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Supporting online clothing shopping

Helping shoppers make the best choice selecting clothes.

Client                                Timeline                                   Tools                                                   Team                                                   Platform               Roles

University of Toronto       October-December 2021       Canva •Figma •Miro                         Maddie Osei • Andy Pharm            Web                    •Conducted diary studies •Conducted interviews

                                                                                                                                                      •Nikhil Pawar                                                                                                

Project Introduction

Have you ever wanted to buy a piece of clothing for yourself and ended up confused by all the choices? You're not alone. The variety of options when shopping for clothes online is leading to people experiencing choice fatigue. Being presented with too many options can be overwhelming and exhausting. At the back of your mind, you wonder, did I make the best choice?

The problem

Shoppers find it challenging to pick the best clothing when shopping online.

Design Challenge

How might we help shoppers make the best decision when shopping for clothes online?

This was the challenge our team had to solve. 

This project was an exploratory research. Therefore, our team would not actually design a solution but would create a set of design guidelines based on our research study. These guidelines would inform any design solutions or platforms we would create in future. 


We got to work by individually examining secondary research on this topic and then collating the results of our findings as a team.

Secondary research

The secondary research revealed that:


Customer satisfaction is influenced by the product quality, variety, price, available information about items and an easy return and delivery system.


Customer confidence in using online platforms and trusting the information they find online is important.


Customers value the convenience and time saved shopping online.


Customers care about being able to conduct online transactions  with low risk.

Research questions

Based on the problem statement and the secondary research we reviewed, our team developed 3 research questions to examine and understand shoppers behavior and attitudes when online shopping.

  1. What factors affect consumer preferences to do clothing shopping online?

  2. What factors increase customer satisfaction with an online shopping experience?

  3. What does it mean to consumers to chose suitable clothing online?

Research set-up

To answer our research question, we decided to conduct exploratory research starting with semi-structured interviews. Each of our team members conducted interviews with 4 participants. These interviews lasted for approximately 30 minutes each and was conducted either online on zoom or in person.

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Interview findings

We individually noted down themes and patterns that emerged from the interviews and used an affinity diagram to collate our findings. We were then able to group similar patterns and themes together.

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The findings were in line with findings from the secondary research. We found 8 themes in our data.  The participants highlighted the importance of  quality, convenience, and finding information about the item they wanted.

However, we wanted to develop an understanding of some of these themes.

We compiled more interview questions that could hopefully cover these themes namely: cost, expectations(perceived quality), service(delivery and return) and customer loyalty.

Secondary Interview results

We found that the participants:

1. Wanted to have the option of ethical shopping.

2. Wanted to trust the manufacturer to provide information about how products are made.

3. Participants were willing to pay more for better quality

Diary study

Our team conducted a diary study . This involved participants taking down notes daily about what they did for the duration of the study while shopping or immediately after shopping.

We developed some questions to help guide the diary study. The questions were:

1.What effect does scheduling have on shopping behavior?

2. What effect does window shopping have on choosing clothing?

3. What digital resources are used in the process of making a shopping decision?

The motivation behind this second study is to learn more about customers’ experience and habits with buying clothes online and examine the factors that influence their online shopping decisions.


Through understanding their experiences, we will be able to design guidelines which would help shoppers choose the best clothing online.

Study set-up

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  • The study was conducted over the period of a week

  • Participants were  required to fill a questionnaire daily.

  • The diary study asked 7 open-ended questions related to understanding the participants' motivations to shop, shopping habits, their motivation to return items and their information seeking behavior before purchasing an item.

  • We asked 8 multiple choice questions to find out how often participants shopped, how long they spent shopping and how often they returned clothing items. 

Results of diary study

We each conducted 1 diary study and analyzed the findings by identifying themes and patterns. Then, as a group we put all our findings into an affinity diagram and grouped similar ideas together.

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Key themes

3 key themes emerged from the diary study

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Synthesis & design guidelines

Based on the findings , our team collaborated on a set of design guidelines for creating any products to support online clothing shopping. These guidelines, when used to develop a platform, will help to support shoppers in choosing the best clothing for themselves.

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Research poster

Our team created a poster presentation to summarize our research and present our findings.

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Lessons learnt

1. Asking good questions is hard. Our team had to rework our diary study questions a few times because the way we phrased our original questions would lead to only surface level answers and we wanted to dig deep to understand the participants behavior and attitudes.

2. Teamwork makes everything easier. Coordinating interviews and diary studies with various participants and consolidating our data together was a bit challenging. Having a plan on when we would meet and review how our research was going helped to make sure we were on the same page. Good communication and planning helps make research and designing a smooth process.

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