UX Challenge: Redesign the gift-giving process
Everyone loves receiving gifts. Gifts make you feel loved and appreciated because the other person was thinking about you. And if the gift is something you wanted, it can make you so happy that you could jump for joy.
Receiving gifts is easy. But what about giving gifts? Suddenly the process becomes more sophisticated.
Why is it so difficult to decide on a gift for another person?
To answer this, my team and I took on the challenge to redesign the gift-giving experience so that the gift will be meaningful and useful to the receiver. We focused on the gift-giving process between romantic partners.
This fun UX challenge is adapted from the Stanford d. School’s gift-giving project to help start thinking about user-centered design, focusing on the 5 stages in the design-thinking process: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.
To develop a deep understanding, we conducted 3 rounds of interview with the users:
- The first time was to get to know the user and to find the story
- The second and third time were to dig deeper, find user emotions, and better-understand user’s gift-giving habits
Insights from the interviews
- It is challenging to know what the other person truly wants because you cannot fully put yourself in their shoes. As a result, the gift-giver compromises by noticing the little details in daily life (what his/her significant other usually buys, says, does), to have ‘insights’ / deep understanding of possible gift options
- The intangible value of the gift is important. All the processes for giving a gift are based on and for the counterpart. Price is also important, but so long as it fits the budget, and the gift-giver is happy with the purchase
After synthesis, we came up with the following problem statement
(Deep inside), Jonathan [the user] has an idea of what to give his significant other. However, Jonathan needs a way to feel confident that the gift he buys his girlfriend is useful, meaningful, and demonstrates his thoughtfulness.
After having a deeper understanding of our user Jonathan, his pains, gains, and needs, we brainstormed some solutions. We turned the problem statement into the following goal:
“How might we help people like Jonathan gain confidence in their gift-choosing thinking process?”
The most important part of the process was to make it quick-and-dirty, iterate, pivot, and reiterate. Below is a portion of our ‘brain dump’ ideas:
Jonathan needs a third person’s perspective to help him gain confidence in his gift-consideration thinking process. We came up with Okuri — a simple ChatBot recommendation system with a personality.
Okuri-pon (the mascot) will generate a series of prompt questions to gather the users’ basic information and input. After that, it will access the database system to generate a list of recommended gifts.
The ChatBot has 2 modesーQuick conversations (around 1–3minutes) with a 67% success rate and Long conversation (5–7minutes) with a 95% success rate.
User testing and Feedback
We made a simple user flow and simulation on Google Drive, then presented it to 2 users for 2 rounds. Below was the feedback we received:
- They loved the ideas and think it is a fun and stress-free approach
- They thought we should elaborate on the difference between quick versus extended conversation modes — why would a user choose one over the other, and how can we justify the success rate
- Maybe consider following up on the results from the users, their response and feedback
- What will the business model be, and whether the app will be region-based (considering the differences in gift-giving cultures)
Design and Prototype
Quick conversation mode
This mode targets users with a bit more confidence in choosing gifts, preferably those in long-term relationships, or users who have a broad idea of what gift to purchase. This mode aims to enable quick conversations that enable users to select their preferable gift choice, prevent giving the same gifts from before, or suggest small additional details in their gifts.
A formal design was not required for this challenge, but I took the liberty and have fun with some simple prototypes for the Okuri ChatBot:
Long conversation mode
This mode targets users with less confidence in choosing gifts, preferably those in the early stages of a relationship. As the conversation becomes longer, this mode helps users get a more in-depth insight into their partner’s interests to choose the gift. In the Long Conversation mode, Okuri-pon will make customers feel more reliable in selecting the gift.
The dialogue focuses on the receiver’s personality and the insights into the relationship between the giver-receiver. Okuri also generates prompts that trigger gift-givers to recall specific actions, words, or details that had before; from there, they can have a clearer picture of the potential gifts.
- Support user’s thinking process to choose a gift
- Users can get some confidence in the final decision
Long detailed conversation
- Helps users understand their partner’s interests in-depth for gift choosing
- Users can feel more reliable and sure of the gift options
- Help with the thinking process during gift-giving
- Make customers more focused on their daily life actions
- Lessen stress for users
- Boost the success rate of picking a useful, meaningful, and thoughtful gift
Conclusion and Reflection
おくり(Okuri) derives from the word 贈り物 （Okuri -mono), which means ‘gift’ in Japanese. This is where we got the inspiration from. With Okuri Chatbot, we hope to improve the user’s thinking process when choosing the gift because we genuinely believe, deep down, everyone knows what they will get their significant other on their special day. We also came up with ideas on how the solution can be improvedーdeep learning, audio chat integration, personalized database, etc.
This project was a fun group challenge as part of the 5-day design thinking sprint workshop. For this challenge, we focused more on collaboration, user research, and the design thinking process. Nevertheless, I took a step further to develop prototypes, and the results showed that there is more room for ideas and improvements based on the user’s real needs and interests.
Gift-giving is never an easy process, but I hope that Okuri can help users become more confident to select a practical, useful, and thoughtful gift.