shelley huang | design

Case study | Massdrop website redesign


This is a case study our team did for course HCI&UX in CMU SV. We're assigned to redesign Massdrop for Gen-X. Through the process, I learned analyzing the brand, interviewing and recruiting audience, rapid prototyping, and usability testing to see how we can improve. 

Type: 3 People Team8 weeks
Skills: Brand analysis, User Research, Usability Testing, Interface Design
Role: UX Designer


Why Gen-X?

Who are they? Generation X, or Gen X, is the demographic cohort following the baby boomers and preceding the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use birth years ranging from the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s. 

Why do digital service providers need to pay attention to them? Research shows that Gen-X will be the principal holders of wealth for decades before millennials get their turn. And there all other unusual traits: loyal to brands, digitally driven, decision makers... etc. 

What is Massdrop?

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 5.25.15 PM.png

Massdrop is a site that lets you buy brand new pricey men's clothing and accessories for consistently less than retail. Active users vote for what product they would like to see on a "drop." Once the poll closes, Massdrop will reach out to the brand of the top-voted product. Massdrop presumably gets the goods for cheaper wholesale, making a tidy profit in the process.  I also analyzed the brand value.

Emotional value Massdrop wants to bring to users


Massdrop x Gen-X

Currently, the target audience for Massdrop is male aging around 18-30. It's a good target - the millennials are digital savvy and price sensitive. But why neglecting Gen-X, who are already wealthy and also price sensitive?

We did a couple of usability testing with gen-x for Massdrop current design. Below are some quotes from Gen-X:

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 5.19.31 PM.png

Issues for Gen-X

Most of them haven't heard about this service. Gen-X is familiar with Groupon, Kickstarter, or other crowdfunding services. They care about price, so Massdrop is a striking finding for them. Based on the feedback, there is 3 key takeaway:

  1. Hard to understand the website and its welcome message.
  2. Hard to understand the user flow.
  3. Spend a lot of time finding solid reviews.

Persona + Empathy Map

Besides the usability testing for Massdrop, I also conducted ten interviews with Gen-X and 20 questionnaire survey to get more profound insights.

The communication in interviews helped me understand certain traits they have in common, their frequently used websites, and their impression about Massdrop. From the meeting, I learned that female Gen-X have more power to make the buying decision - either for home, children, or husband, which make them an excellent target for Massdrop to expand service. 

I also created an empathy map to get more profound insights for Gen-X using Massdrop. A big issue for Gen-X will be currently Massdrop is member-only - which requires the user to sign up before they know what deals are ongoing. For female Gen-X, now, there are tiny drops for them. This would result in a wrong impression of using Massdrop. Also, the current user flow is confusing to them. 

Scoping the problem

Since we only have 4-5 weeks working on the user interview, interface design, usability testing and iteration, we decided to focus on improving the user flow - which includes the homepage redesign, and the structure of the website.


Solution 1 | Site Map

Currently, the structure is having multiple independent communities with discovery, drop, talk, and poll. The users have to go to each community to browse current drops unless they subscribe to the community. From the standpoint of creating a forum for hobbyists to gather and discuss trending products, it makes sense. However, from the usability testing with Gen-X, the current structure frustrates them and makes it hard to find drops they want.

Separated community pages.  

To motivate the users to find drops they like and support them, I chose to use the top 2 critical components of Massdrop - Drops, and Community, at the highest levels.


Solution 2 | Homepage

Massdrop requires the user to sign up to view all the deals. The reason to do that is "Being a member only website allows them to engage more with the users and also bring products that are most appealing to them." However, from the usability testing with Gen-X, we got quite a few feedback that they want to learn more about the website and deals before joining it. 

Therefore, our solution to that is having more information about how Massdrop works and also showing some sample deals for new users.

Below is the current design

massdrop hp.png

Adding more information about how it works


I did a little touch up on the layout and also the category grids. I feel like the previous ones are too dark, so it's hard for users to browse the images.

I also made a simple flow about how to join a drop. Some feedback we had were Gen-X don't know what does drop mean and too hard to imagine the user journey, which made them hesitant to join this platform.


Giving new users a sense of what drops are available

From the usability testing, we heard complaints about too little information before asking users to join. Gen-x like categories shown on the landing page. It's good to know what they can find on this website. 

So I create another sample drop page. By clicking on the categories will direct the users to another page showing sample drops. They can learn what brands are available on Massdrop.

That's a Wrap

This is an exciting project to work on because of a. I don't know Massdrop before this b. I don't know much about Gen-X. I had lots of fun doing market research of Massdrop and also interviewing Gen-X. If I have more time to work on this project, I would want to talk to the current target audience - male millennials to learn their impression and thinking about the contemporary design and flow. And combining these two groups' feedback to see if there's anything in common, which would be a proper direction for Massdrop to improve the user experience further.