FUTUREYES CONTACTS👁️

Building an ecommerce store from scratch

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Project Overview

For UX Writing Hub's course in Microcopy & UX Writing, I was tasked with designing an e-commerce site. Given my interest in personal style and finding ways to express myself, I decided to look into contact lenses.

My initial idea was to create a unique brand for colored contacts, but to also sell contact products from other brands. I conducted user research, created page mockups with UX copy, and went through user testing sessions to finalize my design.

Futureyes Summary

Futureyes is an e-commerce site selling colored contacts that enhance or alter your eye color. These contacts are designed to stay comfortable and moist, suitable for students and professionals alike, and function as daily accessories to quickly change up your style. Futureyes seeks to influence customer interest by offering a virtual try on function and free or discount trial pairs.


Research Goals & Methodology

⭐ If you prefer to view this project in Google Slides, check out the Full Research Report

Find out more about direct competitors

By understanding the market for contact lenses and colored contact lenses, I will get a better look at what’s available and how Futureyes can differentiate itself. I can also see what related companies are providing in terms of design patterns, copy, website functions, services, and solutions to common problems for contact wearers.

Discover and define the end user

I want to discover not only who I am writing copy for and the types of language they utilize, but their pain points, or what problems and fears they’re faced with. By finding the “average” customer and analyzing their experiences with contacts, I will be able to craft an appropriate style guide and make design decisions better tailored to the user.

Determine interest in normal vs. colored vs. specialty lenses

While my hope is to sell natural looking contact lenses, I wonder what niche I'm targeting. For example, do the people generally interested in colored lenses belong to a specific demographic or hobby groups? Is the everyday student or professional going to buy them? Conducting research will give me insights into user wants and needs.

Determine what features are important to users

What constitutes “excellency” in a pair of contact lenses? Is there a desire for vision correcting colored contacts? How does price affect buying trends? I want to gain a deeper understanding of what features a user is expecting when they buy contact lenses, and the kind of experience they’re seeking by selecting colored ones.


Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis
Overview

View Competitor Analysis (Airtable)

By looking into competitor websites that sell clear and colored contacts, I learned about trends in the market and design/content/marketing strategies used by contact providers. Using Airtable, I organized my research into linked spreadsheets.

Analyzed 9 company websites

  • Popular Sellers: 1800Contacts, Lens.com, Coastal, Discount Contact Lenses
  • Niche/Subscription: Hubble Contacts, Scout by Warby Parker
  • Colored Contacts: Alcon, FreshLook, Coloured Contacts

Collected information across 11 dimensions

  • Basics: Company, URL, Vision, Relevancy (as a 1-5 star rating), My Notes
  • Product: Design Patterns, Products, Special Features & Offers
  • Branding: Logo, Colors & Design, Social Media

Discovered most common & noteworthy design patterns

  • Filtering (by desired look, by category, by brand, using icons or logos)
  • Trial Pair and/or Brand Finder Quiz
  • Progress Tracker for Cart
  • Customer Review System
  • Virtual Try-On
  • Ethnicity Picker (see image below)
  • Online Vision Exam
  • Prescription Check

Ethnicity Picker by Colouredcontacts.com

In terms of representing a wide diversity of potential customers, Coloured Contacts was the most inclusive by offering sample images of both male and female models from four ethnic groups

While not expansive, they still provided more options than any other site I researched. I wanted Futureyes to be similarly inclusive.

Competitor Analysis
Takeaways

  • Companies are  making the checkout process as easy as possible with search and filter options, as well as quizzes.

  • Hubble and Scout offer low cost trial pairs as a way to convert interested users into customers, subscribers, or repeat buyers.

  • Many sites include either customer reviews or virtual try-on options, giving users the chance to gauge whether a pair of contacts will be right for them or not.

  • Some sites reduce friction by letting users check their eyesight and renew their prescription online, although this option doesn't work for everyone.

  • The most common branding color was blue (blue/orange, blue/white, blue/gold). Most logos were wordmark or monogram style logos. Overall, websites kept things simple with a clean, minimal feel and use of white space.

