House 2 Home

Design Sprint • Home Décor Web App

Gregory Guma



House 2 Home is a startup that wants to be a one-stop-shop for those who are looking to decorate their new home or apartment. Their latest endeavor is to make it easier for people who recently moved or don’t know where to start to decorate their apartment with wall decor, lights, accent pieces, and accessories.

The Problem

For this project, I was tasked with devising a way for people to easily get the décor they need to make their new apartment or house feel like home. Users were encountering friction when deciding on objects to purchase, not feeling confident in their ability to decide on objects to decorate whole rooms on their own – leading to frustration, abandoned carts, and undecorated places.

User Goals

Users of the “Starter-Kit” feature on House 2 Home primarily had two goals:

  • One stop shop for décor
  • Find all of the items needed to decorate a room without going over budget

The Solution

A quiz to help personalize a decoration starter-kit for users that would provide all of the objects needed to decorate their chosen space. The starter kit would be tailored to users’ needs, space, preferences, and budget.

The quiz consists of 3 major steps:

  1. Picking a kit size based on your budget
  2. Setting room, color, and style preferences to customize the kit
  3. Determining what the user already has in their room which sets constraints about what objects could be included


Modified solo GV design sprint to rapidly design, test, and validate a solution.

Day 1

Goal Setting | Journey Map | Affinity Map | Interviews | HMW Questions

For day 1 of the sprint I spent time getting oriented and reviewing the materials provided to me by House 2 Home. Materials included a user interview, the findings of internal company research, and a persona.

A big challenge on day one was finding that some key pieces of information about what it's like to decorate a new home were missing.

I knew that I would have to do a little more research if I wanted my sprint to be successful. To learn more about what it takes to make a new place to live feel homey and well decorated I reached out to several people from my network who recently moved, and to a friend of mine who is an architect.

Ally - House 2 Home's Persona

Ally's major concerns and pain points

  • Knows look she wants but not what to buy
  • Wants her space to look like her inspiration but on a budget
  • Wants good décor but can’t paint or renovate
  • Doesn’t know if small items will look good together
  • Users want a desktop web experience
  • Users want some kind of starter kit
  • Products range from $10 - $50
  • Users have unspecified budgets
Solution Must Address
  • Budget
  • Ease
  • Personal style & inspiration of users
  • Number and size of items to buy
  • Size of room to be decorated

Setting the Stage

The first step in the process was to make a plan.

I had lot’s of questions that I needed to answer: What was the goal of the sprint? What was the problem I was trying to solve? What did the users need and what does their journey look like?

I grabbed my trusty whiteboard and started distilling down insights from the information House 2 Home provided.

Filling Knowledge Gaps

It soon became evident that there were a few key pieces of information missing from House 2 Home’s research. They were things that might be evident to some, but since I was lacking a lot of knowledge about interior design I needed to do a little additional digging.

Taking a step back to conduct more interviews and to have a discussion with a SME would provide me with the answers I needed.

The information I was seeking was insight about budgets, making a room feel decorated, and what people’s initial concerns were when decorating.

Key Insights From Interviews

  • Anchor/Statement pieces act as the centerpiece of an entire room and can be used as a starting object to build a room’s décor off of.
  • The average décor budget for someone in their 20s is between $100 and $200.
  • The size of the room and which colors and aesthetics will be chosen are generally the first concerns when decorating.
  • The number of items to make a room feel decorated is between five and ten depending on the items.

SME Quotes

“Ultimately, people are most comfortable in the  personal, no matter how much the “designed” photographs or interiors make them drool. “Designed” often feels impersonal. Think of hotel rooms. We love to look at and visit the designed, but live in the personal.”

“...often the toughest challenge people have is visualizing their space after “decoration” is applied. Some people have the knack, others don’t. A visual is key for figuring it out ahead of time.”

Day 2

Lightning Demos | Crazy 8s | Solution Sketching

Lightning Demos

The services and sites collected here as inspiration varies from food to fashion. The common thread is that they are all attempting to curate a collection of things for the user, especially Hello Fresh, Stitch Fix, and Butcher Box which are all services aimed at constructing custom boxes of products. The inspiration these sites provided helped me to structure my solution to the problem of helping people decorate their homes.

Crazy 8s

For my crazy 8s, I sketched out a few of my potential design solutions
and a few screens that would fit into the flow of the kit creation process.

The visual representations of these ideas made them less abstract. Making it easier topick a design direction. Several of these sketches would find their way into the final solution.

