Danny Hearn – Deeply Human Design Ltd

FitFlop Site Redesign

This is the story of how I led the Fitflop website redesign project and supported the business on their journey of digital transformation. 


7 months

What I did
User Research & Product Design, Design Leadership

User insights, User testing, video highlights, Interactive hi-fi prototype, Functional spec, Board & keynote presentations

The impact

Sales have tripled since the website launch

Due to improved site experience focusing on mobile journey, blending content into browsing, and interaction design – read more.

Business bought into UCD approach

A mindset shift across the business and Fitflop has since matured its UCD capability.


Fitflop was a growing startup, and they had achieved significant growth from their early days in 2007 to 2016. The increase was mainly due (in my opinion) to the strength of the product and proposition. The founder (Marica Kilgore), who had driven a strong customer and brand narrative, had stepped away, and the business was now needing to outgrow its shadow. 

In terms of focus, Fitflop had been very much on a sales and acquisition footing. They lacked the experience and resources to research and understand the experience for users or how to design digital journeys. The digital team and broader business had very little exposure to User Experience Design as a practice. The team also lacked experience in digital development and what that looks like when embarking on a website redesign.  


Building relationships and evangelising UCD 

Influenced and educated marketing, brand and digital teams by sharing and presenting stories that communicated the value of user experience research and design.

In-store visit
Visited local retail vendor to talk to sales staff and understand how they sell the value of the shoes to customers, what customers often ask for.

User Testing
Conducted interviews and user testing of existing site to understand how site performed and draw any insights & learnings

Poor data picture
Tried to get data picture however analytics was limited to basic sales reporting and there was no insights on customer behaviour.

Key insights

  • New customers who hadn’t seen the initial marketing and brand story (key to Fitflop’s early success) struggled to understand the proposition.
  • Customers weren’t exposed to ‘who’ or ‘why Fitflop’ when browsing the website.  The USP of the brand was lost. The new design would need to communicate the brand messaging throughout the purchase journey.
  • Mobile site performed really poorly, with lots of usability and navigation issues 

Visualising a typical customer journey with insights

Jobs to be done & business objectives

Drawing on the insights I developed a series of JTBD or customer goals and paired this with business objectives to validate with the business. Creating a common set of objectives was key to establishing a foundation for my design decisions and reasoning.

Customer goals, Business goals

Customer Jobs to be done paired with brand and business objectives

Core journeys & ideation

  • Kicked ideation phase a collaborative design session with the core digital team.
  • Drawing on their input and reflections, I was able to begin sketching mobile-first page flows and designs.
  • Using wall space in the office, I created a map of insights and page concepts.
  • Mapped in competitors and other interesting design features
  • The wall soon became a topic of interest and intrigue as the digital team could see the design process in action.

Journey mapping workshops

Sketching early concepts

Design wall, collating sketches, insights


  • Sketched the core journeys
  • Iterated and transitioned into medium and high fidelity prototypes in Axure.
  • Created mobile and widescreen fully interactive prototypes
  • Hi-fi Prototypes was invaluable in user tests, as it gave a solid level of confidence before committing to the build phase and that we were on the right track.

Interactive Axure High fidelity Prototype demo walkthrough

User testing

  • Conducted over 25 user tests in US/UK over several weeks and iterated the prototype based on feedback
  • Created video highlights and shared with stakeholders to provide reassurance about the direction of the design.
  • Tests identified minor tweaks and areas we could improve. Such as the interaction around the image gallery, language, content on product pages, and checkout signposting.

Video highlight reel of user tests (Video sped up for this post)

Measuring emotion

Bipolar Emotional Response Technique method; A simple survey at end of user tests to track and measure the sentiment of experience.

This provided reassurance and built confidence in design and brand match.


Survey responses indicating positive sentiment

Development phase

  • Shared the prototype and created specifications in JIRA with the development agency (TACIT knowledge).
  • Worked in 2-week sprints moving through core page templates and functionality of the site.
  • Daily stand-ups with front-end developer to ensure understanding and troubleshoot any issues.

Bringing the business along

  • Created content and material to educate the business on agile, UX, and user research throughout the process.
  • Presented the new website at the annual all-hands meeting.
  • Demonstrated to business I wasn’t a ‘consultant or an outsider’ anymore. 
  • Communicated that I understood the brand, culture and its customers with the designs.

Final reflections

The design felt fairly intuitive as a retail site, and I had great UX/UI support from the amazing Ahillian. The biggest challenge was the organisational relationships and developing a clear understanding of user experience design. I had to find a way to position and protect the user experience design process from subjectivity. I did this by embedding and working alongside the culture and understanding the relationships that drove the business decisions.

I learnt a lot about working with senior stakeholders and considering the right level of information was. Sometimes the objective truth wasn’t what they needed and could confuse or create unnecessary distractions. So striking a balance of what was vital to share and what could make noise became essential. The result was a fantastic retail website designed and shipped in a phenomenally short time. I would also credit some great colleagues that supported me in what was a very challenging environment

Client feedback

Danny brought fantastic and such valuable insight to the Fitflop Digital re-platform. His approach to understanding the required customer experience and interpreting it through our digital platform has been first class. Through his presentation, he brought his understanding and approach to understanding customer experience to life in a way that engaged everyone in the team at Fitflop. I hope at some point I will work with and see Danny at work again !

– Simon Wright, Chief Operating Officer at Fitflop