Make It Clear, Fast & Easy

A New Start for a Windows-based Desktop Application

Naaja King
5 min readAug 23, 2015


Project Overview

CellSmart POS was designed by store owners and users appreciate how “closely it matches the day-to-day activities of a cellphone stores.” The customer base has grown to +1,000 stores primarily through word of mouth.

Challenge: The company needed to create a simple and user friendly product for the next version released. The point of the highest customer cancelations happened within 30 days of installing the product. The most common reason customers gave was the steep learning curve.

Opportunity: CellSmart plans to convert from a desktop-based application to a browser-based application with their next release.

Goal: Adapt the feature rich POS system to the browser-based environment while making the product more intuitive to shorten the learning curve for new customers.

My Responsibilities: As part of a 3 person team with a UX Researcher and an Interaction Designer, my role was UI Designer. I created the visual look & feel for the user interface. I also served as the primary point of contact with the client, facilitated meetings, scheduled contextual interviews & on-site usability testing. We all collaborated on user interviews, crafting personas, sketching options for how to improve the task flows, usability testing, creating the final high fidelity interactive prototype and we compiled all of our work into final recommendations documentation.


The project began with the research.

Competitive Research & Analysis

We looked at 8 potential competitors, then narrowed the list down to 3 companies who operated within the same Mom & Pop local Cellular Store market as CellSmartPOS. CellSmartPOS was the clear leader in terms of features and functionality.

Research Findings

We found that store owners and managers did not always rely exclusively on CellSmart POS to track their products & inventory. The reasons that was cited was the steep learning curve.

Contextual Inquiries: We visited 4 different stores to learn how a typical mom-and-pop cellular store operates.

When we spoke with the Help Desk manager, we found that adding & deleting inventory is one of the top three reasons customers contact tech support. The other top two issues were outside of our scope since they did not involve the User Interface (printer support and slow connection).

The owners and managers that we interviewed told us that 80% of all in-store transactions were customers paying their monthly pre-paid bills in cash. Since the vast majority of these customers paid their bill at the same location every month, the basic information for these customers was already recorded in the system.

Usability Testing: The Desktop Version

When we walk through the system with users, we found that the critical call-to-action buttons were difficult to find.

Screenshots from the desktop version for paying a bill, the home page dashboard, new product.

User with Minimal POS experience:

  • 3.5 mins to complete bill payment process
  • Found it difficult to navigate back to the dashboard
  • Disoriented by the excessive amount of buttons and tabs

User with Significant POS experience:

  • 1:29 mins to complete bill payment process
  • Was overwhelmed by the amount of information on the screen
  • Found some buttons misleading or confusing


The next step was to synthesis our findings to determine what was most important to the user, and what was most relevant to the business goals, such as reducing customer calls to tech support.


Based on our research, we saw three distinct types of users emerge. We crafted personas to represent users who had similar behaviors and goals:

Feature Prioritization

We determined which features to focus on based on the expected frequency of use and their alignment with business goals.


We made a plan for how we could make the product more user friendly.

Our first recommendation was to condense and simplify the navigational information architecture. We proposed condensing the secondary navigation to 23 subcategories to alleviate confusion and allow the user to rely more on recognition instead of requiring them to commit 42 subcategories to memory.

We sketched out possible layout solutions for the Home Page Dashboard, the Bill Payment screens and how to combine the Inventory processes with the Product lists.


We were able to streamline the Payment Process workflow. Decreasing it by 8–10 clicks/actions (depending on whether the user was already in the system or not), and by 4 pages/pop-ups.

The light blue actions and pages indicate steps that were combined or eliminated in the process.

We tested our sketches with users, incorporated their feedback, then created basic wireframes. We then tested the wireframes with users, some with basic POS experience and some without any POS experience.

User did not see the calls to action for printing the receipt when they were placed under the receipt. They were looking for the calls to action in their activity area in the center of the page.
Users did find the space to enter the confirmation number. More visual emphasis was placed on the call to action and the title of the field was changed to include multiple verbiage used on multiple external carrier payment portals.
An additional button to add multiple unique IMEI numbers for products that require individual numeric identifiers, while using the same product descriptions.

Download the Iterations to see the findings and the resulting features.

We addressed the stumbling blocks that users encountered and moved to an interactive prototype.

Download the Annotated Wireframes with Use Cases and User Stories.

You can also try the Interactive Prototype for the upcoming proposed browser-based version of CellSmartPOS.

Next Steps

  • Further usability testing with additional users
    Conduct usability tests on additional features and user flows once designed
  • Consider which types of data can be accessed by all users vs. which should be limited to specific users and/ or locations
    This is an option that will be more feasible to explore once the browser based system is deployed
  • Explore different options for responsive layout
    Conduct user research to identify needs specific to mobile platform