Hi,I am Yibing, an IDM student at NYU.

UX / E-commerce Little Einstein

Class Project





Little Einstein was formerly a beloved toy shop in Park Slope Brooklyn that sold STEAM DIY kits (Science, Technology, Enginieering, Math, Art+Design), but the storefront was too expensive and the shop closed in 2012.  Based on the shop owner’s needs, we decide to convert the store to online only  focused on technology and electronics products geared towards kids ages 4 – 15.



Create a functional online toy store that reflects STEAM Philosophy of Little Einstein.

Maintain an online community where parents and kids can hang out and share their unique experiences.



As one of 3 designers on this project, I collaborated with 2 other UX designers in every phase of design process — ideation, user research, prototyping and user testing. Also I created paper prototypes, final mockups and prototype video.



Sketch (Wireframes), Invision (Prototypes)



In order to distribute our time rationally and make every task organized, our team made a time schedule before we started the project. 







Before doing user research, We did the first version brainstorm based on the requirements of the shop owner. We took down several concepts that can be used in the process of building this websites.



After doing user research, we did our second version brainstorm to think of all possible functions our online toy store can include.




Based on the user research in the context inquiry period, we developed 3 personas that represent our target users. This helped in making information architecture and designing empathically.





We conducted the contextual inquiry in two stores, Toy Tokyo and Toy R Us. We interviewed 10 customers and 2 shopkeepers based on the question lists:

For Shopkeepers:

1. How do you categorize your toys?

2. What do you think about community vibe?

3. Do the store has membership or holiday discount?

4. Do customers usually ask salesman for personal recommendation?

For Customers:

1. Do you feel confused about the categories here? Can you easily find the toy you want?

2. What do you think about community vibe?

3. Which way do you prefer when you want to buy toys? Online or offline? Why?

4. Do you need personal guide?

The details of the answers are here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1D9TluJCKhCOnReiwTo46Yb5ABFzUD6CsRXobWLmHZf0/edit?usp=sharing



1. Clear categories and multi-filter system.

2. Theme events and paired books.

3. Membership, promotion code and sales.

4. Personal recommendation based on big data.

5. Live chat for personal customer service(including customized recommendations).

6. Community forum which is used for sharing experience of playing toys.                    




In order to categorize various STEAM products clearly and orderly, we collected 50 items which belong to STEAM toys from different online toy stores and did the card sorting in two ways.

In the first stage, we did it by type. We divided them into robots, art, electronics, math & science, and construction.

In the second stage, we did it by age. At first we did it by 4-7, 7-10, 10-15. But since we consider that most toys’ age intervals are not closed, so we changed it to to 4+, 8+ and 11+.













Because we want to check some main functions such as shopping and payment before doing the clickable prototype, we interviewed 10 people and let them test our paper prototype. The question and problem list are here:






After taking notes, we concluded five main problems based on the user test. Most of the users mentioned that our paper prototype didn’t have check out page, so we added the check out page in order to provide complete payment experience for the users. Also based on the other main problems, we added live chat button on each item detail page, and added the all products button on the product list. Besides, we added track package page and interaction of applying promo code.







Based on our paper prototype and user testing 1, we made low-fi prototypes based on the main functions and tasks. The prototype includes 5 main functions to meet both client and target users’ needs: item navigation, shopping process, log in and account, forum for interest groups and customer service.

The clickable prototype’s link is here: https://invis.io/4GG11IZKEPW



Since we wanted to know if our prototype meets users’ requirements, we did the second user testing. We invited 5 target users, both adults and children to do the test. In order to easily test all our functions, we made 4 tasks for the user test:

Task 1: Find a toy for your 8-year-old son.

Task 2: Join a group

Task 3: View your account

Task 4: Seek for customer service


Here are 5 user flows for each tested user:


We concluded 4 main problems based on the 2nd user test: 

1. The website didn’t have the wishlist page

2. Lack of link to customer service page

3. Can’t search items

4. Can’t click the checkout button on shopping cart page



When we already have iterated the prototype and fixed all the problems from user tests, we made our final version of prototype that not only caters to users’ needs but also meets users’ using habits.

The clickable prototype’s link is here: https://invis.io/4GG11IZKEPW






This project has clear topic and requirements, so it’s easy for us to define the theme. But we found that it’s difficult to meet both client and target users’ needs, especially when those needs conflict with each other. Therefore, it’s important to do the user research and define the problems, then balance their importance for client and make compromises. Besides, I think we can improve the contextual inquiry next time, for example, quantify our questionnaire and make comparative analysis based on various toy stores, so that it would be easier for us to conclude the pain points and find solutions.

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