American Drapery Systems Inc is a family owned business that sells curtains, blinds and draperies to commercial clients. The company consists of two brothers, Josh and Berek. Together they communicate with clients, do site surveys, order products and dispatch installers to get the job done. They had a web application developed to help them keep record of the measurements Josh takes at site surveys. However, Josh and Berek don't currently use this system, because it is clunky and lacks necessary functionality. So they requested the next iteration to improve usability and meet their needs.
Jalen Even, Kiell Kosberg, Laura Martin, and Kaia Raid. We collaborated in the initial contextual inquiry of this redesign. Before meeting with Josh and Berek, we came up with a primary user research plan. From there, we shared notes but worked primarily alone to synthesize the data and prioritize problems. I worked independently from there to design and prototype the next iteration of the web application ADS Inc.
"Some kids went to Disney World for spring break, we hung cubicle curtains."
Cognitive Walkthrough and Contextual Inquiry
American Drapery Systems has a workflow that includes a lot of work arounds. Making a few changes to the current web application will alleviate major pain points and allow Josh and Berek Awend to spend less time copying and pasting files. A cognitive walkthrough illuminated the low hanging fruit. Some of these being the inability to upload photos to the site, the lack of detail included in the generated PDF and one screen where getting home wasn't possible without backing out.
The contextual inquiry allowed my team and I to interview Josh and Berek directly. We learned about their current workflow, their desired workflow and where these differ. Currently they are using Evernote, Quickbooks, Microsoft Word, Email, and a photo application to complete each job from inquiry, survey, purchase order, dispatch to installer and invoice.
"When the workflow is unencumbered, that's the best day."
From the contextrual inquiry I gained insights into the site survey process. This is the part of the process that the ADS app is being used most. Some of the key take aways were:
- Wifi is not always available.
- Josh wants to be able to set up a client profile and save it without entering measurements right away.
- Josh takes pictures at the sites and marks them up in evernote to communicate specifics to the installer.
This journey map affirmed that my focus needed to be on the the workflow at the survey site. This is where the bulk of the workarounds were happening. The survey site was also crucial to ensure that Josh and Berek had the correct information to move forward. A mistake in the measuring step would cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars down the line to reorder insufficient products.
Through basic synthesis and affinity diagramming, I identified pain points in the process and prioritized these problems.
Primary Problems: Inhibits basic functions of site
- Site isn't native and cannot be used without wifi.
- Client profiles cannot be saved without entering measurements.
- Have to use a third party app to take photos.
Secondary Problems: makes basic functions challenging
- Have to use an additional third party app to mark-up photos.
- Buttons lacked consistancy.
Tertiary Problems: makes basic functions cumbersome
- User gets stuck on PDF page, no way to get back to home screen.
- "Job Number" is not language the client uses. They manage jobs by PO number.
Wireframes and Interactive Prototyping
I introduced by recommendations through low fidelity wireframes and eventually an interactive prototype. These wireframes focused on the desired workflow from setting up a survey, completing the survey, and getting the survey information to installers during dispatch. By using the bulk of the existing application, Josh and Berek will be familiar with the functionality and will easily get accustomed to the new features.
In this iteration I added photo taking capabilities, markup options, a more prominent place for notes, and the option to create client profiles prior to the survey data being input. I also designed this application to be native to the Microsoft Surface, their current device. I also included a new logo for the app, standardized job language, and fixed a few bugs to ensure the user didn't get stuck on the PDF page.
Using this wireframe I created an interactive prototype using Adobe Illustrator and Invision. This not only provided a clear picture of my suggested changes, but also allowed opportunities for those ideas to be tested. Usability testing was not in the scope of work for this client, but in the future, I would have liked to test the changes prior to development. The changes made in this iteration of the ADS Inc application will provide Josh and Berek with the tools they need to record, share and save surveys from their many job sites. By making this application native and incorporating a camera, photo markup capabilities, and measures to ensure consistancy, ADS Inc has the potential to be a fully functional application that fits the needs of American Drapery Systems Inc.