Agile Blockchain Corp

Logistics app with blockchain integration

When
2019
What
UX research, information architecture, interface design, prototyping

Summary

I worked as a UX consultant with a blockchain startup to design an online portal for a supply-chain platform. The work was done part-time over 2 months, where I worked closely with the CEO and the project manager to create information architecture maps, wireframes, interactive prototypes, and a functioning MVP.


Background

Agile Blockchain Corporation is a startup that incorporates blockchain technologies into new opportunity areas. On the specific project I was working on, I needed to design a supply-chain platform that utilizes the blockchain to process industrial equipment orders. The added amount of information introduces an extra layer of complexity to an otherwise already complex logistics problem.

My responsibility was to design and help build a digital platform for suppliers, customers, (and the other facilitators) so that the users could:

  • place and review orders,
  • manage incoming and outgoing requests,
  • visualize order history, network updates, and tracking information, and
  • manage the company's respective employee roles and privileges

In order to even begin design work, I conducted thorough research in the blockchain and supply chain management industries.

Research

My research began with the analysis of logistics flow and forms. Understanding how information and data flow between parties provided the foundation and context needed to create the designs. The current solution involved using paper forms, so I also needed to synthesize and digitize the data.

Once the information was organized and converted into usable values, I assigned each variable an ID so the development process could scale with ease. It was important to note down new features and requirements (such as GPC and UNSPSC standards integration) for development tasks.

The first iteration of the information architecture created for the project. Details are obfuscated.

Designs

I mapped the data into an information architecture map first to set the layout of the project. The information and field names were meticulously planned and recorded so that knowledge transfer and development would be easier.

I explored a few different wireframe layouts and chose one that would be able to scale in menu items easily, due to the planned addition of extra features and wide number of sub-menu options.

The elements used as many design components as possible, since they directly translate to reusable code components. Placing careful consideration on what could be reused allowed me to design and iterate faster, and set the stage for faster development.

Once the wireframes were approved by the team, I created interactive prototypes to allow them better visualize the interactions.

The prototypes also helped to reveal inconsistencies, missing designs, and edge-cases, which was good because that meant time wouldn't be wasted later revisiting these issues.

The prototype overview in Figma.

Form design required significant thinking and planning due to the flow of data between various parties.

I designed them to incorporate automatic pricing, inventory, and descriptions. Completing each form now saves significant time when compared to the old paper forms.

The purchase order forms were integrated with the inventory management system. Once a form is complete, it is reviewed, authorized (if necessary), and then sent to the respective supplier(s).
A view of the home dashboard. Each menu had several sub-menu options, with access dependant on the role of both the company and the user privileges.

Development and next steps

After meeting with the team to fine-tune the user flows and designs, I began initial development and set up an initial web prototype with React. This gave the development team a starting point and allowed the team and their clients to see the product on their actual devices.

With the user flows and layout of the platform complete, the next steps would be to enhance the visuals and optimize for user devices and screens in their work environments. Conducting embedded interviews of users in different roles and companies would show us pain-points and hidden value. This would inevitably result in layout and structural changes to the platform, but that's the beauty of lean development!