Digitizing a Validation & Ordering Process
I performed interaction design on a platform intended to digitize manual validation and ordering processes for custom products.
The platform had to incorporate
- the selection of products according to a user’s eligibility,
- several types of customization,
- translations for a global audience,
- the technical affordances of the Clover POS
My team included the SME’s in my client’s office, internal IT, and a 3rd party development team.
Goals & Methods Overview
Understand the Environment, Ordering Options, and Logic
I needed to understand the ordering process in detail, all the available product option types, the qualification rules, and the environment where sales took place.
Method: SME Interviews
I spoke with SMEs and began drafting up a journey map as a single asset for all information pertaining to the ordering process.
Ensure Useful & Usable Software
I needed to make sure that the software actually solved the problems that various stakeholders were having, and that it didn’t create more problems in the process.
Method: User Interviews, Prototyping, Demos, Testing
I shared prototypes of the software with internal members and walked through the process.
Obviate Risk of a Very Short Timelines
We had 3 months to produce working software. There was a lot to be careful about.
Method: Constant communication with development, SMEs, and IT
I maintained open communication channels with the development team to ensure they received sufficient technical information; with the SMEs to ensure we were solving the right problems; and with IT to properly incorporate qualification rules.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the work
Define, Analyze, Ideate
My first interview was with the sponsor. The problem was expensive and persistent. In our initial interviews we covered high level themes like:
- what were our opportunities for digitization here?
- how do we see this solution integrating with existing environment?
In addition to:
- who are the buyers?
- how do staff presently tend to them?
- what are some insights and challenges shaping the current process?
- what are some problems with the current process?
- how does staff process the orders?
From this meeting, I was able to begin drafting an itinerary of the steps taken during sales process from start to finish.
Since I was preparing the specifications document for a development quote, I wanted to make sure we had details regarding the qualification criteria, but also details about the database schema used to source these criteria.
I spoke with a prospective vendor regarding the details they wanted, and included them in the specifications document.
One such asset was a table containing the qualification criteria for each product.
From User Journey to Initial Sketches
While continuing to discover more about the workflow, I sketched out the screens and general UI elements that seemed necessary on sheets of paper.
Protyping & Validating
And Then Paper Prototyping
I presented the flows to the SME and we walked through it as they explained what they thought was going on in each screen.
We changed the flow 2-3 times and made numerous valuable notes thanks to the decades of experience presented by the SMEs during this process.
We Change the Flow Based on New Information
Walking through the flow, the SME identified 2 significant issues.
The Changing Lives of Buyers
While qualifications required to purchase certain products didn’t change, buyer’s themselves changed through time. Their names changed, their professional lives changed, and so on. We needed to allow for this flexibility within the flow.
This meant that we needed to allow buyers to enter different names and professional designations for each product they purchased. Originally, these details were entered once in the beginning of the process and used for every product.
Opening the Door to Identity Fraud
All this flexibility in identity increased the possibility for identity fraud. I wanted to make sure that the digitization process didn’t eliminate the existing barrier of human appraisal preventing this type of fraud from occurring.
When the product information was transferred to a cashier, we made it easy to cross check the names we had on file with the names provided by the buyer for each product.
Designing for Failure
Besides for thinking a lot about about the path we want our buyers to take, we considered the ways they might fail to complete.
Then we designed the system to correct or accommodate these failures.
Increasing the Fidelity with Figma
When the flow and UI appeared largely to have stabilized, I wireframed the results in Figma. I paid particular attention to making sure all necessary elements and critical flows were represented.
Challenges and questions were identified and addressed for the web app’s RFP.