What makes ASOS the leading fast fashion brand? What is it about their web experience that excites and engages users?

By performing usability tests for the fast fashion brand ASOS, I was able to evaluate their interactive models, walk-through their priority interactions, study their competitive space and guage the usability of the top site actions. I was surprised by my findings!



RESEARCH PRESENTATION DECKS for Heuristic Evaluation | Cognitive Walkthrough | Competitive Analysis | Usability Test



UX Research & Presentation: I conducted all the usability tests and created then created the final presentation decks. I compiled my final heuristic analysis report using supporting usability observations by three other usability research professionals: Gilberto Cardenas, Jennifer Du and Cindy Lee.



About the Client


ASOS is currently the largest online fast-fashion e-commerce platform (April, 2018). It is designed to target the young adult fast fashion market with up to date red carpet/high street style to e-commerce delivery loops. It employs fresh colors, clean layouts, intuitive maneuverability (for native users), location-based personalization, fashion-influencer based inventory and diversity. 



Research Overview


I chose to perform usability testing for the ASOS's desktop website  because ASOS already provides a top-tier user experiences in the fashion space and is constantly evolving to suit user needs.

Upon research, I was surprised to discover that there were cart issues, third-party integration hiccups as well as shipping and delivery pain points which could potentially elevate the ASOS web-based experience.





I performed the usability testing for ASOS's desktop website in 4 stages using the following methodologies:

  1. I used Nielsen's Ten Usability Heuristics as the barometer for heuristic evaluation in the first usability test. 
  2. I used Wharton's Cognitive Walkthrough Full Method for the second test to conduct a cognitive walkthrough.
  3. I then conducted a competitive analysis against direct competitors, indirect competitors and influencers for.
  4. Lastly, several usability tests were conducted using the remote platforms: Loop 11 (quantitative testing), Usertesting.com (qualitative testing), & MTurk (participant recruiting)


Evaluation Details

heuristic evaluation | conducted on Jan 28, 2018

TASKS EVALUATED: (1) To browse the website asos.com (2) To checkout using the ASOS student program. (3) To observe shipping and delivery process.

FINDINGS OVERVIEW:  The study surfaced one cosmetic usability problem, three minor usability problems, seven major usability problems and three severe usability problems.

OPPORTUNITY: Changes that can be categorized into better browsing and cart experience, improved error recovery and feedback, and a less intrusive shipping experience along with better third-category integration could greatly improve the ASOS's usability experience.

cognitive walkthrough | conducted on Feb 11, 2018

EVALUATION PURPOSE: This evaluation's purpose was to judge whether the user’s goals are matched by the interface.

CORE TASK EVALUATED: Find a dress (under $80) and add it to the cart.

FINDINGS OVERVIEW:  Based on the Cognitive Walkthrough Strategy as proposed by Wharton et al., I found 4 usability issues out of 24 tests that may prevent a novice user from fully enjoying the navigation of the site. I also determined that the site suffers from no major usability issues.

OPPORTUNITY: With the recommended changes in user-feedback driven location IP marking, emboldening sub-menus for clarity, "add to cart" feedback and better cart editing capabilities, ASOS has a real opportunity to bring an unparalleled & evolving shopping experience to their intended audience.

competitive analysis | conducted on Feb 26, 2018

COMPANIES EVALUATED: Direct Competitors: Boohoo, Zara, Uniqlo | Indirect Competitors: Hautelook, Gilt | Influencers: Amazon Fashion, Into the Gloss, Nordstrom, Limeroad, Norwegian Rain

FINDINGS OVERVIEW:  Recommended changes would be to improve cart-to-delivery system flow since that is the most out-of-sync experience with the current ASOS site, create diverse personas to target a larger audience base and use a landing page purely for ASOS statement of purpose and location redirection so that the viewer doesn't start by getting too distracted with graphics and content and not pay attention to the location redirection prompt.

OPPORTUNITY: Most direct and indirect competitors have a clear navigational structure that allows clarity in user location, they also have stronger "add to cart" feedback, have quick buy options upon hover, have seamless feedback mechanisms employed throughout the site and have strong categorization for diversity, all of which ASOS can reflect on.

user testing presentation | conducted on March 11, 2018

TASKS EVALUATED: (1) Heart an item. (2) Retrieve an item from "saved" page. (3) Add an item to cart. (4) Delete an item from cart. (5) Watch a video on product description page.

TOOLS: Loop 11 (quantitative testing), Usertesting.com (qualitative testing), & MTurk (participant recruiting)

PARTICIPANTS: Female & Male 18-40 | Lives in US, UK, Europe, Australia (Majority), rest of the world | Shops fast fashion online | Fast Chrome browser on a decent internet connection (Loop 11 restriction)

FINDINGS OVERVIEW:  The study surfaced four positive findings, two negative findings and four insights.

INSIGHTS: Most people's mental model of a heart on an image means "to love" or "to like" something. Retrieval of saved items was highly instinctual. Videos are highly visible. They also affect users during decision making. Adding to cart functionality is glitchy. Deleting an item from cart overwhelmingly surfaced as a major pain point. "Add to cart" feedback is incredibly minimalistic, often disallowing user gratification. Most people prefer search to browsing. Wishlists work.


What I Learned


Through this research process, I learned how to hone in on usability problems using several different methods. I learned that qualitative testing is my preferred method of testing because it allows for detailed human observation (it isn't unusual for us to think something, say something and do something else!). I also learned that when it comes to remote or unmoderated testing, I prefer a platform like Usertesting.com because it still involves detained insights into the users behavior. 

I learned the value of a (short) cognitive walkthrough as a weekly exercise during product development. It catches problems as quickly and cheaply as possible. 

I've come to surmise that when facing a challenge to create a new or improved product/service, a competitive analysis can be a good place to start. 

Through usability testing, I learned that when designing a survey, I need to word my questions so specifically, that little is left to the user's imagination (in other words, create a line of questioning that feels organic, with small scope and evident continuity). Processing the immense amount of data collected through usability testing taught me the basics of data analysis.

Although this process was research driven, it greatly benefited my design thinking. Testing design decisions and observing the ones that hit or miss their target taught me a lot about the dangers of not testing my design during early iterations. It also taught me how important is it for the UX design team to work closely with the development team. On a different note, I learned how to create effective, client-persona-based presentation decks for information-dense topics in a user-friendly manner. With good design, everything can be made useful, desirable, accessible, credible, findable, usable and valuable!

Thank you for your attention!
-Shilpa Tripathi