Launching a New Business for Hanes

OVERVIEW

 

Opportunity

Hanes had the tees; now they wanted to leverage their inventory in a way that would create additional revenue. Our marketing client wanted to enter the custom apparel space, and IT was driving the project forward.

 

Challenge

Seeing as this was an entirely new business unit within Hanes, this project presented a lot of unique challenges. 

From the marketing side, we focused on: 

  • how does this new brand fit within the Hanes ecosystem

  • how might we position this new brand within the competitive landscape

  • what are the possible market segments and which would we focus on 

This project was also highly technical. It was the first Hanes property to be designed on the latest IBM Websphere platform. It also involved the adaption and implementation of another 3rd party vendor's "design tool." In addition, many of my design decisions were tied to the capabilities of the production equipment used for printing on the garments. 

The technical challenges I faced were: 

  • learning the new features of the latest platform release, what the LOE was to incorporate them, and if we should use them 

  • figuring out the "design tool" - which functionality was out of the box and which was custom

  • understanding the limitations of the machinery and what that meant for requirements and design

  • understanding the various back end systems and how they worked together

MY ROLE

I was the only UX person on this project for the first 11 months. I eventually brought on a junior UXer to help with the QA portion of the project.

Created / Owned

  • Client relationship (regarding UX design and research) 

  • Competitor research 

  • Wireframing 100+ pages (and prototyping when necessary)

  • Sprint planning estimates (UX and visual design portion)

  • Usability tests - proposal, plan, conducting and analyzing

Managed the Creation 

  • Competitive review

Collaborative Team Effort

  • Audience definition and research

  • Requirements gathering - business, technical, and user

  • Sprint planning

  • QA

  • Copywriting 

  • Email strategy

COLLABORATING TO STAND UP A NEW BUSINESS

Our Process

This project was built on the idea of having the right people in the room at the right time. For several months, members from the 6 companies involved met and worked through the requirements needed for the launch of the new business unit. (These meetings are also known as JAD sessions.) 

Conversations during this time bounced between marketing and tech - from which consumers to target, such as moms versus students, to system pricing requirements based on garment style and design type. I was a key player in these discussions, along with the business analyst, solution architect, and clients from IT and marketing.

Once we had the main requirements established, we moved into sprint planning. To begin, the solution architect planned out his team's back end sprints. I integrated the ux and visual design work into the sprints. Since I was more familiar with the project than the visual design lead, I did the initial scoping and sprint planning for that discipline. Then my PM worked with our dev lead to integrate the front end development work. We all met together in-person to revise and finalize. 

After this, I started ux research and design. Due to timing, we were not able to test our own build, so I focused on testing our competitors' "design tool" to make sure we didn't repeat any of their mistakes. From there, I moved into finalizing our "design tool" by working closely with the developer assigned to it and flushing out final requirements. During this time, I also performed usability testing on our navigation options to ensure that users recognized the labeling and terminology.

 

Then I worked on finalizing the wireframes. This involved consulting the IBM documentation and talking with the back end developers. It also occasionally required me to confirm new requirements with the client. There were many detailed requirements that were determined during these ux sprints, such as display rules, required fields, and user permissions.

As ux design wrapped up, I turned my attention to reviewing visual design, copy, and dev builds, both front and back end. It was during this time that I brought in a junior UXer to help with these reviews. Together we, along with the larger project team, continued to QA the website over the course of 6 months. Eventually we were phased out as larger QA teams were brought in. Then, after 20 months, and much pivoting, the new website finally went live. 

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