Re-imagining Modern SaaS for Ecommerce Logistics
The world of digital logistics is vast and follows very little industry-wide standardization. In developing markets like India, South-east Asia, and Africa, a majority of the workforce has next to no technical knowledge and rising consumer expectations from e-commerce customer puts them under a lot of pressure.
A modern SaaS solution for e-commerce logistics must be adaptable to regional and business specific anomalies, should be scalable with the business, while never compromising on any design affordance and thus keeping the training required to a minimum and should be scale-able with the business.
Step 1 : Deep dive into the problem
Redesigning a legacy enterprise system isn’t the same as designing something from scratch. One has to deal with user mental models created by the previous designs, hundreds of software anomalies and long list of requirements/expectations from every department concerned. However, what you do get is access to thousands of active users and tons of data from past years.
I started the project with one on ones with every direct and indirect stakeholder, from the CEO to Head of Sales, to Customer Support Manager, to every training executive. Soon after developing an understanding of the company business, I designed a User Research Plan. The plan covered our assumptions on user behavior, expectations, pain-points and recommended ways to verify those assumptions.
Step 2 : Define Project Goals
A project this size cannot be executed in isolation. I decided to democratize the design process and involved everyone. I facilitated a slightly improvised version of Jake Knap’s Design Sprint. Part of this Sprint we also squeezed a card-sorting exercise and a couple of Brain-drawing sessions.
After days of discussions, back & forth & back again, we decided to focus on solving three major problems:
System was using a nomenclature that wasn’t native to our users and this increased the training time for every new user, thus increasing business cost.
Even simple & frequent tasks required a high number of clicks to complete, thus decreased efficiency & increased business cost.
Scaling an account was difficult because features in the product weren’t packaged together for easy upgrades.
Step 3 : Design-Prototype-Learn-Iterate
Soliciting feedback early and often is key behind success at this step. I shared design progress and ideas on a bi-weekly basis with the team, after 8 different prototypes, each with 40+ iterations on most screens we were able to lock on a solution that satisfied our project goals and cover all potential cases like error, success and deadends.
Step 4 : Obsess over Visual Design & Build a Design System
Getting the Visual Design right isn’t just about the layout, typography and visual hierarchy, but also to design a visual framework that is consistent and scalable to make future work more efficient.