Assignment brief for junior designers, fall 2021

Assignment: Beautiful tomorrow is circular

Disclaimer: Sammal does not represent any of Reaktor’s clients or any real-life company. The described situation and the company are completely fictional. You own the rights to your solution and Reaktor cannot use the solutions in any other way than evaluating applications.

Introduction

Sammal has approached Reaktor as they are looking for an agency partner to help with their design needs. They would like to see a proposal, which showcases Reaktor’s expertise and approach. You are part of the team, who is responsible for making the proposal. The client seems to be very eager to hear about our approach and is open to challenge their thinking. Now it’s our time to wrap up the offer. 

The proposal consists of three parts: One is focused on developing new services, the other on user experience and the third on visual design.

For your application, CHOOSE ONE ASSIGNMENT out of the three options (service / user experience / visual design) below and provide an answer to that one. You can choose the assignment freely, but it’s advisable to choose the one which best corresponds to your skills and aspirations.

If you have questions about the assignment, you can send us email at juniors@reaktor.com

Background

Sammal is a premium Finnish fashion company that is focused on everyday luxury. The company was established in 2010 and it produces fashionable but timeless outfits and accessories for both men and women. They have their own design team in Finland and the production happens in the EU area.

Over the past 10 years, Sammal has become a well known brand in the Nordics. The success factors are timeless design, high quality fabrics and taking sustainability into consideration by focusing on environmental and societal responsibility. This means that Sammal is investing in local production using the minimum amount of water in the supply chain and renewable energy. When it comes to the fabrics, Sammal is both reusing and recycling materials. The collections are released at a moderate pace, meaning once a year.

Recently, Sammal has upgraded their mission: “Beautiful tomorrow is circular”. From the organisation’s point of view this means seeking new ways to embed circular economy principles: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems. From customers’ point of view it’s all about emotionally durable outfits and new ways to keep them circulating.

Sammal’s growth strategy is to seek new revenues through global scale eCommerce. The market position of Sammal is very promising as it is a well known brand in Scandinavia. They also have resellers in various big cities, such as Paris, London, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Milan. Outside of the EU their name is still unknown. They already have a working online shop, but it is to be either updated or totally renewed.

Assignment for:

SERVICE DESIGN

As a service designer your task is to take a customer centered approach and compose 3-6 slides for the offer in the equivalent 3-4 hours.

To ensure the future success Sammal has decided to go fully circular. This leads to rethinking their current processes and also enables new business opportunities. Sammal’s R&D has identified that the most viable potential comes through extending the lifespan of the clothes. This can be done by focusing on the following three R’s: 

  1. Reuse
    Reuse by another consumer of discarded product which is still in good condition and fulfills its original function.
  2. Repair
    Restore an old product and bring it up to date by repairing or maintaining  
  3. Rethink
    Making the product’s use more intensive by re-thinking the product as a service 

The Reaktor team is composing the offer and has decided to delve deeper into the circularity themes and possibilities by doing some quick & dirty customer interviews for the proposal. Team aims to showcase their expertise by presenting some initial insights and views in the offer, even before the project and the actual service design phase would start. Your task is to deliver the following parts for the proposal and put together 3–6 slides in PDF format.

As a service designer your task is to take a customer centered approach by focusing on the current and potential customers and conduct a small scale qualitative research and draw a more specified customer journey based on the key findings.

1) Investigate the value to be gained through the 3 R’s

Your first task is to gather initial insights by doing some preliminary customer research to gain the understanding about what would be the most appealing direction to take from the customer perspective. You can choose methods and target users freely, but your team estimates that you shouldn’t spend too much time and effort on research at the proposal stage. E.g. two or three short 15–20 min interviews might be enough for moving forward. Put the key insights together and select the one of the three R’s for further development.

2) Ideate and visualise the service from the customer perspective

The chosen R in mind, ideate and visualise a new service for Sammal as part of the proposal. This can be visualised in various forms; it can be a storyboard, customer journey, mapping the user flow or creating a wireframe of the service. The main idea is to describe the service from the customer perspective and keep the customer experience as high level as possible.

Familiarise yourself with the possible ways of visualising the task and be ready to argue for the chosen method. Also, remember that in the proposal stage, the client doesn’t expect ready made concepts, but rather ideas that provoke their own thinking and show that we can think from the customer value’s perspective.

3) Changes from Sammal’s perspective

Think about the needed changes from the organization perspective. List 2-6 bullet points to be included into Sammal’s roadmap and make them into one slide to be included into the offer. 

– – –

Prepare to present and explain your approach and own thinking in about 20 minutes. The following questions can help you to explain your work:

  • What kind of thinking led to this approach?
  • What are the central aspects of the approach?
  • Who would you collaborate with if this was a real-life situation?
  • If the client would give a go-ahead for this project how would the work be arranged and what would the day-to-day work look like?
  • Speculate – which ducks need to be in row for a successful launch? What pitfalls to avoid?

Do’s

  • Be ready to speculate and don’t worry too much about not having the full picture – normally you wouldn’t be working on something like this on your own 🙂
  • Choose an approach and deliverables that describes your thinking, ways of working, and workmanship.
  • Provide at least some concrete, tangible examples of a viable solution.
  • You can keep the detail level simpler / in a more general level than it would be in a real-life situation.

