rapid prototyping // myParcels

“ It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them” - Steve Jobs

Rapid prototypes is the early stage of development that ensure you’re moving in the right direction. It will also let you quickly share that direction with teammates, customers, and prospects without investing in the actual development.

I will now share my rapid prototype process step-by-step for designing myParcels- a mobile app to enhance online shopping experience.

Interview with one of the users

01. User Research:

“ Pay attention to what the users do, not what they say” — Jakob Neilsen

  1. Make a hypothesis by identifying three pain points that users might have for online shopping experience from my own experience: payment, delivery, product browsing
  2. Draft questions for user interviews using my assumptions that involves their shopping behavior (mainly focused on bad experiences)
  3. Conduct interviews with target user group: anyone who shops online
What I learned during this phase is to step out of the problem I assumed first and just let users share their own behavior. Everyone experience online shopping differently so by asking them to share their bad experiences, I could dig out what the problems are.

02. Research Analysis

  1. Collect all the information from user interviews to narrow down the problems
  2. Make an affinity map that identifies three main pain points the users are experiencing with online shopping: delivery, customer support, getting wrong product
  3. Focus on one problem to elaborate on: getting their shipments on time
During the interview phase, I received many comments about bad customer support due to delivery issues. I find that most users have a hard time knowing what time their package is arriving. Most of the websites have tracking but it doesn’t tell you what time it will arrive. This creates a problems if the package requires a signature. Many users also find that they usually don’t get immediate customer support in case of emergency.
Quick sketch of the storyboard to illustrate a scenario

03. User Flow and Storyboard

  1. Define the main tasks for the app step-by-step: add in an existing order from the website they just purchased from, select their prefered delivery time, track their packages when they are close to the delivery date, contact the messenger if necessary
  2. Create a user flow of how they interact with myParcels from step 1 to the last step
  3. Imagine a person using myParcels and what steps they will encounter
I had a hard time making an user flow because I really had to simplify each step and what would users see or react to the page. I find that it would be easier to note all the main actions first, identify the actions/decisions at each flow, then put them all back into a coherent flow chart.
An user testing out the paper prototype

04. Prototyping

  1. Sketch the wireframe of each screen onto a piece of paper, starting from the homepage then move onto the next according to the user flow chart
  2. Test the paper cutouts with users and find out what doesn’t make sense to them
  3. Refine the prototypes according to the user feedbacks
  4. Repeat the steps until users can navigate through easily
At first, I used “start tracking” as first button to start the page but they did not know what this is as they won’t have an existing order to track. Therefore, I had to reword it to “add an order” so that the users understand the initial step. After a few user testings, I had to omit out many steps I designed before because users simply didn’t get what they are for.
A Lo-Fi mockup of myParcels

05. Learnings and Finding

  1. Focus on the problem before thinking about the solution: I often jump ahead to thinking how the final product is going to be like but through this exercise, I realized that UX is PROBLEM (before) SOLVING
  2. Be clear about the intention of the app when presented to users because some of them think there’s no difference from existing delivery companies
  3. There’s still lots of room for improvement: after hearing the feedbacks, some improvements I would do is to implement this into websites that can incorporate the service of myParcels with their existing delivery method
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