I worked closely with a global shipping company to redesign their scanning device. The device is used by all individuals involved in the shipping process. To map existing use cases and develop a standard for interaction designs moving forward I held user research sessions with individuals from different roles in the shipping process. For this engagement I was working mostly onsite with the client and their development team as we iterated through design. The client project manager utilized an agile methodology to drive design and development.
Due to the complexity of the current system and the lack of documentation it was crucial to capture the tribal knowledge that had developed over the years. Engaging SME’s in working sessions to identify exceptions in workflows and voice current pain points was extremely helpful throughout the wireframing process. I made use of the clients floor to ceiling whiteboards by projecting wireframes and working collaboratively to sketch out changes and revisions. This hands on approach made it much easier for the SME’s to visualize their concerns and communicate their needs.
Few other devices have been used for such a wide variety of purposes.
The device has a touch screen, keypad, stylist, and a barcode scanner. We found that each hardware function was utilized differently across the user types.
Users were spread across warehouse employees, drivers, IT support, shift managers, and customer support. From desk workers to those in the field there was a wide range of roles that accessed the device. Due to the wide range of roles that accessed similar features the use of Personas was not as effective in mapping functionality to specific types of users. Instead we used User Archetypes to define groups of users based on the actions they wished to perform rather than on demographic or psychographic profiles.
What was handed off to the client was a series of wireframes annotated with recommendations on simplifying menu structures as well as other adjustments in simplifying the number of choices on a given screen. In many cases offering easy exit points in linger workflows and reducing the amount of manual re-entry on editing certain tasks. The software still had to cater to the multiple of user flows and varying ergonomics of all the different user archetypes that were identified. As personal devices evolve the expectations of "work" devices change over time. Implementing a plan for ongoing optimization will be a success factor of the client in this effort.