Designing a Home Furnishing App with augmented reality technology

Scope of Work
Heem is a new e-commerce interior design retailer offering a range of home furnishing products in partnership with various vendors. Heem is develop an app that incorporates augmented reality technology as a way to standout in a competitive Landscape.

View Prototype

Learning from the Competition
Because of the highly competitive nature of the market utilizing the AR/VR, it was crucial and the first stepping stone to look at some of the prominent players within the competition and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.
Building upon the competition’s design patterns, and giving that there’s a considerable learning curve when it comes to AR, it was clear that the app needed a clear onboarding. Additionally, and across all of the competition, the search feature was available at all times, and the majority of the experience was available to guest users. 

Competitive and Comparative Analysis of Similar Home Furnishing Apps

The Customer is Always Right!

AR Trends and Statistics

One of the main reasons AR/VR has succeeded in breaking into different industries is its personalization’s factor. As a result of the technology, the customer is offered a very personalized option to chose from. Personalization is the biggest upcoming trend in the furniture market: the consumer want to feel special and see how the product fit their specific need. 
So, the question was how might we personalize the furniture shopping experience even further?
Scouting the Field
Contextual Inquiries revealed significant insights about customer’s needs, goals and expectations when shopping for furniture. I observed customers at major home furnishing outlet, and interviewed some of them about their shopping experience. I also talked to some of the staff members to get an insiders perspective and try to pinpoint regular pains and struggles that customers usually have during shopping for furniture...
Contextual inquiries revealed that while most people had a general idea what decorating style they are drawn to, they had a hard time picking out pieces of furniture and home accessories, and always consulted with the staff for interior design advise. Staff interviews also confirmed that the majority of customers lacked design background, the aesthetics, or the taste to shop for home furnishing so they always wanted advise from the experts. What Pieces of furniture went with what? Which carpet works best with this sofa? And which wood finish should the dining table be? These were some of the questions that the store’s staff answered regularly, which they were trained for and were able to give advice once they assess the customer’s space, needs and taste. ​​​​​​​
So, How might we simulate the furniture store experience and provide users with help in their interior design decisions?
Meet Helen
Creating a user persona was useful In order to synthesize the findings from contextual inquires, and address the needs, goals and observed behavior patterns of the users...

User Persona for Heem

Introducing the Design Helper
In order to address users’ problem when it comes to making their decorating decisions, Heem would need to serve as a design tool in addition to it being a shopping and visualization tool. I brainstormed ways that the app can function as the personalized design helper, simulating the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, and established a way the app can make personalized suggestions to the user based on his taste, style and needs, making the furniture shopping experience more personalized than ever! 

The Conceptualization of the Design Helper Feature

Envisioning the Structure
It was time to tackle the complex information architecture of an app of this nature, which started by following familiar design patterns of similar apps in order to maximize learnability and usability. Then, I continued to brainstorm how would the Design Helper feature integrate into the navigation of the app, and what other screens would be useful and inspiring the user from an interior design perspective…

The Application Map

Designing the Interaction
Before Kicking-off the prototyping phase, I needed to workout key user flows, especially in terms of the Design Helper feature, in order to ensure it weaves into the main flow of the app and still be secondary in hierarchy since decorating advise would be offered, if needed, after the user has gotten a chance to browse through products, similar to a store's shopping experience...

User Flow

Designing the UI
Similar to other e-commerce apps, Heem would be rich in content and complex from an information architecture perspective. Which is why the branding the UI needed to be subtle and minimalistic. The logo was inspired by the AR icon and represented a 3-dimensional isometric “H” for Heem. The color palette consists of mostly neutral colors that give an elegant backdrop to the experience without distracting from the actual products, in addition to a complementary accent green color to engage the users. The type was also chosen to match the characteristics of the brand: elegant, timeless, sleek and sophisticated...

The App Style Tile

Putting it All Together

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