Streamlining the process of finding gifts making it easier for shoppers to select the most suitable gifts for their giftees.

Project Overview

The Problem

Brookstone’s website offers an assortment of unique items but it is overwhelming and time-consuming to sift through the various product offerings just to find the most suitable gift.

The Solution

A mobile app with a "Gift Finder" feature that helps users select gifts by providing customized gift ideas that matches the interest of the intended receiver.

My Role

UX Research | UX & UI Design.

How it Was Achieved

Discovering why people shop at Brookstone

Given a tight timing of only two weeks meant that I needed to be efficient in conducting user research and collecting feedback. Discovering what customers think about Brookstone and why people shop there would be a key factor that would influence the direction of my design. I looked at yelp reviews, did a contextual inquiry and interviewed several shoppers to gauge what people are saying about Brookstone.

Analysis of Yelp Reviews

I made a word cloud using 100 Yelp customer reviews of Brookstone stores in the Los Angeles area. Top keywords associated with Brookstone are gifts, cool, unique and gadgets.
The word "Gifts" appeared more than 40 times!

Contextual Inquiry

In order to learn more about the end user, I sat outside the Brookstone Santa Monica store at varying times for several consecutive days taking notes of my observations on the type and the behavior of people shopping at Brookstone. I also did an exit poll asking people if the items they bought are for themselves or to be gifted to somebody else. 60% of those who left the store with a shopping bag bought items for gifts.

User Interviews and User Testing

Interviews and user testing was conducted to learn more about the user’s motivation when shopping at Brookstone and also to uncover the pain points encountered when browsing at the store’s current website. A common theme emerged from the responses that can be summarized into the following quotes:

Brookstone actually has a feature called “Gift Retriever”, which is a gift finding wizard that helps shoppers select a gift by answering a series of questions leading to gift suggestions. During the user testing, participants were asked to do a specific task - Use the Gift Retriever to find a suitable gift for your father.
All users failed the task. Nobody was able to find "Gift Retriever"

Key Research Highlights

Following are the key takeaways after consolidating all the findings from yelp reviews, contextual inquiry, user interviews and user testing:

The varied research techniques helped me to quickly gain insights into the need of the users - They want to get a unique gift from Brookstone, however, selecting the best gift can be overwhelming. Although there are a lot of items to choose from, the website is disorganized.

Persona Development

The results of the research also helped me develop a persona whom I can empathize with and be used constantly throughout the project to guide design decisions.

Wireframes and Paper Prototype

I started sketching initial wireframes for the website with the intent of improving the "Gift Retriever" feature. I translated the wireframes into a paper prototype and then went out to conduct user testing.

Findings from User Testing were remarkably consistent.

  • Users didn’t care much about filtering by relationship
  • Users want to set a price range for the gift
  • Users were asking if Brookstone has a shopping app.
  • Users like shopping using their mobile phones


The insights gathered from user testing of the paper prototype made me shift gears from a web solution to a mobile one. Currently, Brookstone does not have a mobile shopping app. I went back to my drawing board and sketched wireframes for the Brookstone shopping app. With that in mind user’s pain points in mind, I decided to focus on the “Gift Finder” wizard so that users have the option to filter their searches on their mobile devices. Because finding a gift shouldn't be a chore, it should be an enjoyable experience.

User Flow

Since Brookstone did not, at that time, have a mobile app, the focus was to create a simple, yet elegant, UI to help customers find what they are looking for. Primarily, for gifts via "Gift Finder."

Final Design