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In 2021 Q2 & Q3, we initated and completed a Three-Year Plan for Amazon Assistant (AA), the browser extension of Amazon shopping service.

 

As the only UX Designer for Amazon Assistant, I was responsible for ideation, prototyping, creating and presenting the Three-Year Plan Design Appendix for leadership review. I also collaborated with a UX Researcher to conduct a user study and worked on research analysis.

BACKGROUND

About Amazon Assistant

Amazon Assistant began as an experiment in 2012 to determine if Amazon could place a feature upstream to the customer to reduce disintermediation by Google and encourage direct traffic to Amazon. We started the project by creating a browser extension that provided contextual product matching on thousands of domains and search query matching to drive customers back to Amazon. In 2016, we launched a stand-alone AA Android app to extend our contextual product matching to Android mobile customers. 

Big Change in 2021

In June 2021, Apple announced that they would be bringing Safari desktop extensions to iOS15 (available Fall 2021). To enable a Safari extension on iOS, customers must first download an app from the app store. Additionally, W3C announced the formation of the WebExtensions Community Group, which is a collaboration between Google, Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla created to align on a common vision for web extensions.

In reaction to this big news, Amazon Assistant team decided to create an iOS browser extension, which will be integrated with the Amazon app.

About Amazon Assistant

Amazon Assistant began as an experiment in 2012 to determine if Amazon could place a feature upstream to the customer to reduce disintermediation by Google and encourage direct traffic to Amazon. We started the project by creating a browser extension that provided contextual product matching on thousands of domains and search query matching to drive customers back to Amazon. In 2016, we launched a stand-alone AA Android app to extend our contextual product matching to Android mobile customers. 

Big Change in 2021

In June 2021, Apple announced that they would be bringing Safari desktop extensions to iOS15 (available Fall 2021). To enable a Safari extension on iOS, customers must first download an app from the app store. Additionally, W3C announced the formation of the WebExtensions Community Group, which is a collaboration between Google, Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla created to align on a common vision for web extensions.

In reaction to this big news, Amazon Assistant team decided to create an iOS browser extension, which will be integrated with the Amazon app.

Diary Studies

Collaborated with a UX Researcher, we spent two month conducting 2 diary studies with 50 participants in US, UK, CA to understand how customers currently leverage shopping assistance throughout their shopping journey on and off Amazon, and to uncover opportunities to provide shopping assistance that makes the shopping process more efficient or more enjoyable for customers

  • Diary mission 1: Magic Button Study (Generative) 

Probe on where they want or need assistance throughout the shopping journey. This piece would be more exploratory, where they share moments where they wish they had an assistant that could do x, y or z for them.

  • Diary mission 2: Shopping with assistance (Deep dive into existing solutions) 

Understand how well existing modes of shopping assistance meet customers’ needs, and where they have unmet needs. 

Customer Frustration Database

Besides the diary studies, I also browsed the Amazon Shopping Customer Frustration Database and found 70+ existing customer frustrations related to help seeking throughout their shopping journey.

Journey Map

To better organize and analyze all the findings from diary studies and customer frustration database, I created a customer shopping journey map. 

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Here are some of the key insights:

  • Customers get shopping ideas from social media, video websites/apps, visual inspiration websites/apps (such as Pinterest), and also friends and family. However, there's a gap between getting shopping ideas and finding the right products.

  • Customers evaluate products based on the information on google search results, retailer websites/apps, brand websites/apps, social media, articles & blogs, video websites/apps, and also with the help from friends and family. However, it's hard to organize and keep track of all the information, and there's no way to easily collaborate with others on the product evaluation and selection.

High-level Objectives

Analyzing the research findings with my manager and the product managers, we sought opportunities to improve customers' shopping experience, and evaluated whether Amazon Assistant is the best platform for those opportunities. Eventually, we concluded a high-level objective for Amazon Assistant Three-Year Plan:​

Help customers organize their on and off-Amazon shopping journeys and simplify product res