MacPherson’s Art Supply business to business ecommerce trial. This company is both a supplier and manufacturers in this space.

Dave TavelGeorgia has a keen style sense and a good understanding of current best practices in UX/UI design. She kept to tight deadlines and freely availed herself to listen in on development meetings or assist in presentations. Highly recommended.

Dave Tavel, Digital Projects Manager, MacPherson’s – an employee-owned company


This was a business to business ecommerce trial for supplier and manufacturer MacPherson’s Art Supply. MacPhearson’s is an employee-owned company in the Emeryville, California and services art stores all over the U.S.. As an employee-owned company, everyone is a stakeholder, invested in the companies future growth and health. After an initial discussion, it was clear that the first step would be to demonstrate the need for the project. This had to be done in a language that would appeal to all stakeholders, regardless of where they were on the organizational chart. To this end, a document was created to demonstrate clarify the objectives and also the need for doing a complex redesign.

This was more than a simple site redesign. It could also carry over into the ordering process and vendor management so we also had to make it an attractive enough project that it would get support even if it impacted the current workflow for promotion, taking orders, and shipping.

Business to Business Ecommerce

To make so many complex issues easier to digest the document used personas based on  two customer types and followed them on their journey through the ordering process. The user models we focused on were comfortable with technology and more comfortable with shopping online–the very customers that were now becoming the norm for the supplier. Walking through the process with them made it easy to demonstrate where their current system was showing its age. More importantly, it also demonstrated additional opportunities they would have to increase sales.

We also identified a large backlog of underutilized content, much of it video, that could be used to educate people about unfamiliar products and be an avenue to reaching an expanded audience. The content existed but needed to be organized into a content management system so it was accessible, easy to identify, and broadcast on the site or over social channels.

Due to the expectations of today’s shoppers, it was recommended that they adopt a consumer-style commerce model. Today’s shopper expectations for ease of use and the familiarity with online retail is expecting that type of experience in all online purchasing. There is also the matter of aesthetics and even an entertainment value. Making a site that was fun, engaging, educational and easy to use would promote more of a ‘shoppers’ experience for their customer.

The use of persona’s representative of their customer base to ‘tell the story’ made it very easy to tell this layered and complex story to all the stakeholders.

After broad approval core interaction types were identified and for the trial, a small subset of the vendor experience that was selected. This area could be explored from beginning to end but also touched on all the major interaction types. It would give them a means to do user testing and get input from their buyers before a broader rollout.

Then began an iterative process to define UX Patterns that were user-friendly and fluid enough to allow for flexibility for product types with a large degree of variation. The slides here are just a few examples of the types of data we were attempting to support. For the entire exercise, starting with wireframes, a working prototype was maintained to demonstrate interaction and user flow.

Working closely with Dave and his team key needs were identified that are unique to this business and widgets or flows were designed to meet them. Most of these occurred during the order process.

Skills Involved

  • Persona document
  • User maps to demonstrate current touch points
  • User maps to illustrate what impact the changes would have
  • UX Design
  • High-level wireframes
  • Interactive prototypes
  • Design and design style guide