Case Study • June 14, 2020
By Jeff Schwedes
I was one of five UX designers for Neural Trend, a small startup company which provides a confidence score at the product level.
This allows retailers to make purchase decisions before approaching vendors. This saves retailers time and money and enables them to focus more on the business. They break down each component of the research, further giving retailers increased information to source their products with high confidence that results in increased sales and revenue.
During this project, we solely focused on the information organization of client and vendor content accessed through their existing user dashboard. As one of five designers responsible for this project, I both led and corresponded with the Neural Trend team while building out the designs. I conducted multiple rounds of research. I produced sketches, wireframes, micro-interactions, and mockups. I helped deliver final assets and documents, supervised the development, verified product micro-interactions, and iterated again for multiple rounds.
We performed a light competitive analysis, 6 direct competitors, and 2 indirect. We used it to gauge which elements our competition was prioritizing in comparison to us. It turned out that we actually had a lot of the core features our competition had. However, there was still a massive opportunity to be had in the design and development of how the information on the platform was organized, allowing for more intuitive user experience.
Users will have easy access to the rationale and methods the product employs to help them make better decisions.
Extend the solution to every one
It is important to consider the context in which your users are interacting with the product and design the experience to be clear and effortless to everyone, from the tech-savvy to the novice.
Connected and relevant
As users filter down to specific results, the larger scope will remain available to them with ease empowering users with the ability to make full circle buying decisions.
Predictable organization (utilize industry best practices and layout solutions)
Always utilizing industry best practices for layout and visual solutions ensures users will intuitively navigate the product.
We conducted a total of 10 interviews, 4 were workshops where we had the users conduct Synthesis methodology (thematic analysis). This gave us a very clear idea of how buyers and planners work and how would they use the platform, helping the team create a few different use cases. For the workshops, we had members from the Neural Trend team along with a buyer from a direct competitor as participants. We also conducted 6 concept testing interviews, the feedback helped us generate ideas on how to organize our structure layout of the platform for the buyer.
Rapid mid-fidelity prototypes with limited functionalities. were used for directional discussions. We utilized feedback from multiple retail department roles, and although one department’s insights would sometimes differ or conflict with another department role, we were able to converge the 3 concepts into one. The mid-fidelity prototypes were then placed in front of users (retailers, buyers, and direct competitors) for concept testing to see what their feedback was.
Concept Testing Findings
Through our concept testings, we noted that regardless of the information being displayed within the platform it was how to customize the information being displayed that made all the difference. Based on variations of preferences expressed by our users, the customizability of the dashboard was key to delivering a valuable product that allowed multiple department roles to use the platform in a more intuitive user-friendly habitat.
The team conducted a semi-structured, moderated, and scripted usability test. All usability test sessions consisted of a set of 5 tasks to complete - defined by the team in relation to the prototype - with additional follow-up questions during and after the task was completed. Participant questions regarding how to complete a task were not answered until after all tasks were completed.
We reported qualitative and quantitative findings, as well as our key insights and actions taken away from the test results. This helped guide our team’s next steps and iteration.
All usability test sessions were conducted remotely via computer using. All quantitative and qualitative metrics were recorded.
Usability Test Results
• Easy and super easy were terms we often heard after the completion of tasks
• Platform should provide brand recommendations to vendors.
• User reported confusion over “brands” vs “vendors” A/B test some labeling in bulk
• Users navigated the product differently, and got the same result.
• Users who struggled with a task still rated the product highly, citing any new system will take time to learn and there will be a learning curve.
For Micro-interactions I wanted to create an event that had one main task — a single purpose. The purpose is to delight the user; to create a moment that is engaging, welcoming, and, dare I say it — human.
For this micro-interaction, I thought it would be engaging to show an automated response when the user selects different categories.
Vendor Mid Fidelity Prototype
A rapid mid-fidelity prototype with limited functionality was used for directional discussion in regards to a vendor side of the platform. We utilized feedback from a small retailer. Future iterations will be monitored and developed by the UI and development team. Annotated wireframes were included in the final deliverables handoff.
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