Tropique Australia

Project Background

Tropique is a boutique cushion manufacturer based in Sydney, Australia. Tropique’s online store was receiving high volumes of traffic, however they were converting only a small portion of sales. Tropqiue understood they needed to do something about their website but was not sure where to start or how to approach the website redesign.

Their goals — increase time spent on their site, use of the site to entice an in-store visit and increase sales of the online store.


Tropique wanted to not only increase their online sales, but to close their showroom completely and move online entirely. As such, we had to understand how users valued the in-store visit vs purchasing cushions online.

Project Duration

6 Weeks

My Role

UX & UI Design
User Research

Market Research 
Website Design and Build


Myself - Freelance.

First and foremost, we needed to understand why their current website wasn't working, and what is most important to users when browsing for and purchasing cushions.

I broke this project up into two distinct phases:

Understanding the Audience - through user research, market research, and competitive analysis. Then define what we learn into insights (our KPI’s) for use as actionable design criteria.

Developing the Solution - using lean design techniques, develop solutions to test with target users, then learn & improve to land on a final outcome.

The Old Site

It was clear with the old website and Tropique's large range of 200+ cushions, the content on their website was added to overtime and now cluttered and congested, diluting their core message.

We needed to understand what was most important to target users so we could get clear on, and simplify the core message.


Tropique's old website on desktop and mobile.

There's more than one way to sk.. find a cushion.

For this reason, I needed to understand the right terminology to use and how the information should be laid out to ensure all information including any single cushion would be easy to find. 

This is the 'All Cushions' Page.

This is the cushion's detail view. 

So, who better to tell us how to do it than Tropique's target audience.

Understanding the Audience

Working with Tropique on defining her known best customers and target users, I developed a research plan with set objectives of what we needed to understand. This covered:

  1. Card sorting exercises to see how people categorise and search for cushions 
  2. User Research to understand how much consideration users gave to the in-store experience of purchasing cushions vs online

  3. User Research and Testing to understand the end to end buying process of a cushion and the role of the website plays

I guerilla tested the current website and competitors sites with Tropique's target audience and yes, you heard right - I bribed many Mum's with free coffee for their time. (All of which were a delight I must add). All of these women were chosen at random, and none of whom had ever heard of Tropique before which was great as it ensured no bias to the findings.

Sample findings

“looking at the homepage, it's hard to tell what they do at a glance - do they do outdoor furniture or decks? You don’t realise it’s cushions unless you click through to the store”

“oh, I didn’t know they were a local boutique business, that changes everything!”

Synthesing data to form design criteria

Synthesising key themes from the sum of all data revealed 5 key insights. These insights formed Tropique's persona, meet Kylie Mills. Kylie represents the needs, likes, dislikes characteristics and scenarios of our research. Kylie's now who we're designing for, with each statement serving as key design criteria.  

A key finding from our research was, users needed to see the cushion at least once - whether that be at a friends house, at the mall on display, or instore to pick it up and validate for themselves that the cushions high quality before being comfortable purchasing them online. When seen once however, they'd then on be comfortable purchasing cushions online.

For Tropique, this meant for they'd had to keep the showroom open, to enable users the option to visit to see cushions on their first purchase with the brand. 


Developing the solution

Working within Tropiques budget, there were 'must haves', and 'nice to haves'. To determine what was most important, we did a feature prioritisation on how well each feature met Tropiques design criteria.

Of the 25 features, we selected the top 3 for the MVP, developed wireframes and a low fidelity prototype, and put it in front of new target Tropique users to see what they thought. 

60% of users browsed on Mobile, so I used mobile for testing.

Testing a Low-Fi Prototype

Designing for our persona Kylie, the user had context Tropique was a cushions business and a preview of what to expect within the site.

They knew right away they are looking at a boutique, local manufacturer and it was clear from the start Tropique has a high-quality premium feel. 

Knowing from Google analytics the most popular visited pages, we added category and descriptive pages as a result with options to browse their top-level categories as identified within the research. Finally, there's a map letting the user know they can visit the showroom to see the cushions for themselves.


Design backed by Rationale

Findings and final tweaks from testing with a new group of target users found:

  • users loved the premium feel and had an entirely different, positive experience compared to the old site
  • users hit 100% of tasks set, compared to 20% on the last site. 
  • We received great feedback, some we hadn't anticipated - all feedback informing the site's design. 

The Results. 

The site is far easier for staff to maintain saving time and money on updating it.

People are achieving tasks and finding single cushions 80% quicker than comparable on the old site.

Tropique hit 80% of their monthly sales average in the first 10 days of the site's launch! And the site's been going great ever since.


Higher sales in the first month


Time spent browsing the site


Sales doubled online

Words of Tropique


I wanted to let you know what a great job you did on our website migration and how impressed I am with the UX . 

As you know I was a little unsure about making the change, however you made it so easy for me to decide – the process and experience with developing a site on customer experience as opposed to business owner knowledge was exactly what we needed – the site looks great,  simple to manage and our customers are sending us positive feedback. 

In addition, I appreciate the consultative approach you took to assessing our needs and how we wanted our site reflected  – you listened & interpreted exactly the Tropique vibe. 

Thank you so much! 

Rebecca Bickersatff
Creative Director | Owner

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