Product Manager and UX Designer (Group Project)
This project started as a challenge launched by UXER School during the pandemic lockdown that affected the whole world.
I proposed a theme for the challenge about “how to help local economy”. Many people joined me for this particular challenge, and I started working with 7 professionals I hadn’t met before and, in some cases, they were living in the other side of the World (Argentina, Australia and Spain).
We participated in an online Hackathon sponsored by Barcelona’s town hall collaborating with Barcelona Open Data, where we had to provide solutions to help the local business, and we got the 3rd position!
To find out if there was a real problem and how and who we could help, we started a Design Thinking process.
Once the challenge begin and the groups were assigned, the online meetings started. The fist thing we did was set some hypotheses.
``Small business will need some help (they are not digitalized and will be affected by the lockdown``.
``People want to help but they need information``
After brainstorming the hypotheses, we dedicated the first week to understand the situation. We carried out some research (15 interviews, 300 surveys and market analysis) and set a research desk that helped us to focus on how and who we could help.
Finally, after all the research and analysis, we got to our HMW: ``How might we facilitate a connection between non essential local business, that were affected by the lockdown, with the population?``.
At the beginning we didn't know where to focus our efforts, but with the research we noticed that the non essential business were the most affected ones (not digitalized, couldn't open their shops during the lockdown and people, in general, were buying only essential stuff).
As the user consumer, we found out people was worried about their neighborhood, and they wanted to help. They want to have a positive impact in the society.
Our other user persona was as important as the consumer. The entrepreneur/merchant has suffered economic losses during the quarantine. He sees opportunities and he wants to become more digital to overcome the hard times.
With a clearer vision about our users, we started the ideation.
We did a brainstorming session with one of us acting as a facilitator, and we ended up with lots of ideas!
After our 3ha ideation session, we prioritized the ones that were more innovative and viables.
We voted among those innovative and viable ideas that best responded to our HMW, with dots. This is how we arrive to our first approach for our proposal ``crowdfunding for stores``.
We had our fist draft of an idea, but we needed to be sure we were solving the problem we found out. We used the ``Value Proposition Canvas`` to match the user's needs with our ideas, and finally we got to 2 value propositions (one for each User Persona).
Consumer: Our neighborhood store crowdfunding marketplace with recommendations helps neighborhood residents and communities who want to get reliable, quality and natural products (and, in turn, help local businesses) to avoid the frustration of not finding everything they need or the expected quality, and increase their sense of security of buying quality products and doing something that impacts.
Entrepreneur/Merchant: Our neighborhood store crowdfunding marketplace with recommendations helps entrepreneurs who offer second-necessity products and who want to sell their products, make themselves known and recover their economy after COVID-19 to avoid the frustration of not being digitized or having advertising, and increase their sense of security of selling the best products, caring for and serving the neighborhood residents.
In order to test the solution, we made some low fidelity sketches and we transformed them into 2 storyboards (again, we had 2 users, and we wanted to be sure to be aligned with both).
Also we did a Mid-Fidelity sketch to test both prototypes with the users.
Do you remember I mentioned we were a team of 8 professionals working online and not knowing each other before the challenge? Our meetings became longer but more productive, and with more inside jokes and laughs.
In the storyboard we can see the user shopping in his neighborhood after the lockdown. Seeing that many businesses are in crisis or closed, she goes to YoLocal to buy a product and discovers that there are other businesses near her home that can meet her needs.
In general, testes users were very exited about the idea.
The entrepreneurs/merchants, with our platform, they find a way to publicize their business, as well as their products and the offers they launch.
Many business owners said that the idea could be a solution for them, they liked it, and, in some cases, they liked it more than what they were offered by some public organisms (that were more like a directory than a marketplace).
After testing the idea, we got some powerful insights.
We discovered that what we thought were the platform’s strong points, which were the help to merchants and the thermometer that records contributions, are the most controversial characteristics for merchants themselves.
With their feedback, we decided to hide the contribution figure.
As we didn't wanted to charge the platform not for the customers neither for the merchants, we included a ``donate a coffee`` to contribute with the costs of the project. It was confusing and people didn't understand it.
Also we discovered that merchants may be willing to pay a percentage of their profits for our financing.
Testing the prototype with the merchants, we discovered that many of them that were open during the pandemic, have offered to be collection and sales points for those that were closed, so we include this advantage in our prototype.
At the same time we were testing the prototypes, we designed out Style Tile and decided which attributes we wanted to communicate.
With the Style Tile and the feedback from the users, we designed the fist approach to out high fidelity proposal.