Laundry Day

CLIENT

Self exploration

MY ROLE

UX & Multidisciplinary designer

SUMMARY

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.

THE PROBLEM

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.

PROJECT GOALS

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

THE APPROACH

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

squiggle

The Process of Design Squiggle by Damien Newman, thedesignsquiggle.com

Assumptions

Discover

Define

Develop

Deliver

Assumption mapping

Initial problem statement

Research plan

Discussion guide

User interviews

Service safari

Observations &
contextual inquiry

Customer feedback and business analysis

Competitor analysis

Stakeholder mapping

Current state experience mapping

Current state service blueprint

Affinity mapping

Themes & insight development

Personas

Revised problem statement

Ideation workshops

Concept cards

Feature analysis

Prioritisation frameworks

User & task flows

Card sorting

Initial sketches

Lofi wireframes

Prototyping

Usability testing

User feedback

Iterations


Hifi wireframes

Visual design and brand guide

Minimum viable product

ASSUMPTIONS

INITIAL HMW STATEMENT

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

EDIT_Clothes

DISCOVERY

Understanding the users

THE APPROACH

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.

FINDINGS

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

FINAL_Disco-2

DISCOVERY

Understanding the business

THE APPROACH

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:

  • instore & online customer experience
  • customer reviews
  • trading hours
  • service and product offerings
  • delivery service/s

FINDINGS

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'

FINAL_2_Biz_Disco

DEFINE

THE APPROACH

Narrowing the area of focus, research was required to help identify pain points from the perspective of both the user and business lens.

INSIGHTS

Dry cleaners' trading hours often don't align with the modern worker and their busy schedule, forcing the participants to visit the business over the weekend.

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?

Often, smaller dry cleaning businesses are still cash-only and run 'analogue' operations, including a paper docketing system.

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?

Due to life's ongoing demands, participants often feel 'reactionary' when it comes to laundry, stating they feel they are 'never on top of it', washing clothes when they need certain items.

HMW decrease the time needed for cleaning clothes for participants so that they no longer feel 'reactive' when it comes to laundry day?

FINAL_Define

DEVELOP

THE APPROACH

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.

OUTCOMES

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

V3_Final_Develop

DELIVER

THE RECOMMENDATION 

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

LD_lower-hero_Final

KEY LEARNINGS

Leave bias at the door

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.

Let's connect.

Email   LinkedIn

Let's connect.

email   linkedin

Let's connect.

email   linkedin

Let's connect.

email   linkedin

Let's connect.

email   linkedin

© 2021 Brendan Simmonds. All rights reserved.