As a summer Digital Product Intern here at Casper, I’ve been focusing most of my cold-brew-on-tap-fueled work on improving the user experience for Bedpost. Bedpost, used by nearly 300 Casper employees, is a tool that contains all of our shipping and fulfillment information. It’s used for important and common tasks such as checking if a warehouse has enough inventory for a certain product, or investigating shipments when a customer calls in with an issue.
Though I’ve been meeting in-person with stakeholders all summer long to learn about their needs and pain points, I recently sent out a 16-question survey to our amazing Customer Experience and Operations teams, Bedpost’s primary users, in order to gather more usability insights.
Q + A Highlights
Though the survey included standard questions such as “What are the top 3 actions you perform on Bedpost?” and “How would you rate the ease of Bedpost’s navigation?”, the question that turned out to elicit the most helpful answers was “If Bedpost were an animal, what kind of animal would it be?” (Thanks to Lydia, who asked this during user interviews for Casper.com’s checkout flow, for the idea!)
Here are some of the answers I received:
Bedpost is Frankenstein — and that counts as an animal right?
An orca because it’s huge, hard to manage, not easy to understand (because orcas are the serial killers of the ocean), it has functions that aren’t human or relatable. It’s like Blackfish/Tillikum.
An oyster because it holds a wealth of information but it looks ugly and useless.
A hyena — they aren’t the most adorable animals, but they’re scrappy and for the most part get the job done/find a way to survive/get by.
Sphinx. Because sometimes it gives you riddles that you have no idea how to answer, but you know the Sphinx still has all that knowledge.
An octopus — its intelligence isn’t something humans can fully grasp but we know it’s got a ton of insight and learnings to offer. Also it does whatever the heck it wants and can wriggle out of situations via a quarter-size hole.
A rhino. Sometimes it’s bold and helpful and right in your face and sometimes it crushes your hopes and dreams and boots you back to the beginning.
I don’t think my coffee has kicked in enough for me to answer this question.
These responses, in addition to being creative and funny, hold so much valuable insight because they reveal the user’s emotional experience using Bedpost. They show me that many users see it as a rich, useful tool that just needs to have its information presented in a more intuitive way in order for it to realize its ~full potential~.
After I gathered all of my survey responses, I created an affinity diagram. What is an affinity diagram, you ask? It’s an extremely useful UX design technique to make sense of qualitative data. Plus, you get to use sticky notes with fun colors.
I started with the question “If you could give Bedpost a makeover, what would you do first?” and mapped each response I received to a pink sticky note. Some examples of individual responses: “Build a different navigation so we can cut down on how long the dropdowns/scroll times are,” “Update search functions for easier use,” and “Make it look a lil cuter like Solidus!” #ShoutoutToSolidus
Once each response had its own sticky note, I began grouping them into common themes. For example, some focused on navigation, others on search, and others mentioned specific features that they wanted to see integrated into Bedpost. Once they were all grouped, I took green sticky notes and wrote overarching “I” statements, from the user’s perspective, for each group. So, for the question “If you could give Bedpost a makeover, what would you do first?” there were five main “I” answers: “I would make it look better aesthetically,” “I would make the navigation more intuitive and efficient,” “I would make it easier to search for certain things,” “I would organize lists to make them easier to comprehend,” and “I would add necessary features and remove unnecessary features.”
I went on to repeat this process for a few other complex questions in my survey: What do you find most frustrating? If you could choose, what would you be able to do on the homepage?
How can we convert these findings into action items to better Bedpost’s user experience? We already know that the main problem is important data not being intuitively represented, but what does intuitive representation specifically look like?
Because having to toggle between different pages and navigation in general is a major pain point for many users, a user-specific dashboard on the homepage with relevant information, such as warehouse inventory levels and batch processes, would cut down on time spent on common tasks. Same goes for implementing a shipment search function in the nav bar, or turning long dropdown lists into auto-complete text fields (or at least organizing them alphabetically/categorically and splitting them into columns).
Another step forward would be ensuring that functionality within Bedpost matches up with what users actually need — there are unnecessary things present like the Mattress Removal button, Reassign All Shipments button, and having the option to edit shipments after they’ve already been batched; actions that are viewed as unreliable, such as Hold For Arrival and releasing White Glove Delivery slots; and needed features that are not available, like an Auto-Assign Shipments page, and a way to quickly and reliably view inventory levels by warehouse.
I hope that even after I leave Casper at the end of this summer 😢, our tech team will be able to make use of this qualitative data and continue to fight for the user-friendliness of Bedpost and other internal tools. I found myself trying to strike the right balance between aesthetic value and functionality a lot this summer, and I’ve learned that though perfect type and sleek motion design might not be attainable and/or necessary for a back-end tool, having effective information hierarchy and intuitive features makes all the difference in making someone’s job and life easier. Long dropdown menus, disorganized lists, and unclear functions begin to take a real toll on important workflows over time.
If you’re considering applying to Casper’s internship program and helping others dream their way to better lives, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about my experience, or check out our jobs board here: https://casper.com/jobs/.