something we struggled with was framing our design focus because we started without a brief or direction. We also spent a long time deciding what artifact we were going to design (out of the hundreds we brainstormed), I learned that just like experiences, everything is interconnected and our team can create a family of artifacts to give people choices and alternatives. I learned that as designers, we have the power to shape the experience, and we can direct people's behaviour, but do it in a way where they can actually respond. I also got more experience facilitating workshops and exercises. There's countless more that I learned, which I won't include here, but feel free to email me if you'd like to know more.
The last thing I learned was to trust the process as we faced obstacles. Give love to your craft but also to the research and data. Like Hillary Coe said: "Do the work. Hold the vision. Trust the process. Learn from your mistakes."