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2-week sprint • At General Assembly

Designing Loading Hardware, a hardware e-commerce store for DIY enthusiasts


April 2017


UX Designer


A 2-week sprint that I independently researched, designed, tested, iterated and present a clickable e-commerce site prototype. I was working on ‘Loading Hardware’ and a 75-item inventory to organise and design around. I identified a differentiating selling point and created a website with an inspiration-finding factor.

UX Techniques
User research, user journeys, information architecture, design studio, user flows, wireframes, prototyping and usability testing.

Sharpies, Omnigraffle and Invision.

Client Objective

Supports the local community by allowing people to order products online and have them shipped to their home, on site.

Loading Hardware has a small shop appeal and focused on hand-picked quality over quantity.

Competitive Analysis

Some key features that are consistent among sites

Whitespace Mapping

Loading Hardware’s been in business since 1985 and their mottos included service-first with expertise to help their customers out, they focused on choosing everything by hand and they are the biggest little hardware store.

It has a highly curated inventory of items that are from hand tools, power tools to utilities. They see an opportunity to serve the local community besides face-to-face customer service, and I identified competitors such as large-scale retailers, e-commerce giants and fellow local stores.


Gathering user insights

User Insights

I managed to gather some insights from Armin, who is pursuing Industrial Product Design in Austria on some of the motivations in shopping from local stores.

“It is the same — chefs going to their secret local markets getting the freshest ingredients, because they know they can’t get the same at a supermarket.”

User Journey

I was looking at a specific user journey for Yoshi while I was working on this project:

As a local resident, Yoshi is looking for inspiration for a gift for a close friend who loves to collect every type of DIY tool imaginable.

An effortless experience

Streamlined checkout process, easy & inspiring product discovery & adding a human touch

Championing the local feel

Leveraging on the white space opportunity, I aim to integrate some of the local experiences at the grain-and-mortar stores.

Information Architecture

Finding the right system for the e-commerce inventory and site

Card Sorting

After writing 75 products onto post-its, I did an open card sorting and closed card sorting to give me insight on what should be categorised together.

While working on card sorting, there are some insight that I gathered from as follows: 

Users prefer taxonomies leaning towards to descriptive & technical but tends to group objects similar by a task togetherClear distinctions between certain categories such as Hand Tools vs Power Tools (Fun fact: I’ve learnt power tools are more destructive)

Site Map

Idea Generation – DIY Kits

Inspired by meal and beauty subscription boxes, I came up with the idea of ‘DIY Kits’ — an assembly of hardware tools and supplies that creates a two way conversation between the consumer and the business.

They are curated by the store to create billions of possibilities (wood work, table making, fixing a wall, you name it)


Annotated Wireframes

You can visit the Invision Prototype that I put together for Loading Hardware here.