Conversation Mining

Conversation Mining
Overview

View Conversation Mining (Airtable)

I collected conversations, opinions, and reviews from people who use contacts, but also investigated third party viewers making comments about contact wearers. After going through positive and negative reactions, I gained a better understanding of user wants and needs. 

Mined content from 19 sources

  • Google reviews
  • Facebook groups
  • E-commerce sites
  • Reddit
  • Yelp
  • Discussion boards

Collected information across 11 dimensions

  • Basics: Brand or Topic, Source, Platform, Eye Color, Lens Color
  • Content: Attachments, Content (the actual text), Highlights, Key Words & Feelings
  • Analysis: User Fears, User Goals, Notes

Attachment type totals

  • Very Positive (2), Positive (9), Neutral (1), Negative (5), Very Negative (2)

Key Words & Feelings

  • Looks natural: 8
  • Fake: 7
  • Looks unnatural: 4
  • Stay authentic: 4
  • Comfortable: 3
  • Not like advertised: 3
  • Not worth it: 3
  • Will order again: 2
  • Compliments: 2

User Goals and Fears

(Colored Contact Customers)

User Goals

  • Feeling beautiful or confident
  • Natural looking colors for subtle enhancement
  • Striking colors that change eyes
  • Light contacts that show up for people with dark eyes
  • High quality, legitimate brands
  • Prescription colored contacts
  • Colored contacts that look like product or influencer photos
  • Comfort and moisture
  • Variety or a wide selection
  • Responsive customer service
  • Reliable customer reviews/photos
  • Fast shipping

User Fears

  • Not getting money's worth
  • Feeling lied to or ripped off
  • Receiving low quality knock-offs
  • Unnatural or fake looking contacts
  • No visible change to eye color, whether in person or in pictures
  • Bad customer service
  • Having dry or sensitive eyes

Opinions

(Third Party Non-Wearers)

Positive Opinions

Some non-wearers considered colored contacts a fun, cool type of self-expression or fashion accessory.

  • "My girlfriend wears them from time to time and they look really cool... It's always cool to find new ways to express yourself."
  • "I think they look fake and good! lol... I think it’s a fun fashion acessory... when people change their looks from time to time."

Negative Opinions

Other non-wearers, however, displayed animosity toward people who wear colored contacts, seeing them as disingenuous, fake, or inauthentic.

  • "Contacts are straight up fraud. Us blue eyed people dont want shit-eyes like you on our turf."
  • "Lies, deceit, betrayal... Color contacts are unnecessary and annoying."

User Survey

Google Forms User Survey Overview

To get more direct feedback, I made a survey with separate sections for:

  • contact lens wearers
  • contact lens wearers who have made online purchases, and
  • non-wearers (haven't worn contacts in the past 3 months)

I asked all participants about their interest in colored contacts and willingness to try them if offered a free/low price trial pair or virtual try-on. I wanted to see what influence these features would have on generating curiosity.

Then, I distributed the survey through personal networks in the US and Korea, Facebook groups, subreddits, Instagram, and MTurk.

This user survey helped me discover what users consider the most important when it comes to online shopping and contact brands. I also checked different people's level of interest in colored contacts and influential factors.

Demographics

The majority of the 102 participants were female, unmarried, age 20-34,  White or Asian, employed, need their vision corrected, and wear contact lenses.

  • Gender: Male (43.1%), Female (56.9%)
  • Age (Top 3): 20-24 (25.5%), 25-29 (35.3%), 30-34 (16.7%)
  • Married: Yes (35.3%), No (64.7%)
  • Ethnicity (Top 3): White (44.1%), Asian (50%), Hispanic or Latino (5.9%)
  • Employment Status (Top 3): Employed (55.9%), Student (24.5%), Self-employed (10.8%)

Contact Lens Wearers

Out of 60 contact lens wearers, the majority:

  • wear them every day (51.7%)
  • use daily (45%) or monthly lenses (33.3%)
  • prefer Acuvue (40%), SofLens (20%), and PureVision (18.3%)
  • look for comfort, quality, and value
  • dislike having dry eyes and discomfort

What contact lens wearers like about their preferred brand(s)