Solution Sketch

The most promising solution given the constraints and the ideas I came up with seemed to be a quiz to help personalize a decoration kit for users.

This sketch includes 3 of the steps
  1. Picking a kit size based on your budget
  2. Setting some preferences to customize the kit
  3. Determining what the user already has in their room which sets constraints about what objects could be included

Day 3

Storyboarding | Sketching

Why this Idea

Since the constraints of the project requested a desktop web solution I decided to go with a ‘build your own box’ style quiz.

I needed to figure out a way to allow users some (but not too much) control over what was in their décor kit and to define their style in the smallest number of steps possible. This is because the brief and research I was presented with implied that target users had just moved into a new home but suffered from choice paralysis while shopping for décor. Users did, however, have some idea of a theme or aesthetic that they liked and wanted to pursue.

If this had been a phone app I would have utilized the phone’s camera - but with a desktop or laptop - taking pictures of a room didn’t seem like a viable solution. A quiz was one of the best potential solutions I came up with and was ultimately the idea I pursued.

Storyboard Process

To storyboard, I first listed out all of the steps a user would need to take to get from the beginning of the process to the end.

Next, I sketched a general overview storyboard without any of the granular steps involved to get a hold of the big picture.

Finally, I tweaked the order of the steps and screens I would need before sketching out each one in a storyboard containing sketches and brief descriptions of each screen users would interact with.

Day 4



In this prototype, a user goes down a flow to make a décor kit for their living room. They pick a few options and choose a statement piece and then the box is finished and they can decorate their new home.

Thoughts about the prototyping process

It was tricky to prototype the flow of this quiz since in reality there would be many more variables at play and lots of different combinations of decor as a final output. There could be millions of different combinations in a final product but for testing, only one was built out.

Finding resources to populate options was also a challenge. Certain screens (like what’s in your room) required visuals that would be too time-consuming to make for a sprint and had to be represented by stand-in images and elements. Whether these mockups would be successful at communicating their intention became apparent during testing.

Day 5

User Testing

Goals for User Testing

  1. Find out if the steps of the quiz are adequate for making a décor box that addresses people’s needs. If there are considerations that are missing they can be added in future versions.
  2. Whether participants can get from the beginning to the end without confusion.

User Test Participants

The five test participants I interviewed for this project included three people in their mid-20s who had recently moved or were planning to move (the target audience of the service), and two people who were a little older than the target demographic by a few years. This gave me a good range of potential users and valuable insight into whether people who were slightly outside the target audience would find the service valuable or intriguing.

User Test Findings

Overall, the sprint was a success - users were able to make it through the process of making a décor starter kit with minimal friction, they seemed to like the idea of the service and commented that they would likely use it in real life.

There were a few bumps along the way. Some participants were disappointed by the lack of functionality in the prototype and wanted to be able to build their own custom kit.

Some users were confused by the “Tell us about your room” screen thinking they were building their ideal room instead of filling in details of the types of surfaces available for decorating in their room.

Next Steps & Lessons Learned

Next Steps

Issue 1

Most participants got stuck on the “Room Details” page due to a combination of unclear copy and an unclear image. They didn’t realize they were supposed to be inputting what was in their room right now and seemed to think they were building their dream room - or something to that effect.

Recommended action

Simply changing the copy could be enough to fix this issue. It may have also been a lack of context as the homepage mockup and the interviewer’s explanation of the scenario didn’t make it clear enough that House 2 Home only sells décor and not furniture.
Changing the imagery on the page may also be necessary.

Issue 2

Lack of a back button in the décor starter kit confused users.

Recommended action

Adding a back button would solve this issue and give users more control over their process.

Issue 3

Users wanted to see their grand total on the first page of the checkout flow

Recommended action

Change the total card to be the same as in the billing and shipping info page so users can see their grand total when they confirm their kit and add-ons.

Issue 4

The “Pick Some Colors” page is not accessible for low or no color vision users

Recommended action

Add color name labels under the color options so that the page can be more accessible

Lessons Learned

Design sprints are an excellent way to quickly validate ideas. The feedback received from test participants at the end of a sprint could easily confirm whether an approach is useful or valid. They are an extremely useful tool, and something I will use in the future when deciding on directions for products or features. It makes more sense to do a sprint to learn whether an idea or solution is worth pursuing than it does to spend months refining an idea before testing.

The most important lesson I learned is that test participants (and users in general) are unlikely to give a UI their full attention. The steps in a process must be simple enough to understand at a glance or else there will be confusion. It is reasonable to assume that explainer text will not be fully read no matter how well intentioned it is.

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