HomeSlice Case Study
JULY 2020 - AUGUST 2020
USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN
As a part of a 12 week intensive UX Diploma program at BrainStation Vancouver, I had to develop a personal Capstone project by observing the world around and identify opportunities for design intervention.
Since the pandemic is such a significant moment of the year I thought to explore how people have adapted to a new lifestyle of staying home.The time of quarantine has been a revelation to people in terms of finally getting around to doing things they have been putting off. This has led to a rise in home chefs, artists, “instagram businesses”.With all these new home businesses coming up, subsequently there is a limitation now face to face pickup or expensive courier services to do pick up and drop off services.
For this project I proposed HomeSlice, a delivery service and marketplace to strictly support people who are trying to execute their home business related to clothing, art , food and more and help provide better customer service to their consumers.
What is HomeSlice?
It is a marketplace for local home businesses to connect to customers in their own city to build their local customer base and give them a slice from their home. HomeSlice allows business owners to provide local same day delivery through the app itself. It helps amateur business owners manage their logistics and is more fuss free.
For customers, it provides a one stop shop to support local business and have access to unique items, request custom work and more.
Focus on optimizing the interface experience for home business owners
Provide a fulfillment and delivery service targeting to home business owners.
Create a marketplace for home businesses with consumers in their area who would be interested in purchasing local.
Motivate more people to start their home business idea.
Small Home Business owners (artists, home cooks, vintage clothing vendors etc)
Home Business Owners, Delivery staff, Consumers
Individual home businesses have to operate through Instagram, Etsy, Depop or Facebook marketplace. That does a great job of listing but not taking care of fulfillment like Uber eats does for restaurants.
For some home businesses, they just want to operate out of home but local fulfillment is only either through pick up or local courier service or personally delivering.This becomes inconvenient for people who want to pick up the product during COVID-19 but also delivery for business owners while they are trying to bootstrap their business. This also lets them get a private channel for listing.
This will prioritize people who want to start strictly home businesses and target people who want to support and discover local businesses.
It has come out of the new movement of “ support Local Businesses” who are only general and depend on local sales. It will strengthen the relationship between a consumer and a home business owner who doesn't want to go through the loop of government licensing etc.
Future prospects I believe more people will be motivated to start their own stores and create a name . This led to my " How might we question",
" How might we increase exposure for home businesses to find target audiences and streamline the fulfillment of product between them locally? "
My Design Process
I wanted to spend some time analyzing all the avenues that home business owners currently use to run their businesses along with some delivery channels and conducted a competitive analysis with existing platforms to illustrate the pros and cons of each platform.
Competitive Analysis Table
After conducting some secondary research, I had a set list of assumptions on my proposed concept and mapped them out before conducting primary research ( interviews) . This is will allow me to keep in mind what kind of questions to frame for the interviews.
1. I believe my customers have a need to have a local delivery service that focuses on fulfilling orders for home businesses and reaching local customers.
2. These needs can be solved with/by creating a marketplace focused on local businesses and product fulfilment.
3. My initial users are (or will be) Home business owners (startups).
4. The #1 value a person/user wants to get from my product/service is to connect to their target customer base immediately and make a good first impression.
5. The user can also get these additional benefits product fulfilment and exposure.
6. I will acquire the majority of my users through word of mouth and advertising+ discounts.
7. I will make money by charging businesses a listing fee and a monthly shipping fee to take care of fulfilment.
8. My primary competition in the marketplace will be Etsy/ Varagesale/ Depop.
9. We will beat them due to creating a localized experience for all kinds of business and not just arts and crafts.Additionally doing product fulfilment.
10. My biggest risk is making sure there is a good and seamless process of delivery between a delivery person, business owner and consumer with no damage to the product.
After mapping out my assumptions I felt more in a prepared position to go forward with my user interviews.
To understand what motivated users to start their home businesses and dissect their pain points, motivations and behaviours in regards to running solely online operations, I conducted 3 separate interviews with different kinds of small home business owners that are hosting their businesses on various platforms Due to the COVID-19 pandemic these interviews were conducted over Zoom.
Key Insights: Themes
Finding a channel to connect to their target user that is local people in the area. They are only able to ship to those who live in their city and they only get orders if they get referrals, hold giveaways, collaborate with other local creators.
2. DELIVERY ( PACKAGING)
They find it frustrating to ship any product locally as they need to specially package it to prepare it for damage but there are also difficulties if the person is not home. Pick up is inconvenient for their customers which is ideal for the business owners. Delivery is time consuming as well.
Most of these businesses use social media to receive orders and marketing their business which becomes difficult for them to index and keep track of who is ordering first and maintaining a track of stock. Those tools are not built to handle transactions.
Persona and Experience Mapping
Using my key insights from the interviews I proceeded to create a persona and a user experience map to understand a user’s journey from creating a product to fulfilling orders and mapping out their thoughts and feelings. This is to help visualize the specific pain points within a business owner to begin developing user stories and epics to select a task flow.
