Design Engineering
Showcase 2020


Operations and Design
Dr Sam Cooper
UX Designer

Own-Kind is a start-up founded in January 2018 by Ruaraidh Grubb. The app and web service aims for people to feel empowered by their clothes, find outfit and wardrobe inspiration and make sustainable choices by utilising the clothes they already have. It was important for me to experience a product being taken from concept to implementation which an early stage start-up would provide me the opportunity to do. I learnt the importance of scaling up an idea overtime, strategy to provide clear direction and tangible goals, additionally the time, diligence, and grit it requires to run your own start-up.

 — Own-Kind

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

My main takeaway from the experience was the importance on validating the impact and need behind proposals as intuition is not a strong enough reason to implement an idea: it presents a gamble for a start-ups time and budget. Validating new concepts is difficult in a small, young company as they have not yet established a wide user reach for feedback or produced a back-end system which monitors the behaviour of the users through useful automated data capture. When interviewing users about prospective designs it is also difficult to collect accurate feedback as hypothetical questions need to be avoided. It became clear that collecting data driven insights into user behaviour was an area that could give Own-Kind informed direction and help to validate concepts before implementation.

I developed analytics skills in excel and distilled insights from the raw data collected in user reports as well as cross-examining feedback from surveys and interviews. Previous proposals could then be developed and prioritised with quantitative reasoning against impact and cost. Realising the importance of data collection and processing naturally revealed opportunities to improve ways to monitor users and collect useful insights to increase growth.

It was discovered that users can be broken down into different types (sign-up, activated, casual, core) and states (transitioning in or out, at risk, dormant). Understanding why users are not transitioning (adjacent users) from sign-up to activated or activated to casual/core is pivotal to increasing engagement and growth. Understanding which state the user is in communicates to a company which direction their users are transitioning and which user demographic to be concerned about. The result of the adjacent user research combined with the opportunity to improve data processing in user reports lead to my greatest achievement with Own-Kind, detailed below under ‘Adjacent Users Report’.

Role and Contributions

My name is Imogen Scheel and I worked as a UX designer. My role was to help Own-Kind improve engagement and retention of users, product market fit, data capture and opportunities for monetization.

I was responsible for:

  • Carrying out relevant user, market, and strategy research
  • Collecting user feedback and data
  • Setting up and conducting product and user tests
  • Investigating user behaviour and flows
  • Distilling insights
  • Proposing and developing concepts
  • Helping with implementation

Competitor Analysis

It was my responsibility to research direct and indirect competitors, identify Own-Kind’s unique position in the market and determine opportunities. I created a competitor comparison spreadsheet and highlighted which were direct competitors and which had a good UX, from this suggesting opportunities areas and direction. The spreadsheet produced is continually referred and added to and has been a useful resource for other employees.

User flows Analysis & UX Sprint

I analysed Own-Kind’s user experience and made prioritised proposals to change aspects of the user flow against impact and cost. Many proposals were taken forward, developed, and tested with users. The proposals and research were used as important materials for a 2-week sprint with General Assembly, they reduced friction, increased engagement of two main features and improved data capture of Own-Kind’s user demographic and preferences.

 — Own-Kind
Proposal Prioritisation Example.

Product feed Implementation

To implement a product feed onto Own-Kind, data from affiliate schemes needed to be mapped to suit Own-Kind’s naming system to provide a cleaner UX. I provided solutions to complex mapping of international clothes sizes, colours and categories and tested for inconsistencies and snags in the test platform. This ensures most products are captured from the data into the feed which will help to monetize Own-Kind by providing a commission-based revenue stream.

Adjacent Users Report

Own-Kind wants to understand why users are not becoming successfully engaged. Using research into power users and adjacent users I designed an automated spreadsheet which provides a summary of each user enabling Own-Kind to have a holistic view of the types, states, and demographic of their users. The sheet will be used to quantify engagement and retention, improve research and development, help with targeting marketing campaigns, direct Own-Kind with their business strategy and save employees hours of time distilling raw data into insights.

 — Own-Kind
Automated Users' Summary Report.


The placement revealed an interest in analytics discovering pivotal insights and understanding more about business strategy and market research, as it is essential to start-up’s success. For students searching for a placement next year, approach a placement with an open-mind and leave the belief that you must figure out exactly what job role or industry you want to go into already behind. The placement will change or confirm your mind and that is an exciting process, not a scary one.


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