Fergus

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Project: Employee Map

Managing a trade business (plumbing, electrical, painting and field service in general) can be a very stressful endeavor. There are so many moving parts in the process; from ordering materials from suppliers to being stuck in traffic, everything seems to get in between. when it comes to providing a good and consistent service to the homeowners without losing money. One of the problems that one up really often from our user research activities was the lack of visibility over staff members in real time.

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement,
I have omitted confidential information in this case study.

Project Summary

My Position:
Head of Product Design.

My Role:
Lead Designer / User Researcher.

Rest of the Team:
– Product Manager.
– Product Analyst.
– Junior Designer.
– Two Developers.
– Test Engineer.

Methods:
– Google Design Sprints.
– Quantitative & Qualitative data analysis.
– User testing

Tools:
– Sketch.
– Invision.
– Heap Analytics.
– Hotjar.
– Typeform.

The Opportunity

One of the main sources of stress for Business Owners is to make sure that their workers are going to be in time on their next job, as a quick call to keep their customers informed, can make a world of difference.

One of the main competitive advantages for a trade business is how reliable and professional they are, and being on time is one of the core values they need to adhere to.

Even though we were getting the GPS information of their staff members through the mobile app, we were not showing that information in a compelling way in Fergus. We decided to call this project simply “Employee Map” and focus on two hi level use cases: having a map-based overview of the entire company for that day and also to be able to consult the activity of each staff member on a given date.

My Role

I led the user research and problem definition of the Employee Map project. The goal was to use our existing GPS information collected from the app, to help Business Owners / Delivery managers to manage their staff more efficiently. During this process, I managed a Visual Designer (Julia, from now onwards) and worked alongside the Product Manager.

Customer Insights & Ideation
With the idea of defining the problem and validating a solution with speed, I decided to use Google Design Sprints in this project, bringing designers, developers other relevant members together. To have a better understanding of the problem and the different scenarios I also run a survey and collected feedback from our customer support platform.

User Testing & Validation
After the Design Sprint, I run a series of field visits with our customers to validate the solution, using the working prototype Julia developed during the last day of the sprint.

Design Oversight & Coordination
I mentored and supervised Julia throughout the design process. I also developed a design brief to inform the business and also design specs to inform the Development team.

Leadership
I was in charge of presenting the product vision to executives, partners, and potential clients during the project lifecycle.

Today View tab under the Employee Map

Ideation & User Research

As I mentioned before, the need for an Employee Map was coming up on various conversations with customers. So I started the research process going through our Intercom account and putting together all the tickets or conversations around the subject. To keep the focus on the problem I prepared a survey to narrow the problem space while validating our hypothesis. One of the things we learned during this process was that, apart from using the map to manage users, companies would use GPS pings information to use as proof in case of a dispute.

So now our problem got a little bigger; apart from showing the current position and schedule of each team member, we also needed to record and report on their activity so business owners could consult.

Feedback from current customers

After that, we run a Design Sprint with the main goal of bringing everyone in the team together to define the problem and create a prototype to learn about.

Affinity mapping during Design Sprint

Prototyping and Testing

Once we were happy with our solution, we started the design process. Julia and I started to work on a prototype covering the most common use cases. These use cases ranged from having a map-based overview of the entire company for that day and also to be able to consult the activity of each staff member on a given date.

After putting the prototype in front of customers we understood that although we were going in the right direction, we needed to work on how to unveil the data we were expecting to show. In a really busy day, we could have around 40 GPS pings per hour, only for one user.

This made us go back to the drawing board and think about how to display data in a way that makes sense considering different use cases.

Timeline View tab under the Employee Map

Today View
Provides a location-based overview of staff members and site visits.

Timeline View
Powerful employee tracking based on GPS activity.

Development

Having the developers during the Design Sprint was really helpful in terms of getting the development process started. They understood the problem, and they were aware of the design process and how we got to the solution.
The decisions we made about data discoverability were welcomed by developers as it also helped them caching vasts amounts of data without slowing down the user experience.

Employee Map feedback on our NPS survey.

Employee Map feedback on our NPS survey.

Release and further iterations

After releasing this feature we got good feedback, which was expected as the problem we were solving was properly narrowed down. There is a lot of room for improvement, and most of the feedback we are getting from users, are things that we decided to leave out of the MVP to speed up development.

We have seen a really positive adoption of this feature by users and also we are getting feedback about how users can solve the two main problems we were trying to solve: Having a map-based overview of the entire company for that day and also to be able to consult the activity of each staff member on a given date.

My takeaways from this project

  • Using a storytelling approach to data visualization helped us to make better design decisions, and also helped us communicate the UI decisions better to the rest of the team.
  • Although it was a bit of extra effort, having users involved throughout the whole process provided us with enough certainty to make informed decisions. I would recommend doing this if the time and resources allow it.

This is the end of the case study, thanks for reading.