Understanding the differences between Formative and Summative Assessments are great and all, however when it comes time to implement into the real world or in this case in a startup furniture business it never goes according to plan. When you are dealing with founders of the company, and when there is tons of overhead in facilities, employees, etc. the pressure is high to start getting orders in the door to generate revenue. Would I have loved to have the opportunity to conduct a user-centered design session or design sprints, of course, I would?
So now that the real world takes effect, the very first version of the website had your basic e-commerce online shopping aspects to search or find your product, add to cart, checkout, view gallery, blog, contact us, about us, etc. We also incorporated our main business differentiator and why our furniture was the best quality and customer service. While we were creating the designs, our testing and users all came from in-house people along with their friends and family; I guess you could call it an informal, informative assessment study.
One of the best things we learned was from our live site with real world users giving us feedback for our summative assessment. I know this is completely unorthodox, but that is what we had to do, and we collected tons of data from feedback that was sent in and Google Analytics data. As orders came in and the popularity of the brand grew, we came together to take what we learned, my vision for the brand and created the updated version 2.0 of the website and company taking it to the next level. Although we did not go the traditional routes in our testing or methods, it was one that is truly a success story and a hallmark project in my career.