What contact lens wearers dislike about their preferred brand(s)


Making Online Purchases

Contact lens wearers and online purchases

  • 34 of 60 contact lens wearers (56.7%) had ever purchased contacts online
  • Price (79.4%) and Quality (73.5%) were most important when buying online
  • The most popular providers were Lens.com, 1800Contacts, Coastal, Walmart, and DiscountContactLenses
  • Only 16 of 102 survey participants had ever paid for a contact subscription service to receive contacts at regular intervals

Non-lens wearers and online purchases

  • 10 of 42 non-wearers (23.8%) had ever worn contacts in their lifetime
  • Only 12 of 42 (28.6%) non-wearers had ever purchased glasses or contact lenses online, and they looked for Price, Quality (88.1%), and Good Reviews (69%)

For contacts lens wearers, Price (79.4%) and Quality (73.5%) were the most important factors when buying contacts online, closely followed by Good Reviews (41.2%).

Only 12 of 42 (28.6%) non-wearers had ever purchased glasses or contact lenses online, but what was most important to them mirrored that of contact lens wearers.

For online purchases, contact wearers and non-wearers prioritized...

1. Price / Quality
2. Good Reviews
3. Customer Service
4. Fast Shipping / Selection


Interest in Colored Contacts

All participants were asked about their interest in colored contacts to get a sense for what types of colored contacts people might gravitate towards.

Level of interest

  • Extremely Interested: 15.7%
  • Very Interested: 25.5%
  • Moderately Interested: 14.7%
  • Slightly Interested: 16.7%
  • Not Interested: 27.5%

Colored contact preferences

  • Enhance natural eye color (48%)
  • Change eye color (38.2%)
  • No interest in colored contacts (31.4%)
  • For Halloween, cosplay, or special events (15.7%)
  • Make eyes pop in photos (13.7%)
  • Make eyes look bigger ("Circle" or "Doll" lenses) (12.7%)

Most participants were curious about colored contacts, although to varying degrees. The largest group expressing interest was Moderately Interested (25.5%).

Participants provided different reasons for their level of interest.

The participants showing interest in colored contacts preferred to...

1. Enhance their natural eye color (48%)
2. Change their eye color (38.2%)


Interest in Virtual Try On and Trial Pair Options

The competitor analysis revealed that brands similar to Futureyes utilize a virtual try on and offer trial pairs, two ways to improve the user experience and engage potential customers. To test the viability of these options, I asked participants about their level of interest in them. The majority responded that they would be more interested in colored contacts if they could virtually try them or were offered a free or low price trial pair.

Increased interest with virtual try on

  • Yes (64.7%)
  • No (21.6%)
  • Not sure (13.7%)

Increased interest with free or low price trial pair

  • Yes (68.6%)
  • No (18.6%)
  • Not sure (12.7%)

Perception of Colored Contacts

Finally, all participants were asked about their feelings/perception of colored contacts. The conversation mining suggested that some individuals view colored contacts as "unnecessary" or "unnatural." Nonetheless, they're becoming more ubiquitous among influencers and Instagrammers. I wondered whether people accept colored contacts as a form of self-expression or style, similar to makeup or dyed hair.

Types of colored contacts seen as appropriate for school/work (Top 3)

  • Enhance natural eye color (66 times)
  • Change eye color (41 times)
  • Depends on the person (36 times)

"Colored contacts are a form of self-expression and can even be fashion or style accessories."

  • Most participants (70+, or over 68%) agreed with the statement using affirmative words like "Yes / Yeah / I agree / True / Accurate"
  • Less than 10 disagreed outright with "I disagree / No / I am against this"  

User Interview

User Interview Overview

For a closer look into the contact lens wearing experience, I messaged potential interviewees through Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, offering a $10 gift card. I conducted  a 30 minute interview with a Youtuber who had tried Solotica colored contacts. The questions included topics like vision problems, purchasing eye wear online, and experiences wearing glasses, prescription contacts, and colored contacts.  

The interviewee was Asian, female, 35, married, employed, and located in the UK. Her demographics roughly matched the average user survey participant.

