In collaboration with the New York City based startup BarterSugar, the team dove into this project with the objective to understand and deliver solutions based on client needs, and curiously infiltrate the design community of the New York City area to obtain the necessary resources and insights.
Team: Chris Swantz, Anna Deu
Duration: 3 weeks (plus ongoing consultation)
BarterSugar believes startups should focus on what they are good at opposed to dedicating valuable time and resources to what they don’t know. As a result, BarterSugar developed a service that allows startups to trade for what they need, in turn increasing their chances at market survival. Instead of utilizing a traditional monetary exchange, startups trade excess time, space, and inventory.
BarterSugar experiences an increasing number of account registrations; however there is a low conversion rate for exchanged good and services between registered users.
Brand Association Map (BAM)
To better understand the brand, we developed a diagram that began to dive into the character and personality of BarterSugar. The insights obtained from this diagram set the framework for interface and style, communication, and user flow.
In order to understand how BarterSugar stood within the market, we conducted a heuristic evaluation of three similar companies with the objective to learn what works well and what could be improved upon.
From this analysis, we focused on the elements that earned a 5, the highest rating. These elements would provide direction for how we could enhance the BarterSugar platform.
Primarily focused on startups and freelancers, we conducted a series of interviews with the objective to learn more about the following:
1. Resources Needed
2. Challenges Faced
3. Collaborative Culture
4. Contract Process
Through affinity mapping of our interview results, we were able to define three personas, with the addition of the corporate user.
Given our personas, we tested the existing site with similar users, to better understand their thought process and reactions to existing conditions. We synthesized our findings into a journey map, summarizing the emotions of the user as they move throughout the site. The map is then used to identify the three areas of improvement.
Research Report Culminates in Goals
In respect to our defined goals, we identified three solutions, or courses of action, that would then satisfy those goals.
Our first task was to redesign the backbone of the site, the information architecture. This IA would define the global navigation, as well as organize the sub-topics into respective categories.
With an abundance of options, features, and behaviors, we utilized two methods of feature prioritization to identify the necessary elements to implement. Through this process, the user and business goals were kept at the forefront of decision making.
To shape the focus of our design, user stories were generated based in the three personas. User journeys identify the processes being addressed, as well as the goals they meet. When accessing the prototype, the user journeys will help to guide the user through various pages.
Never forget where you came from, and never take your eyes off where you’re heading.
In the development of low-fidelity to high-fidelity wireframes, usability testing revealed areas of improvement. These recommendations were grounded in clarity, ease of use, aesthetics, and flow. One notable iteration revolved around the actual barter process between two users.
The iterations resulted in a complete redesign of the barter process. This new orientation of the the barter process is intended to support natural flow from upper left to right..