Emperor's Treasury

Emperor’s Treasury is an art/antique ​store in NYC. While they have a brick and mortar location in Manhattan, much of their business takes place online or over the phone. 

Before they came to me, they had no personalized website, only an Ebay store. They wanted an e-commerce site that:

  • Represented their brand
  • Showcased their thousands of items of inventory in an intuitive way, and
  • Was responsive

My Role

User Researcher, UI Designer, Information Architect, Project Manager

My Team

Me + one developer


Summer 2019


Mood-boarding, Style Guide, Card-sorting

Visual Identity

To kick-off this project, the client and I explored the tone and mood of Emperor’s Treasury via a mood board. We collected photos/graphics for inspiration and taglines (like “beautiful and affordable wholesale art for your home and business”).

When I came onboard, Emperor’s Treasury already had a logo designed by someone else that the client wanted to use. I pulled colors and symbols from this logo to inform my choice of color scheme and typography. Using this combined with elements from our mood board, I created a style tile to guide my designs.

Information Architecture

Emperor’s Treasury had thousands of pieces of inventory for sale, from watercolors to lamps. My challenge was to develop the taxonomy of this inventory and structure/label all of it on their website in a way that was intuitive to users.

Card Sorting

To get an understanding of how users interpret, categorize, and define this inventory, I conducted a series of card sorting tests. I targeted folks who fit the persona of a typical Emperor’s Treasury shopper: middle-aged adults with disposable income who have at least some experience shopping for art and/or antiques. I wrote each inventory type (portraits, chandelier, etc.) on separate index cards and asked users to arrange them into categories that made sense to them.


All users grouped household items, like lamps, chandeliers and vases in one group, so I reasoned to create a “tangibles” category. Based on competitor research, I named this category “Art Objects.”

Most users tended to group categories according to time period (art deco, impressionist), so I made this a sub-category under certain genres.

Responsive Web Design

I made Emperor’s Treasury a responsive site by beginning with mobile designs, then creating their desktop versions.

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