Academy Sports + Outdoors
Website Design, User Experience, Cross-Channel Marketing
I served as the lead Senior User Experience Analyst for Academy Sports + Outdoors 2015-17. The User Experience (UX) team led product design for Academy.com, mobile applications, and Omnichannel experiences, blending digital shopping with in-store shopping.
- employer - ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS
- timeline - 2015 - CURRENT
- Skills/Tools Used - Ecommerce, Merchandising, Usability Testing, A/B Testing, Foresee Customer Feedback, Remote Testing, Google Analytics, IBM WCS
ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY
As the Senior UX Analyst, I lead UX research and testing of designs and experiences. Through direct feedback, prototype testing, website analytics, and moderated usability testing, I have a deep understanding of the Academy customer and create projects and share reports throughout the organization to create a better Customer Experience.
Our UX team includes UX Researchers and UX Designers. Our process is agile, and incorporates SPRINT design methodologies. Our work begins with a strong understanding of the business goals, and create and test experiences with customers to make their shopping efforts easy, enjoyable, and without friction. Academy customer’s expect an easy shopping experience in-store, and our team tries to match the same expectation online.
FEATURED WORK: ACCESSIBILITY
2016 was a year of foundation building for Academy.com. Focusing on the Academy customer meant taking into consideration ALL of Academy’s customers, and there are a whole lot of different segments. One of the segments businesses and web designers often neglect are users with disabilities like poor or no vision. Luckily, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is helping organizations understand the importance of designing for this segment of users.
In 2017, the only organizations in the United States required to have fully compliant websites (WCAG 2.0) are airlines and banking. In Ireland and several other countries, all websites are required to follow similar guidelines, allowing users to always be able to listen to text on websites. Smart businesses and leaders in the US are learning to stay ahead of the trend, and get their websites to be WCAG 2.0 compliant, and share the same experience with everybody, regardless of limitations one might face.
Academy set out to recreate the foundation of Academy.com in order to follow these guidelines, which meant the team redesigned, recoded, and launched a new website over the course of 12 months, to be fully compliant in 2017.
Undergoing a full website redesign for an Ecommerce website with more than 60,000 products taught me a lot about how to test websites for Accessibility defects, work with customers with disabilities to ask questions and get user feedback, and approach website design from a more targeted view.
Part of the overall accessibility redesign project involved updates to the Global Navigation on Academy.com. The navigation lives at the top of every page on Academy’s website, and provides users a quick way to find different categories and products on the website.
- Reached goal of WCAG 2.0 compliant navigation
- Increase in Customer Satisfaction on Foresee
- Increase in Browsing Score on Foresee
UX METHODS PRACTICED AT ACADEMY
While I don't believe there is 1 standard testing approach for every project, these are some of the most common UX methods I practice at Academy.
Customer Journey Maps
Starting new projects, I create user diagrams which outline different steps of the experience for the customer. Sometimes these are based on multiple personas. This diagram allows our team to understand friction points in the experience and how to make it better.
There are 5 different types of primary customers that shop at Academy. We use personas to understand their shopping motivations so we can empathize with our customers.
We test our website against competitors with real customers, asking what they like about each website and benchmarking us against other websites.
I have spent more than 500 hours interviewing customers shopping on Academy.com to collect user feedback about scenarios, flows, and features of the website. I compile actionable findings and share with the team.