Kevin Guisarde | UI/UX Designer

Expressions Website Case Study


Expressions (E-commerce)

June 2018

Concept Project - General Assembly

Duration - 2 Weeks



Expressions is a regional retailer of footwear and brand name clothing. Strictly brick and mortar, Expressions has over 30 stores located in the New England area. The objective for this project was to create an online shopping experience for a business with an existing web presence that does not currently offer e-commerce. My extensive research allowed me to create an intuitive online shopping experience that caters to Expressions' most valuable customers while working together with brick and mortar in harmony. 


My Role

I was the sole designer for this project, responsible for Research, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, User Interface Design, and building the Interactive Prototype to test with users.


  • Research

  • Information Architecture

  • Interaction Design

  • UI Design

  • Interactive Prototyping


  • Pen and Paper

  • Real Time Board (Affinity Mapping)

  • Optimal Sort (Card Sorting)

  • Google Docs

  • Google Slides (Presentation)

  • Axure (Wireframing & Prototyping)

  • Sketch


The Problem

Customers need a way to discover and purchase new sneaker releases online because purchasing new releases at the store can be challenging with long lines and waiting times on release day. Customers often find themselves camped outside for hours in hopes of purchasing a new sneaker being released, just to be told they are out of stock.




User Interviews

In order to discover what the existing customer base of Expressions looked like, I sought out to find people who have visited the store in the past few months. My first initial interviews provided me with little insight into the true customer base of the business. Expressions mainly caters to people who have a passion and high interest in footwear.

So to dig a little deeper, I interviewed more participants that had main interests in purchasing footwear and were frequent shoppers at the store. The data gathered from my second round of interviews was able to give me some major insights on who my target audience really is and the process they undergo when searching for and purchasing footwear. 


Affinity Mapping - Synthesizing The Data

After two rounds of interviews, I gathered my data and began grouping into sets to try to find any underlying trends. I was really able to pin point my target users as well as their needs and pain points to come up with some possible solutions.


Key Insights

  • Customers need multiple options for buying sneakers (Online, Store, Raffle, Reseller)

  • Information on the latest sneaker releases (Date of release, details)

  • Customers need product as soon as possible


Expressions Most Valuable Customers (Personas)

Based on participants feedback and informative insights, I were able to come up with Personas that represented the brands most valuable customers.


Heuristic Evaluation

Before jumping into competitive analysis, I wanted to review the Expressions website at its current state. I completed a Heuristic Evaluation of the current site and was able to discover some usability problems right off the bat. The navigation was a huge problem. The way the site navigation was structured made it difficult to search for specific products. The content seemed to be set up as a blog, and finding information on older sneaker releases seems like an impossible task while searching through archives


 Competitive Analysis

To understand the structure and flow of the online shopping experience, I sought out to review and analyze competitors whom already have established e-commerce capabilities. I was able to take away some trends that focus on the needs of my target users as well as some of the strengths of each brand and how they successfully provide customers with an overall intuitive and flawless online shopping experience. 



  • Allow customers to find information on new releases by use of calendar system

  • Allow customers to find product availability by store

  • Allow users to find store locations



  • Website crashes due to high traffic on limited releases.

  • Does not allow user to pick up directly at store after purchase - have to be shipped to store


Information Architecture


Card Sorting

In adding an online shopping experience to the existing site, I had to evaluate the existing navigation of the site and configure what is needed in order to structure the navigation of the store's products. I had to gather inventory of the current brick and mortar and have users categorize them into groups that would make sense for the newly improved navigation. Using OptimalSort, users were able to groups products by categories familiar to them as an online shopper. 

Sorting Session Screenshot.png



Putting Ideas on Paper

To create as many ideas as possible, we decided using the Design Studio method with the entire team. To accomplish this, we timeboxed ourselves while sketching out as many screens as possible. Putting ideas on paper was important for us to be able to guide us in the right directions as far as which solutions would most benefit the users. Most of our iterations and major changes came from our paper prototypes and testing them with users. 

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 4.52.36 PM.png

The Challenges

One of the biggest challenges in this project was tailoring the online shopping experience to the existing customer base of the brick and mortar. The online experience had to be easy to use, allow users to accomplish their goals, as well as work together with the current brick and mortar. One of my concerns was creating an eccommerce experience that would make the brick and mortar obsolete over time. I wanted create a better shopping experience for the users while still meeting with the needs of the business. 


User Flow




UI Design


The Solution

I believe that creating an online ecommerce experience with in store pick up capabilities will help customers avoid the frustrations of long lines at the store when trying to buy newly released sneakers on release day. Customers will be able to make their purchase as soon at the shoe is release and be able to pick up their order at any store location of  choice.