UX & Multidisciplinary designer
Using human-centred design methodologies, this project was a self-exploration into the overall customer experience of using dry cleaners, and the search for opportunities for improvement.
My personal experience of doing laundry - from having a suit cleaned to being so busy with life that I needed to drag three loads of washing down to my local dry cleaners - was often faced with business hours that didn't match my schedule, an archaic cash-only paper docket system, and having limited transparency of when my washing was completed for pick-up.
Understand the household dynamic around laundry day
Understand the dry cleaning business
Explore ways to improve the overall customer experience
Explore ways to improve business operations
Unpack how customers use and interact with the service
Deliver a minimum viable product, service or solution to address the problem space
A cross-discipline human-centred design methodology was used to gain insight into the dry cleaning experience from the lens of customers and business owners across various touchpoints.
The Process of Design Squiggle by Damien Newman, thedesignsquiggle.com
Initial problem statement
Customer feedback and business analysis
Current state experience mapping
Current state service blueprint
Themes & insight development
Revised problem statement
User & task flows
Visual design and brand guide
Minimum viable product
How might we improve the overall experience for dry cleaners?
Target users are young professionals
People generally dislike chores and don't enjoy doing laundry
People lead busy lives, both young and old
The laundromat and dry cleaning experience is clunky and inconvenient
To understand the wants, needs and motivations of those who use laundry and dry cleaning services, participants were interviewed in their homes to garner a deeper, contextual understanding of their laundry process and when they would engage professional services.
6 hours of interviews
6 in-home interviews with young professionals
3 in-home interviews with families
Young professionals (typically a household of two people) have a system that works well enough for them, only on occasion using a dry cleaning service for more formal outer wear or winter wear
Some people have adopted a 'reactionary' approach, due to being too busy
Additional services such as alterations are done in spare time over the weekend
Families typically washed 6-12 loads a week, which topped over 5 hours a week, though rarely used laundry services to supplement the workload
There was often a feeling of never being 'on top' of laundry
Chores in general cuts into valuable family or leisure time
Although their clothes were washed, people using services were often left feeling as though the business did not align with their expectations of modern businesses and interactions
To better understand the laundry and dry cleaning business and how they might be perceived by customers while identifying pain points, many businesses were assessed against a number of measures, including:
Many businesses are still 'cash-only'
Business trading hours often don't align with the modern worker and their busy schedule
The paper docketing system is still used by many businesses
Most smaller businesses don't offer delivery services due to the cost, resources and infrastructure required
Businesses that do offer delivery services typically require a minimum spend for delivery and only operate with a certain radius
The landscape mainly consists of smaller, independant and family run businesses
While most services are offered, stores often outsource services that cannot be done 'in-house'
Narrowing the area of focus, research was required to help identify pain points from the perspective of both the user and business lens.
HMW provide convenience for busy participants using dry cleaning services so that they can clean their items when it suits their schedule?
HMW remove the need for participants to interrupt their weekend to complete washing and dry cleaning chores so that they can focus on enjoying the weekend?
HMW modernise outdated dry cleaning business operations for owners so that they can continue to grow and offer streamlined services and experiences to their customers?
HMW decrease the time needed for cleaning clothes for participants so that they no longer feel 'reactive' when it comes to laundry day?
Synthesized findings and insights from research, including user and stakeholder interviews, were used to direct and inform ideation exercise workshops to generate ideas to help resolve participant and business owner pain points.
8 topline concepts generated
3 detailed concept boards created
1 idea brought into the prototyping & testing stage
3 rounds of usability testing with various customers
A door-to-door laundry valet service allowing users to outsource their laundry chores to match their schedule, from the convenience of their smartphone using an app.
The solution also helps smaller laundry businesses by allowing them to outsource delivery services without having to invest heavily in technology, infrastructure and extra staff, with little cost to the business.
Smartphone app and responsive website booking system
Customers can spend more time doing what they love
A delivery schedule better suited for busy customers
Low cost delivery solution for existing businesses, allowing for growth and increased sales
When starting the project, a number of initial biases and half-baked solutions confused and diluted the UX process, looking only to justify my own ideas and solutions. I quickly learned to trust the process and research, no matter how ambiguous, to eventually pave the way for a tried and tested resolution.
© 2021 Brendan Simmonds. All rights reserved.