The superhero inside me!

Soon after  I joined iTradeNetwork, I was put in charge of one of the company's biggest product initiative, which was the redesign of  the Traceability application.This product was a major application for the company, generating 18% of the total revenue, and provided a much needed function; which was the ability to trace all fresh produce from farms to retail.
The directives:
  • Re-design the desktop application to be more modern, addressing usability issues and responsive.
  • To create and design new mobile applications, Android and iOS,  to support users generating labels for produce in the fields.
  • Update the legacy infrastructure to a more robust and scalable environment.
The Main Challenges:
  • The current mobile hardware was deprecated and no longer being sold.
  • There were contractual dates that needed to be addressed.
Bringing forth my Superhero:
Due to restructuring, many of the resources, such as Product and Project Managers were not immediately available.  So I ended up wearing many 'hats' from UX Designer to Product and Project Manager, during the development of this project.How did I do it?  I am not sure, but I think there is a part of us that enjoys being a hero.  Sometimes, being faced with the impossible brings up some hidden sides of you and make you accomplish things that even you would be surprised. I went beyond what my initial job responsibilities were and at the end, felt great about what I achieved.

Product Footprint

The Trace platform bundles several applications together to enable collection of food safety metrics during different points of production.
In order to quickly understand the system and start planning, I created a high level map of the various user touch points. To gain familiarity with the product and the users, I worked with two SME's, conducted site visits and interviewed users. From the high level map, we were able to identify essential functions, user touch points and product gaps.

Product actors

I did a few field visits to understand the environmental factors. I also arranged conversations with several end users to study the product gaps and problems from their perspectives.itrace_contextAfter my initial interactions with the end users, organically a few user types and their characteristics emerged and got documented. This wasn't a deep ethnography study but significantly helped us with our product conversations.


IA - the first point of attack

The expansion of the existing product was done without much thoughts into its information organization. Improving the product navigation was a low cost change that could have a significant effect on the usability of the product. The first rule change was no abbreviation as a navigation label. I changed labels like PTI, ITN, WMS to more readable labels such as Label, Item and load. This is the example of another set of changes I made to one of the main navigation dropdowns

Interaction pattern to improve content/function accessibility

In our user studies, we learned that data catalogues are changing frequently. The experience of  updating catalogues was specially painful when it was needed in the context of a task in one of the applications. I tackled this problem problem with introducing a new design pattern.


Rethinking the basics

Very basic factors such as language, authentication, and working environment that are normally standard components of most products needed special attention and creative problem solving in this project. I can talk to you about all of those but let me discuss the most interesting one... keeping the apps fully functional with no internet connectivity.

Solving for no connectivity

Some of the farms are located in very remote areas with no data coverage. The challenge was how to keep the apps functional while maintaining the integrity of the data in the system.

Adding new high value features

The legacy product was missing a few connection points from farm to store. Loading the orders from the distribution centers to the stores was one of those missing points which had special synergy with our ordering system. We were able to easily get the ordering data, create the load and change its status and solve a big problem with minimal effort. The development of that feature only took 6 weeks but it had a significant return on the investment.

My role in this sub-project was to translate the idea to a product solution, plan the project and direct the development efforts to bring the product to the market.
45 days
of development work
27 contracts
In less than 3 months
$1.6m revenue
From the generated contracts

Screen samples from the product


Product & Project Planning

As I mentioned before, beside designing the product, I was responsible for managing the functional requirements and high level project planning. In this project, we used 9 engineers and spent 6 month of development to complete the development. My involvement in the project continued all the way to the product launch and on-boarding the our first batch of clients.

The Outcome

As I mentioned above, my inner superhero was working overtime.  This was a unique opportunity for me to utilize my education and experience in human factors, engineering and product management all together to come up with effective and technically viable solutions.On the personal level, I learned more about myself and my capacity for handling work and stress. I'm much better at time management working under tight deadlines.  I came out of this project a lot stronger in task prioritization, project planning and working with bigger engineering teams.On the business level, I was able to deliver one of the highest quality products the company has ever delivered. It was a big team effort and I'm glad that I was able to facilitate the needs of the development team and work alongside with them to take the project successfully to the finish line.