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Especially Puglia


Liz Mak (Researcher)
Winnie Chin (Designer/PM)


UX Writer
UX Researcher
Content Strategist


Google Surveys (screener)

Sketch (wireframes/mocks)

InVision (prototype/tests)
Keynote (presentation/report)


16 days

Consultation and UX recommendations for an international CSA with a focus on writing for effective storytelling

Adopt Main_edited.jpg
Storytelling is an essential part of any good brand.

My team worked as consultants with an olive-tree adoption/ international CSA service to recommend ways to retain customers utilizing methods to enhance the connection between the company, its story, and its customers.

Problem Space

Especially Puglia prides itself on providing quality, artisanal products made with traditional techniques. The company has seen success since its initial Kickstarter campaign in 2014 but has been experiencing issues with customer retention as most purchases are one-time gift adoptions. We were consulted to help improve the company’s customer retention and encourage repeat purchases.


After some initial research, we discovered that one of the greatest values of Especially Puglia is not only the background and mission of the company but also the individual stories of the people who produce its products using sustainable, small-scale farming methods. And we went into research with the assumption that doing all that we can to enhance user-connections through storytelling would be our best bet to improve customer retention.

Business Research

To better understand Especially Puglia and its functions as a business, we used several tools to examine the business itself and the features offered on their homepage in comparison to direct and indirect competitors. The tools leveraged in this phase were a Business Model Canvas and a Competitive/Comparative Feature Analyses.

Key Takeaways

  • Especially Puglia has a high volume of features that meet user needs

  • Some features found on other websites were not present on Especially Puglia, such as:

    • subscription w/recurring charges 

    • membership tiers

    • members-only perks

  • There was very little variation as far as features across indirect competitors


Competitive Feature Analysis used to compare features between Especially Puglia and its direct competitors (olive tree adoption/CSAs)

User Research

We used a screener survey to target users who had various experiences with subscription boxes and CSAs, and we were able to conduct interviews with 13 users. The information and observations taken from these interviews were then compiled for use in an affinity map to better organize the large amount of information that was gathered.


Sample of affinity map

Key Takeaways

We used the affinity map and the resulting i-statements to derive the following insights based on user interviews:

  • Customers are price-sensitive but will pay more as long as they know the product is high-quality and/or supports a cause they care about. 

  • Customers wish to support a product that is connected to real people and their stories; they value authenticity. 

  • Customers are always evaluating the relationship between price and perceived value to determine if they will continue their subscription.

  • Customers see box subscriptions as a treat for themselves as well as for others; they appreciate good packaging and presentations that add to the “gift” experience. 

  • Customers are sensitive to potential wastage and appreciate it when the company displays awareness of this issue through packaging or the product itself. 

  • Customers are always evaluating the credibility of the business to determine whether they should sign up. 

The User


Our user research gave us what we needed to formulate a profile for Jules, a typical customer, which we could then use to help us make the right decisions moving forward.

Some key facts about Jules:

  • She values connection

  • She will pay a premium for quality products and service

  • Lack of transparency and trust are pain points when it comes to products

Analysis & Recommendations

Before moving into design, we also utilized an Heuristic Analysis—a powerful tool that would aid in enhancing the user experience by allowing us to thoroughly examine the client's website from the user's perspective and discover areas of improvement.

This tool looks at ten different subjects that together, form the basis of good usability, including accessibility, clarity, communication, credibility, value, and delight.

Especially Puglia scored well overall, but there's room for improvement across all subjects, and there were issues that could be addressed under the various categories of the heuristic analysis. Below is a sample of the recommendations that we made.

Accessibility Issues

Does it comply with accessibility standards? 

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Clarity Issues

Can a typical user easily understand it?  

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Communication Issues

Is a sense of place/location properly communicated?   


I made a suggestion to rename page from "Visit Puglia" to "Experience Puglia” to better communicate what is contained on the page, but this suggestion also relates to value and delight because "experiences" are an important element of products and services like Especially Puglia's.

Credibility Issues

Is it credible?   

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InVision Prototype

You can view an example of our final prototype below.


Want more details? View my team's full report below.

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