Selecting a Task Flow
Once 40+ user stories were listed, I categorized them into 3 different epics; listing , delivery and revealing orders.
Next steps were to create two potential task flows to explore. One was a simple way for businesses to list their product to get their store out to their target audience immediately. The second task flow is illustrating the business owner receiving an order and booking a delivery car to fulfill it.
However the first task flow did not highlight the local delivery system and keeping track of an index that I wanted to integrate into the local business experience which was one of the pain points I found during my interviews. The second task flow did a much better job of focusing on the MVP of the HomeSlice application.
Task Flow Diagram : Business owner receives incoming order and fulfills local delivery
Once a task flow was selected, I proceeded to ideate and iterate on some paper sketches and wireframes.
The first prototype has an undefined typeface and was not focused on stylistic decisions but more on the actual function of the app.
I wanted to find a way to integrate the customer interface into the app using references from apps like Depop and VarageSale to organize the navigation bar and based the user journey around the idea that the business owners themselves can use the app to order from it as well in someway.
1st Grayscale Wireframe Iteration
3rd Grayscale Wireframe Iteration
User testing was essentially to help assist in iterating the grayscale wireframes. I did a total of 2 rounds of usability testing before reaching my final grayscale prototype.
Below is an in depth gallery of all the outcomes and updates made between wireframe prototypes.
Selecting a Colour Palette
Looking at my keywords and mood board I began to experiment with various potential colour palettes for my UI.
I thought something like a home business would promote warmth and comfort to a consumer but I also found that making any one of these shades a dominant colour may allude to a food related app that I definitely wanted to avoid so I wanted to consider it as a sub dominant colour.
I wanted to incorporate a colour that denoted professionalism to make the user feel like they were operating from a serious app and saw cooler tones referenced that. I found blue tones too coporate and strict for something like a home business that has some love put into it. Therefore I considered a purple tone as the primary shade as it has red tones which gives a blue a softer tone. I also find it a gender neutral colour.
Green also signifies new beginnings, growth and wealth which made me choose a green shade as an accent colour as well.
Word Mark and Logo
Home slice | Definition
(slang) A close friend from your neighbourhood
I wanted to name the application something that alluded to the ‘Home” as it is based around home businesses but also have it reference “local”. Therefore I settled on HomeSlice.
My priority with the logo is to move away from any indicators that the app was centred around food or furniture as the words “Home” and “Slice” might make an outsider think that.
I started with a simple house with a slice logo but wanted to make it a little bit more abstract and minimalist and explored colour ways and positions to apply it. I finally selected the wordmark with the brand colour and the house icon in the accent brand colour.
While looking at word mark options, I found myself preferring the look of Avenir Heavy as the main logo to keep the branding consistent through out the application but then proceeded to do some logo explorations to integrate with the wordmark.
Users can have two accounts within the same app; one as a business account and one as a consumer account. Use can switch between the two by long-pressing down on the profile button similar to Instragram's.
Business tools include, managing a user's store by giving them control to "close" and "open" their shop using a toggle switch.
Users can have a small pop up of an order summary when they receive a notification so that they can start prepping for delivery. They can choose to approve of the order or send a message to their buyer if there are any complications.
User can set a timer to prep their order to allow the system to send a follow up notification for a user to request a delivery driver to send product out locally.
To ensure products have safely been collected by the driver, a confirmation OTP will be given by the driver for the user to enter when products are being picked up. This creates a security for any high value items.
Interact with the High Fidelity Prototype HERE!
This will prioritize people who want to start strictly home businesses and target people who want to support and discover local businesses. I hope for new owner to feel supported and included by giving them the tools to provide better customer service to their customers and adapt to the pandemic environment. HomeSlice has the possibility to create more jobs and motivated attitudes as well.
It has come out of the new movement of “ support Local Businesses” who only general and depend on local sales. It will strengthen the relationship between a consumer and a home business owner who don’t want to go through the loop of government licensing etc.
In the future I think more people will be motivated to start their own stores and create a name .
It was amazing to see how much could be achieved in a matter of only 10 weeks to create an end to end experience and solve a problem caused by the pandemic.
For next steps I would like to flesh out the logistics of the delivery service among the other stakeholders like delivery staff.
I would also like to expand on how the consumer facing end of the application and create flows on the other epics such as filtering, purchasing and payment.
Overall I would love to see my product idea come to life through development.
60 % of US consumers order delivery or takeout at least once a week.
87% of Americans who use third-party food delivery services agree that it makes their lives easier.
33% of consumers say they would be willing to pay a higher fee for faster delivery service.
From February to April there was a 169% increase in the number of restaurants actively using Online Ordering with Upserve as restaurants quickly innovated and pivoted to takeout and delivery, paired with an 840% increase in weekly sales via online ordering.
Non-mask sales on Etsy were up 79% year over year in the month of April,” Etsy CEO Josh Silverman says.
Here are some statistics I gathered to contextualize the problem space: