Re-imaging the way we discover products.
June 2011 - January 2012 - www.stylebins.com
In the summer of 2011 my sister and soon to be brother in-law, Seth Richards, came up to Maine from their home in Manchester, NH to join in a family cookout. Seth and I often discussed interesting applications we were using or projects we were working on since we both worked within the realm of developing software.
After much discussion Seth stopped and took notice of a new watch of mine (I’m an avid collector of interesting looking watches), this one in particular was made by a company called Nooka--it resembled those of the eccentric Tokyo Flash watches. We started talking about how I came to find such an interesting piece- which led to us questioning how does one simply discover something so unique. Our conversation soon snowballed into exploring trends and how we could make it easier for others to discover these interesting and unique items.
Naturally, I began to sketch out some ideas and share them with Seth; before we knew it, we had created a small web application for sharing products we love and we called it Stylebins.
Some platforms allow consumer engagement with a rating system or some type of comment box or other means to interact; but their is still a missing factor- the influence of friends or people who's opinions matter most to you. We felt online shopping lacks a social aspect that may influence our desicions on the product we purchase. We see a link between online consumers, their online influencers and the purchases they make. It's apparent on facebook, but isn't exactly the best audience. We wanted to create an environment for that audience.
Stylebins is a social network that helps people connect, discover and share products they love. Users can mark that they LIKE, WANT or HAVE particular products and Stylebins will keep track of that information for you.
By sharing what you LIKE, WANT or HAVE Stylebins can help you find and discover products new and interesting products.
Also, you can find and follow other users in the Stylebins ecosystem and see what products they are sharing. Interested in what’s trending? Browse and search the entire Stylebins ecosystem.
The Feed is the main screen after the user has logged in. It is where they can explore products people are sharing, specifically their friends or people that they have begun to follow for a variety of reasons. The user can filter products that are gender specific or search for products, or friends.
The left-navigation allows the users to quickly jump to various sections of their profile, giving high-level information that can then be explored with even greater detail when selected. User login home screen, "the feed" displays friends posts. Click image to view the feed gallery.
Likes, Wants, Haves
In exploring the question “How do trends start” Seth and I were primarily thinking about retail. We chose retail so that we could focus our efforts and make it easier for us to have the same vision. We decided that not only could users share the products but they and others could say whether they liked, wanted or have that product.
I can remember in Facebooks early years how much I enjoyed the introduction of the “like” button- and thought how brilliant it was in that it says so much when one user “likes” another users post. It encouraged others to interact and exchange dialogue.
For Stylebins we wanted to create a dialogue among people based on the products they were sharing. In terms of retail, we felt that just liking something didn’t say enough about the product or you so by adding a Want and Have button we are opening doors to many more possibilities.
By allowing users to mark a product as something they Like, Want, or Have; you are adding context to the product. You are telling others how you feel about a product. This still begs the question of "why?"; Why do you feel this way? So, we've included a comment section so that users may converse about this product.
In order to encourage dialogue and allow users to discover more about a product we had to add a comment box. Something simple and elegant, a small input-box inviting you to partake in conversation. Hover over your comment and a simple trash-can icon appears if you wish to delete your post.
Later designs moved the product view to an overlay giving users some grounding, something that was lost in a hub-and-spoke navigation.
Any item you click, whether it’s Like, Want or Have will be displayed on your profile under their respective “bins”. Bins are a concept we established where our system groups the products to allow context-sensitive actions like search, filter and browse etc. For example, "
Stylebins is a web application built on ASP.NET/MVC Framework, data is stored in SQLServer and front-end uses what I call the “usual suspects” CSS, HTML, Javascipt; We leverage the JQuery library for a majority of the interaction.
Stephen Crowley — co-founder, UX/Design, Graphic Design, Front-End Development.
Seth Richards — co-founder, Data Architect, Server-Side Development, Front-End Development.
Kristy Yeaton - front-end development, mobile experience design