Don’ts 

  • Don’t try to be exhaustive (this task can’t be solved thoroughly in a given timeframe), but paint enough of a picture to describe your work and thinking.
  • Don’t spend more than the equivalent of 3–4 hours on this.

Assignment for:

USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN

Your team at Reaktor is preparing an offer for Sammal for renewing their online shop. As mentioned in the Background section above, sustainability is a key part of Sammal’s strategy, but they are wondering whether they are a bit behind competition, and are hoping to hear novel ideas on what could be tomorrow’s way of allowing users to make more informed shopping decisions.

To help your team get forward,

1) Investigate how 2-3 of Sammal’s competitors have integrated environmental & social responsibility into their shopping flows. Based on your research, identify key moments in the flow that Sammal should also pay attention to when renewing their online shop. Explain what these key moments are and why you think they are important.

2) Make a draft of a user flow in the Sammal online shop that addresses the above-mentioned key moments regarding sustainability and any other insights you may have. As this is just an initial UX concept for the offer, design one flow around a single garment: a unisex t-shirt.

Feel free to speculate and assume:

In real life, you would have a team around you, and access to Sammal’s current online shop, their users and the client for more information.

  • You can assume that the Sammal webshop flow consists of
  • A front page with a search and some filtering options
  • A category page (e.g. “shirts”)
  • A product page with some details + add to cart
  • A shopping cart
  • Choosing delivery option
  • You can finish the flow at checkout (so leave the payment out)

You can use some of the following “ecometers” that the client has shared with you when thinking about sustainability:

  • Material reuse rate
  • Nearby production
  • Use of water in the supply chain
  • Recycling: reusing old models
  • Recycling possibilities (bring your old clothes here etc.)
  • How often new collections are released?

Do’s

  • Focus strictly on the flow for purchasing a unisex t-shirt.
  • Stick to benchmarking 2–3 webshops.
  • Present your solution as a flow (i.e. series of images or a low-fi prototype) for mobile use from the point of view of the user. Show us what the user does.
  • If designing the entire purchase flow from selecting the product to checkout is too much, you can also focus on just some parts of the flow more carefully – just be sure to demonstrate user interaction.
  • Use realistic data instead of placeholders.

Don’ts

  • Don’t spend too much time on the task. Max 2-4 hours should be enough.
  • Don’t spend too much time on polished visuals. Wireframes are enough.
  • Don’t actually buy anything – you can finish benchmarking and your own flow before a payment option is selected.

Deliverables checklist

  1. Explain on 1-2 slides (PDF), what your chosen key moments from task 1 (integrating sustainability to shopping flow) are and what kind of thinking and process led to identifying them?
  2. For the user flow, use the tool(s) that suit you and the task best. Hand drawn sketches and digital prototypes are equally interesting for us.
  3. In addition, on 1-3 slides (PDF):
    • Outline, how much time did you use on the different tasks.
    • Describe your design process, key insights and what kind of thinking led you to designing the particular user flow.
    • Explain how you would begin to validate your assumptions if the client chose to invest in this project? What would be the concrete next step?

Assignment for:

VISUAL DESIGN 

Your team at Reaktor is preparing an offer for Sammal for renewing their online shop. As mentioned in the Background section above, sustainability is a central part of Sammal’s strategy, and they want to be a trailblazer in offering transparency on the environmental impact of their products in their online shop. As a part of initial visual exploration, your team decided to include first drafts of a PPD (product page design) to the offer.  With the preliminary product page designs you wanted to also inspire Sammal on how their brand could look like in the future.

Your task is to design a visual concept for the product page, that includes the following:

  • A chosen product (say, a T-shirt)
  • Product’s image, name, brand
  • Product description and material composition
  • Selection of size, colours
  • Price (is it on a discount or not? How does it look if it is?)
  • Ecometers 
  • CTA (call to action) to buy the product

You can use some of the following ecometers for the Product details:

  • Material reuse rate 
  • Nearby production 
  • Use of water in the supply chain 
  • Recycling: reusing old models 
  • Recycling possibilities (bring your old clothes here etc.) 
  • How often new collections are released? 

Design a layout for: Desktop and Mobile use.

Below you can find a UI draft of the product page, that represents its main functionality but not all the details. You can (and encouraged to) bring your own thinking into the layout and UI designs. 

Do’s

  • Design the product page layout and UI for Desktop and Mobile use.
  • You can benchmark competitors
  • Be ready to explain your choice of visual direction. 
  • Use realistic data instead of placeholders.
  • Choose the tools that suit you and the task best. Figma, Sketch or XD are often the most common tools for the task. 
  • You are also welcome to bring some life into the designs and showcase the solution as an interactive prototype, but it’s optional.

Don’ts

  • Spend too much time on the task. Max 3-4 hours should be enough. 
  • Don’t design other pages besides the one mentioned in the task

Deliverables

  • Product page layout and UI for Desktop & Mobile
  • 1-2 slides to explain your choice of visual direction (including for example reasoning behind color, image and typography choices)