Based in Berlin, Fy! is a marketplace where people can buy cool and unique products to decorate their home. They are proud to stock some of the world's best emerging brands.

The challenge

Fresh from a round of pre-seed funding, Talobee were keen to start building their marketplace idea. They'd chosen a low code solution called Sharetibe Flex as their underlying technology and asked me to design their MVP.

My challenge was to take a bunch of high-level user stories and turn them into high fidelity design files that development agency, Journey Horizon could use to turn into a fully-functioning marketplace.

The team

  • Fiona MacDougall - Lead UX Designer, UK
  • Enbo Chen - CTO at Talobee, Finland
  • Mikko Hirvonen - COO at Talobee, Finland
  • Tri Nguyen - Developer at Journey Horizon, Vietnam
  • Tam Vu - Developer at Journey Horizon, Vietnam
  • Sandy Mai - Tester at Journey Horizon, Vietnam

The challenge

Founded in 2014, Fy! are successfully building a much loved brand. However, founders Tom and Jonathan, wanted to understand why conversion rates were lower on their app than their website. My task was to conduct user research and testing to find out what was preventing people from making a purchases on the app and to make recommendations on how they could improve the app experience and boost conversion rates. 

The team

Kick-off meeting

As the Fy! team were in London for a few days, we held the kick-off meeting at the Forward Partners office. It was a great opportunity to get to know the founders of Fy! and learn more about their business. They provided me with a wealth of information and data on who their customers are and how they flowed through the conversion funnel. During this meeting, we identified the hypotheses and assumptions that the team wanted to explore during the research, as well as the main project objective - To understand why most users did not make a purchase 1 -7 days after downloading the app.

Discussion guide

The next step was to draft a discussion guide that I would use as a prompt during the user research interviews. A discussion guide is a document that contains a list of questions grouped into broad topic areas. I like to think of it as a series of prompts to help stimulate conversation if these topics don’t arise organically. I prefer this to an interview script as it allows you to engage in a more natural conversation which I think helps the interviewee to feel relaxed and reveal more insights. After drafting the discussion guide I shared it with the Fy! founders to review.

Example questions:

Arranging the interviews

After agreeing on the types of Fy! users we wanted to interview, Dan Peddle, then engineering lead at Fy!, sent out a bunch of emails to our target audience. The email explained the purpose of our project along with a Calendly link where people could schedule a 45-minute user research interview at a time most convenient for them. We had a good response rate and soon my calendar was filling up with meetings. Aside from Fy! users, we also wanted to get a fresh perspective from people who had never heard of Fy!, so I spent a bit of time recruiting people from my network.

Trello board detailing the research plan along with progress made

Who I spoke to:

How I conducted the research remotely

80% of the interviews were conducted via Zoom calls, with the remaining being face-to-face in London. The Zoom calls proved to be most revealing as people often showed me around their home (unprompted) to proudly show me their Fy! purchases, or to highlight a blank wall they were looking to fill with a quirky piece of artwork. During the interviews, I also asked the users to get their phone out and walk me through how they use the Fy! app. This demonstrated first-hand how they like to shop and what frustrations arose when using the app.

Consolidated the insights

Once all the research was complete, it was time to consolidate the insights. This can often seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and processes in place, it can be made much easier. I used Rev.com, a transcription service, to transcribe all the audio recordings of the interviews into text. I do this because text is so much easier to scan through than a video and quicker to find key quotes. Rev is great because it allows you to add notes and annotations to the transcription and play the recording from that moment in time if you want to hear the added emotion in someone’s voice. Next, I pulled out the common themes and issues that were mentioned by multiple people into a spreadsheet, forming a kind of “heat-map” on the key insights.

One-day design sprint

It was time to report my findings back to Fy!. However, I wanted to provide more value than simply presenting my findings and recommendations. So I prepared a lively one-day design sprint where we could all participate in an active discussion about the research findings and explore possible solutions.

The first part of the workshop focussed on the problems found. I played audio clips of key quotes from the research participants to help the team develop empathy for the users. Whilst doing this, I asked the team to jot down How Might We's on post-it notes - problems that are reframed as opportunities (e.g. "How might we better communicate the price of products?").

We then grouped the How Might We's into common themes (e.g. Pricing, Wishlist) and used dot-voting (where everyone gets sticky dots to represent "votes") to prioritise which opportunities we wanted to focus on first.

The top 3 voted How Might We's were our focus for our next activity, Crazy 8's. In a structured and timely exercise, we separately sketched 8 different ideas of how we could address the three How Might We's. We then presented our sketches to the group and asked everyone to give constructive feedback. This was followed by another round of dot voting to indicate the most liked ideas.

The final hour of our one-day design sprint was spent prioritising the list of ideas we had generated in the workshop using ICE (Impact, Confidence, Ease) scoring. We wrapped up the workshop by agreeing the next steps. It was an exhilarating day!

Grouping How Might We's during the design sprint with the founders of Fy!Founders from Fy are sketching their crazy 8's ideas during the design sprint


Following the one-day design sprint Fy! went on to explore the technical efforts required to implement the ideas we came up with and prioritised the ones they wanted to progress.

My time on this project came to an end when I left Forward Partners to pursue my own entrepreneurial journey (building The Shoot). However, Forward Partners continued to work with Fy! to design key improvements to the app.


📅   5 weeks
🕐   40 hours

Tools used

  • Calendly
  • Rev.com
  • Google slides

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