The Platform, The Problem, The User

The Sunday market has become a Sunday traditional for many communities within the UK, many would go to Church on a Sunday, and right after the Sunday Market, it became a way of life for the African, Caribbean and many Asian communities, this dates back to the 1950s.

However, since the 1950s much has changed including technology. The traditional Sunday market is now outdated and many visitors find it a chore to visit the market. Five Yards takes the traditional Sunday market and digitises it, allowing tailors and fabric sellers to sell their product online using the same flow and process used face-to-face. Whilst allowing users to communicate and do business with fabric sellers and tailors online just like they would do at a Sunday Market.

When I first took on this project, the client did not have a clear vision of the projects requirements, the platform functionality or his potential users. I, therefore, had to jump headfirst into carrying out research. I visited a number of Sunday Markets such as Dalton and Walthamstow market, where I interviewed a number of fabric sellers and traditional African & Asian tailors. I also sent out various questionnaires.

By the end of this process, I had a good understanding of the user persona’s, each of their pain points and motivations, some of the high-level findings were:

Clients/user feedback

Traditional tailors

1. Do not have a good reputation, as the great majority lack basic communication skills 2. Clients were unlikely to get updates through the process meaning the clients would sometimes end up with something completely different to what they initially asked for. Many of the time it was too last to remedy. 3. Tailors are notorious for missing deadlines. 4. Tailors do not provide straight forward quotes. 5. Clients usually pick tailors at random, therefore, not knowing if a tailor is off quality.

Fabric seller

1. Clients a lot of the time like fabric, but have no idea what it would look like made into certain garments. So they end up not purchasing the fabric until they are sure.

Vendors feedback

1.They struggle with time management, as many of them do not use software to help them manage their orders. 2.They usually communicate through WhatsApp, a lot of the time the clients requests get lost in the thread. 3.Tailors struggle to get clients and to advertise their services.

``I hate talking down on my people, but no! The tailors cannot be trusted, their time keeping is poor, you have to HUNT them down to get an update.``
Narrowing the scope

The Goal

After this first round of exploration and research, we wanted to hone in on a direction to tackle first. We knew the vendors dashboard would require different functionality, therefore, could become complicated and we had so many features we wanted to implement. To help us decide, we asked users and vendors to rank the importance of features, carried out a micro competitors analysis and created very simple persona’s to gain a better understanding of our users.

Here’s a summary of all the feedback:

  • 70% of users stated receiving a quote with a price is a must-have feature.
  • 95% of users requested tailor reviews – so users can make an advised decision
  • 60% of users need a way to communicate with tailors differently.
  • 50% of users wanted  to a way to visualise the fabric they were purchasing, so they would know if it would suit their garment.
  • 50% of users wanted a number of different ways to communicate with vendors.
  • 40% of uses requested VR elements so they were able to visualise the garments on themselves.

100% of the vendors also agreed with the above features.

Based on the feedback from round 1, we decided to implement a quote builder for tailors, overall reviews for tailors broken down into subheadings such as communication, end product and customer service, instant messaging which includes video calling so users had a number of different ways to communicate with vendors for meeting and to build trust and an image gallery so users can see the vendors quality of work.

These features were implemented on top of the foundation of the website, which included placing orders(e-commerce), sending enquires to tailors, Customer, Tailor and Fabric seller dashboards, appointment booking (Tailors), order history (vendors + users) and a search facility.

At this point, I was able to start thinking about the user flow and start wireframing.

The Product

Hi-Fid mockups

After conducting many user interviews and surveys, we felt really confident about diving into the design of the product. I worked on this product with a Junior designer and the Founder of Five Yards who also happens to be a developer. The Project  took 4 months to complete, however, I was regularly called back when the Founder had additional features he wanted to add. Which I will not be focusing on in this case study.

The result


This project unfortunately had to come to a holt due to Covid. The Founder is developing this platform himself and has had to take a step back, However, I worked with Ezei to create the marketing page, which is currently has over 500 vendor signed up to for launch. We also carried out user testing on a prototype made on Protopie to ensure we had not missed anything, it was a huge success leading to further pre-sign ups.

I will continue to work on Five Yards in the near future as the platform designs as they stand is at the MVP stage.