What: SUDS is a local laundromat without a website, that wants to start providing residential laundry pickup and dropoff services for clients. I designed a laundry pickup and dropoff service for their business.
SUDS' Business Objective: SUDS wants their customers to be able to have clean clothes as easily as possible. To allow seamless pickup and dropoff services to clients that do not want to do their own laundry, to generate more revenue for SUDS.
User Problem: People don't how much it costs for a wash and dry, what payments are accepted, when's the last wash, hours, and costs of other services such as wash and fold (person drops off dirty clothes and is washed and dried by the laundromat)
Design Solution: Build out a website for a local laundromat that addresses all these unknowns
User Problem: People hate schlepping their laundry, so they always go to the closest place
Design Solution: Design a pickup and dropoff feature so the person never has to leave their house to have their clothes cleaned
User Problem: People never know if there will be an available machine upon arrival, and will have to wait
Design Solution: Design a live machine feature so people can better assess their likelihood of obtaining a machine upon arrival
*Please note this last solution has not
been designed due to time constraints
Assignment: Design and end to end mobile app demonstrating one full flow and design the responsive web experience for a few screens of the designed flow
Tools Used: Figma, Whimsical, Maze.co, aremycolorsaccessible.com
Areas of Highlight in this Case Study
The focus of business needs to have a higher financial gain, over what will appease the user but does not necessarily generate more revenue.
The focus on mobile-first, over a website, as this is likely how the user will use the product.
Mentor & Tutor Brainstorming
Interview Key Takeaways
Redesign based on test findings
Why a Laundromat?
I want to say 99% of laundromats don't have websites, simply because the owners think they wouldn't be beneficial as people simply need somewhere to do their laundry. I know as a user of laundromats, I wish I knew the answers to unknowns before going to the laundromat, and ideally have the option to compare other laundromats.
To learn why people use laundromats
To understand what people wish they knew about a laundromat before utilizing their services
To determine their pain points when it comes to doing laundry
Using a laundromat on a regular basis, due to not owning a washer or dryer, does fall into a niche audience. However, even if someone has only gone to a laundromat once or twice, the person is still able to provide insight into the user experience, and their standpoint will differ from those that have to use a laundromat on a regular basis.
I interviewed four people. Two frequented and two did not frequent laundromats.
User Interview Key Takeaways
From my interviews, I deduced there were three main problems when it came to doing laundry at a laundromat
1. People don't how much it costs for a wash and dry, what payments are accepted, when's the last wash, hours, and costs of other services such as wash and fold (person drops off dirty clothes and is washed and dried by the laundromat)
2. People hate schlepping their laundry, and therefore just go to the closest place
3. People hate having to wait to use an available machine upon arrival
An idea that I brainstormed with my tutor and mentor is the idea of having reservable washers and dryers.
Some ideas were:
-Uber-style surge pricing during peak times
-Book ahead of time like with Citibike and start paying ahead of time
-Guests would get mad that they could be standing there for a machine waiting for it to be available and someone “cuts” in front of them by reserving when they’re not even there
-Guests would feel obligated that they had to reserve in order to be able to wash their clothes
-Would the reservable machines be mixed in with the non-reservable? How would this guarantee the reservable machines wouldn’t just sit there with people actually in the laundromat ready to wash/dry?
I talked to Tom, the owner of World’s Largest Laundromat, located in Berwlyn, IL. He was
reluctant to talk to me as he initially saw me as a competitor, but I assured him not to worry
as I am based in NYC, and also this project is for a course, and not a real website.
The biggest takeaway from the interview was helping me decide not to have reservations be part of my site. He said it’s not economical for the business. If someone has a 1pm reservation, the machine would just be sitting there after 12:30pm to ensure the machine was available on time. It would also make customers mad seeing machines just sitting there when they’re ready to pay and do laundry at THAT moment.
Other noteworthy comments:
-Wash/dry/folds have increased 25%; which Tom thinks is due to stimulus checks. This has been a challenge to the business to meet the demand.
-People doing laundry themselves make
the business the most money.
-Tom doesn’t charge more at this place, despite having lots of amenities, because laundry is a blue-collar business. People save money where they can, so businesses aren’t able to charge more despite having more amenities.
-Guests complain when the business is using the machines they want to use (like the super large machines). The business uses large machines for the wash/dry/fold demand.
-Tom thinks the reason most laundromats don’t have sites is that owners are mostly machine inclined and don’t know anything about creating sites. Tom’s son does his site.
-Small laundromats have to be cheap to make any money at all (to bring people in).
-Large places affect small businesses because people feel safer in larger places.
World’s Largest strengths:
-Ownership presence with himself and two sons is super helpful.
-Mechanics work around the clock. If a machine is down it’ll be fixed within 18 hours.
The persona as a whole is anyone that uses laundromats. But, my site’s direct user for whom I designed, W, lives in a high-rent area, doesn't have a car, and has some disposable income to utilize a laundry pickup and dropoff service to save time. They do not want to wait for a machine to be available and do not want to carry a heavy load of laundry to the site.
I decided to start designing mobile-first, thinking that my users will likely be using this site via their phone rather than a desktop in the majority of cases.
The initial sketches focused on all the categories that a laundromat website would need to fulfill the user needs.
Testing with Maze.co
I worked with 11 usability testers for my mid-fidelity mobile prototype.
I made the pricing clearer to distinguish. I moved the Select Your Language to the top right.
I moved the reservation info to the top of the screen and condensed the reservable times.
Responsive Page Designs
Although my focus was on mobile design, my assignment was to also design some responsive frames.
Maybe when I have more time, I'll build out the live machine feature of this app. This is another design solution for the user’s needs, and will be a good feature to demonstrate my UX skills.
I am glad that I had more practice with utilizing Figma's prototyping capabilities and learned how to set up the slides to better suit the prototyping experience for the usability tester. With more time, I would make all the screens stay in place, and not have the user scroll when choosing a pickup and dropoff delivery time.
I started showing my wireframes earlier in the process which was beneficial, but I also feel that I had a tendency to focus too much on the layout of the wireframes, and not focus enough on other UX deliverables.
Also, the boundaries within this project: Due to the fact that I had only 80 hours to complete this case study, I was not able to build out the site in its entirety, like designing the live machine pages and building out more of the UI features.
Overall, those that tested my idea liked the concept of having their laundry picked up, cleaned, and then brought back to them. This is not surprising considering we are at a point where we can get delivery for most anything, so as long as the user trusts SUDS to bring back their clothes unruined, users would be likely to utilize this feature.