A tool for store employees to quickly get inventory out of a backroom and take it to the sales floor. Previous tools involved a complicated process of scanning every case in a a section of backroom shelves, which employees rarely had time to complete every week and which had little perceived benefit.
Our new tool decreased the time it takes to move backroom inventory to the sales floor by 73%, was designed to build more trust in the system, and created a more enjoyable experience.
Ten people including a product, technical, business owner, and several engineers (frontend, backend, database). I was the lead designer on this project.
I worked on this product from the beginning as the UX Designer. All designs, drawings, prototypes and UI here are my own work. Due to COVID-19, product and business owners were allowed into the store to interact with store employees more frequently than designers, so they did most of the usability testing.
To build our understanding we visited several stores, interviewing employees about their current backroom experience and working the processes with them. We also took a look at our rules engine which determines whether an item should be picked or not to determine if it was actually effective.
Plotting a service blueprint showed us where & why the process was breaking down, and helped us understand where we could really make a positive impact.
Our interviews and experiences informed a service blueprint of the current experience to give us a holistic view of what was happening in the backroom. This helped us to discover different perspectives of the backroom (i.e. storyboarding potential futures) and explore various technical solutions that might help us solve our problems.
We narrowed our focus to solving 2 main backroom problems:
The current process had too many opportunities for human error and took longer than an employee was given to accomplish it.
The system often instructed employee to pick when they shouldn't or not to pick when they should.
From this scope, and due to other business decisions, we decided to try using AR on a handheld device (iOS, Android, Store Device) to simplify the current technical solution. Along with testing AR for picking, we would also explore and test new backroom configurations and inventory algorithms.
We knew that we needed to focus our efforts in two different ways: the AR phone application and the Backroom environment.
We discovered and enforced these design rules as we designed, tested and iterated on our new backroom tool, setup and process. This video from Apple WWDC talking about how to design for AR was particularly helpful.
Overlaying information about every case clutters app space and makes it hard to interact with other cases.
Use app space for viewing more information about an item, not world space.
Pick needs are not added to a queue for an associate to "check off" or batch picked, but are shown in world space and completed one-by-one.
There are 3 statuses a case can have: No Pick Needed, Pick Needed, or Picked. They may also have a selected state.
A case pick cannot be undone by the associate. If they didn't mean to pick something, it should just be left on the shelf and the system will detect it again the next day.
Associates should be able to jump to the Sales Floor Tool to view additional item information quickly, as that feature in the previous CAP process is currently used 2 million+ times per week chain-wide.
Item Information can only be viewed for "No Pick Needed" or "Picked".
"Pick Needed" and "Picked" AR Markers should be 30dp (Android), while "No Pick Needed" markers should be smaller at 24dp to create visual importance of Pick Needed and Picked items.
Our 2 prototypes for the backroom environment really centered around the function and usefulness of a bin, and how easy it was to find.
Larger bins with simpler navigation made it easier for associates to find and interact with bins. We chose this prototype to develop.
This prototype didn't work out because it added too much chaos and opportunity for error.
The new app and process have had particularly good results:
"This is significantly easier and a game changer for productivity. It's the greatest thing since sliced bread!"
- store employee
The new app and process have cut the time to get needed items to the sales floor by 73%!
It's been implemented in stores.