I head up User Experience for Walgreens E-Commerce. Our group is responsible for all of the digital experiences across the company – web, mobile, and in-store kiosks.
Today we’re going to talk about one of our major lines of business, Photo. As you can see, we offer many kinds of photo products. We’re going to focus on the most basic of those, prints. I’ll tell you a little about some of the challenges we face, and some UX lessons we’ve learned.
People have been printing photos for a long time, but the industry has changed a lot. Back in the day, the print WAS the photo. You had to print just to see it.
Then as digital SLRs and other high-end digital cameras became available, you might print an especially good photo that you took.
We did a similar study this year and only 2% of people said memory card was full – so we’re making progress. But what a lot of these reasons have in common is that they’re optional – you don’t really need to do it. You can see the photo without printing it. You’ll get around to it whenever.
With the explosion in digital photography, we’re taking more photos than ever, but printing less of them.
Let’s talk about the usual way of printing digital photos – at a high level.
A little more specific, here’s how it looks at Walgreens.com. This is a pretty standard setup, but it’s arguably a lot of steps just to order some prints.
The site generally works fine, and drives a lot of revenue, but there are sometimes issues. Some of them are technical.
But there are other comments that are more about the experience we designed, in the interest of our business goals. We sell a lot more than prints.
But what about now? Most of us are walking around with pretty nice cameras in our pockets.
So what happens when we take the process we were just talking about to mobile? Some of those issues are intensified, other new ones pop up. So the question becomes, are the barriers to printing bigger than the benefit?
This is a totally non-scientific chart, but illustrates an important concept. Photos have a great immediate impact – but did you even notice how we gradually lose interest in them? That is, until they’re old enough to have some novelty or documentation purpose. So we want to get people printing before they go too far down the hill.
What do I do with this photo I took of a guy in Target, wearing pajama pants while shopping for pajama pants? Or this unintentionally ironic bookmark my son made? Are these masterpieces destined to stay digital-only?
Our answer is something we call QuickPrints
Essentially what QuickPrints does, is take out several steps. We ask for the exact information we need, no more or less. We also auto-populate field when appropriate, and geo-locate the nearest store.
The value isn’t just what we put in, but also what we left out.
Another philosophy we’re going forward with is that we don’t have to own everything we interact with. Our photo app now includes photo editing – for which we integrated Aviary. By the way, edited photos are more likely to be printed.
We’ve talked about the photos that are sitting on everyone’s phones, but when people do upload them, where do they go?
If you don’t believe it, it’s all over the media as well.
So we also decided to make it very easy to grab your photos directly from Facebook .And in a way-behind-the-scenes note, we don’t actually get your photos and send them from Facebook. Our stores just get the URLs. This is a bandwidth savings.
But then we took it a step further with something called PrintWorthy. Printworthy allows you to create a print and bring along some of the social aspect of Facebook – with the description, likes, and comments right on the print.
The interface is about curation. We try to serve up the photos that are most “printworthy” through various filters.
The actual printing is similar to QuickPrints.
The huge added benefit is the sharing that happens automatically when someone buys a print.
Walgreens Photo Goes Beyond Multi-channel John Yesko @jyeskoProprietary & Confidential, Property of Walgreen Co.
Customer comments – technical barriers“Photo upload stalled twice. First the the upload barwent to gray, second time the bar kept running, buteven after 30 minutes, nothing.”
Customer comments – navigation barriers“The photo section places more emphasis on makingalbums and photo books. All I was trying to do wassubmit an order for prints only. Because of the toomany options I had a little trouble finding just the basicordering prints section.”“Clean up the site. A lot of links and buttons allover the place.”
Mobile barriers to printing • Every step is slower, especially data input • More chance of interruption / short windows of time • Security concerns • Technical know-how (getting the photos “out of the phone”)
Value of a photo over time Value Now Way in the future Time Source: Unknown / made up
QuickPrints from mobile appWhat we kept: What we left out:• Picking photos • Registration• Selecting size • Login• Choosing store • Composing multi- (geo-located) photo products• Entering personal info • “Saving” images in (pre-populated) account • Online payment
UX takeawaySpeed = good experience • Convenience can trump a full feature set • What we leave out can be as important as what we put in
UX takeawayConsider what tasks can(and should) be doneon a mobile device • Focus on mobile-optimized features
UX takeawayWe don’t have to own every partof the ecosystem