Specialized User Research

We were engaged by Specialized Bicycle Company to not only migrate their catalog to a new platform, but to optimize their online storefront and ensure the shopping experience for their users matched the high-end quality of the Specialized product. This began with an extensive exercise in research of their existing users.

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The Set-up

Using a card-sorting exercise, a pool of just over one hundred participants contributed data to the survey. From a key performance perspective, I was most interested in how much emphasis did gender apply to users shopping for a bicycle. A survey was completed to create segments of data based on responses and those segments were used to help bracket our data and help steer conclusions toward a strategy for the information architecture.

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The tests

Through incentives arranged through the client for user participation, we gathered an impressive amount of data for quick turnaround study, with at 70/30 split of male to female participants. This allowed us to utilize the data with confidence and define strategies for the catalog architecture.

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The Results

The results showed that users considered bicycles as gender neutral by a large amount. As an example, 80% of users paired a general Trail Bikes category with a gender specific category such as "Women's Trail Bikes". This pattern repeated itself with all categories of bikes. Overwhelmingly, users were shopping for bikes based on product attributes before considering gender specific profiles. The data also showed that this pattern did not appear as strong when considering apparel items such as shoes or jerseys. 

This test helped us define a strategy on how to structure the catalog and provide a navigation that caters to users initial needs and desires without segmenting product choices before the user has made their initial category choice.