Signage Application Replacement
Enterprise application re-write for DICK’s Sporting Goods
The Signage application used by every DICK’S Sporting Goods’ store was in need of a re-write and process overhaul. Our product team was tasked with creating a new system from scratch that was usable and sustainable.
Discovery & Framing
Research spanned several months and was conducted with corporate and store associates of DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Problem Discovery Sessions
As a UX Designer at DICK’S Sporting Goods, it is my job to own Discovery and Framing. I needed to perform problem identification so that our team could effectively craft the outline of an application that could fulfill our user’s expectations and address their pain-points with the existing product. Informal brainstorming sessions opened our eyes to our user’s struggles and allowed us to create low-level personas, of which we added to later.
A week or so after our brainstorming sessions concluded, we transitioned to stakeholder interviews. For these interviews, of which there were 11, I handled the facilitation of the dialogue and our team’s product manager (PM) took notes that we later sorted and categorized for trend identification. These internal stakeholders held positions that ranged from Director to Senior Vice President. There was significant correlation between their input and the feedback produced by the earlier brainstorming sessions.
Unmoderated Usability Tests
We now needed to take this information that we had acquired from our corporate audience and see if it aligned with our store users’ perceptions. After all, the store associates were actual users of the Signage system. The first step centered on information gathering that we accomplished by visiting 4 stores in the surrounding Pittsburgh area and monitoring them while they used the current Signage application. The notes taken in these sessions were used as a basis for our first process flow.
Next, I issued a Qualtrics survey that was approved by our corporate office for distribution and administered to over 800 of our stores. The response rate was 71% (excellent for a survey administered through our TEAM system) and there was consensus on many of the questions asked that centered on speed, demographics and usability.
Once the quantitive results were gathered, I integrated that raw data into Microsoft Power BI to better illustrate potential trends. Power BI allows for data of all kinds to be interacted with, and does an excellent job of showcasing user tendencies and responses.
After the store visits and surveys, I was comfortable mocking up an initial wire-frame that we would send to our store and corporate teams for approval. Once approved, we had officially begun the Initial Design phase of the Design Process. It is amazing to look back at old wireframes and see how much we have learned as a team and the progress that we have made towards producing a user-centric deliverable.
We identified 3 areas in which we were defining success for our project:
A key takeaway from all of our research centered on the speed of the application itself. Our processing logic for the back-end of the system was severely flawed and we identified gaps in sign production that would decrease sign generation time, thus improving our user’s experience. We embraced .SVG generation over .PDF, to save time and create more flexibility with future sign layouts. In addition to this, we also embraced automation cutting 61% of the time that our users spent using the current application.
Due to not having an internal design system in place, we needed to embrace a familiar framework that would resonate with our users. I was more comfortable utilizing Bootstrap, but opted for Material Design as it better aligned with our branding. Each member of our team dedicated hours after work towards understanding Material Design, their concepts and application techniques.
Note: For this specific project, I was comfortable merging branches of code to our repo. I had taken programming classes in Undergrad, and am familiar with writing .CSS style sheets.
In our observations we had identified some steps in sign creation that could be streamlined and others that we could omit. We also limited the amount of inputs on any particular screen to seven (the current system had one screen with 26).
Lastly, we needed to address control as our users were limited in ways that they could perform their signage duties. At this point in development we had not yet identified a way that we could enable more control, but it would come later on.
I started with a low-level prototype created in Sketch that was iterated after demoing with store associates. These demo sessions were conducted in the following format:
1 on 1 Observations (5 Different Store Users)
Un-moderated Demos to Director & Executive Leadership
Moderated Demos to All Store Managers at a Conference in Florida
These prototypes were constantly shown to our corporate signage team as well, so that we made sure we were designing a product that was aligned with our stakeholders’ wants. As our prototype evolved, I utilized Zeplin to export our wireframes from Sketch into Pivotal Tracker (the tracking software that we used for the project).
Note: Zeplin is an incredibly useful tool for exporting wire-frames, as it allows a static link to contain an image that can be updated any time via Sketch.
We have just begun development on this application and this will be updated as the product progress.