Highlights

Basics

  • Long time wearer of vision correcting (clear) contacts
  • First time wearer of colored contacts who tried the Solotica brand
  • Would wear/buy colored contacts again, but not for everyday use
  • Wanted to enhance her look and satisfy her curiosity; worried that colored contacts would be expensive or uncomfortable for her sensitive eyes

Buying and wearing colored contacts

  • Noticed that sample product images mostly feature White women
  • Purchased colored contacts that were on sale (over 50% off)
  • The supplier site she used was easy to navigate with a good selection
  • Found her Solotica contacts comfortable for at least 8 hours

Feelings/perception of colored contacts

  • Assumes that people with dark eyes would be most interested in colored contacts
  • Believes colored contact lenses can enhance one’s confidence and beauty
  • Both men and women can get fulfillment or satisfaction from using contacts

The interviewee expressed a general curiosity and intrigue with colored contacts.

The interviewee was surprised by the special care that went into her package.

The interviewee's responses aligned with other findings showing that...

1. Price is a determining factor when making purchases
2. Contact wearers want all day comfort and moisture
3. Colored contacts are seen as "enhancing" beauty items
4. Product images often aren't race/ethnicity inclusive
5. Customer service and care can go a long way


Research Insights

Summary

73.5% of 102 survey takers need vision correction; 58.8% currently wear contacts.

Both contact lens wearers and non-wearers consider the same factors when buying products (like glasses or contacts) online:

  • Price / Quality
  • Good Reviews
  • Customer Service
  • Fast Shipping / Selection

Contact lens wearers prioritized 4 core features: Comfort, Quality, Value, Moisture

Over 55% of survey takers were at least moderately interested in colored contacts

  • Females, age 20-24 had the most interest, followed by age 25-29 and 30-34
  • Males, age 25-29 showed the most interest within their gender group
  • The main drivers of interest were curiosity, being expressive, enhancing beauty or confidence, and being able to play with one's overall look or style
  • Offering a virtual try on or trial pair might increase interest in colored contacts

Colored contacts that either enhance or change one's eye color were seen as the most socially acceptable and desirable to try.

User Goals

  • To enhance natural eye color or change it completely
  • To satisfy curiosity, express self, and/or create a new look
  • To get quality and value for reasonable prices


User Needs

  • Vision correction and specific prescriptions
  • High moisture for dry/sensitive eyes
  • Long lasting comfort
  • Feeling satisfied with purchase (no regrets)

User Pains

  • High costs
  • Having difficulty choosing the best or right brand
  • Not being able to try samples or see the product's effect
  • Lack of diverse models in product images

User Fears

  • Not getting money’s worth
  • Discomfort, dryness
  • Looking unnatural
  • Colored contacts not having the desired effect
  • Causing eye damage

User Personas

Two representative user types for the Futureyes brand

Persona 1

Persona 2


Next Steps for Futureyes

Building the Brand

Focus on attracting contact lens wearers who buy online from competitors first, then those who purchase direct from their optometrist or drug store

  • Prioritize providing quality and value at competitive prices
  • Take advantage of social media advertising (FB, Instagram influencers)
  • Relevant design patterns: online eye exam and prescription check

Keep diversity in mind to celebrate difference and avoid alienating anyone

  • Offer a wide range of models (gender, ethnicity) as sample images
  • Relevant design pattern: Ethnicity Picker

Capture curiosity and enable customers to easily try out something new

  • Have a virtual try on with stock photos and selfie upload option
  • Offer a free or low price trial pair in exchange for email sign up

Educate and empower customers with knowledge 

  • Clear up misconceptions about contact lens use and colored contacts
  • Provide step-by-step guides or a brand picker quiz to help customers figure out what type of contacts might be best for their specific needs

Consider the big picture from landing page to cart to purchase to unpackaging

  • The product itself is important, but so are reviews, customer service, shipping, and packaging to build loyalty and encourage repeat purchases
  • Provide benefits like points, small gifts (i.e. free lens case), or a starter kit

See the Futureyes website mockups in Part 2 (UX Writing & Content Design).


Images from Unsplash


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