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Discovery and design research for lululemon athletica

Working at Blast Radius, I learned and practiced the methods of human-centered design. Our projects started with discovery to understand the problem space. We did user research to uncover insights about the customer and their relationship with a brand. And we worked on user journey maps, personas, and positioning frameworks, like strategy canvases and brand pyramids.

My role

I was one of two strategists on this project. I wrote interview questions, conducted interviews, synthesized our research into insights, and created the final deliverable, which included personas, insight statements, competitive analysis and brand positioning.

Starting with stakeholder interviews

We started by meeting with stakeholders from across the company. Our stakeholders were the people who worked on Digital, Brand, eCommerce, Merchandising, and Technology. The stakeholder interviews helped us understand three areas of information:

  1. Define the desired outcome of the project by understanding the goals and needs of each part of the business.

  2. List assumptions about how lululemon’s core customers use and think about digital products.

  3. Learn about the existing product roadmap and how it mapped to business goals.

stakeholder interviews

User research

We wanted to understand what role digital products played in the lives of lululemon’s core customers. What were their motivations and challenges in life and how did technology support that? What were their attitudes and behaviors related to digital products and towards the brand?

We set up in-home interviews with 21 women who represented the core customer profile. The interviews took place in Vancouver, New York City and Los Angeles. By doing in-home interviews we got to hear from the research respondents in their own words and get a sense of their lifestyle. We took pictures of their homes and digital devices to build up context around what they told us.

The interviews started broad with questions about what they do for work and what they do for fun. Then we explored specific areas like social media, mobile, and eCommerce usage, as well as things like their community and fitness routines.

Before going into the interviews we did secondary research to understand the landscape and trends displayed by our target audience around things like social media usage, mobile usage, and health and fitness. We also looked at what competitors and tech startups were doing in the space.

user interviews


We wrote down as many observations as possible on post-it notes and grouped them into themes.

Going into the interviews, we had made a list of assumptions about how lululemon customers use digital, and now we could start validating some of those and filling them in with color and context.

We used themes that emerged by grouping our observations to write insight statements about how and why our target uses technology. Using these insights, we brainstormed ideas and opportunities for how and where the customer experience could be improved using digital products and content.

A key learning was that in addition to self-improvement, fitness is often a connection to a community. She uses social media to feel connected and she relies on her phone to plan and schedule her week; reminders and notifications keep her on track so she can fit it all in.

insights insights

Design Recommendations

The final deliverable was a presentation and slides that summarized our findings. Our insights and recommendations were used to inform planning for new digital products and content, as well as new features and improvements for the eCommerce site.

recommendations recommendations

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