Client

Chicago based Starchup has created a product that will help dry cleaners and laundry services stay competitive, streamline their business, and keep customers happy. Their product is a software platform that businesses can purchase to keep track of transactions, simplify deliveries, collect data on customers, and help expand their business. My job was to revamp its customer app and help them reach a larger audience base by utilizing research and user testing.

Overview

CLIENT | Starchup 

ROLE | Lead UX/UI Designer 

PLATFORM | Mobile 

TIMELINE | 6 Months 

Deliverables

Competitive analysis
User survey
Wireframing
Prototyping

Application mapping

High fidelity mockups

We wanted to attack it like a two-sided marketplace, so something like a GrubHub or an Uber, where we are just the technology in the middle that allows businesses that are already up and running to connect with new consumers

Dan Tobon, CEO and founder

The Business

The original app that was built for their launch had fared well within the beta program and with a select few dry cleaners. Now that the company wanted to expand into the next phase, the app and its architecture needed to be revisited. 

 

The original app was built as a companion to their main software platform. Within a year of their launch, industry data suggested that app usage within an e-commerce platform would far proceed desktop shopping.

83% of users plan to conduct mobile commerce in 2016

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81% of users say it’s important for retailers to have a mobile app

 

58% have made a decision on where to spend money based on whether that company offers a mobile solution

The Technology

Startchup decided to create a white-labeled customer app that was easier to develop and maintain as part of their beta services. This white-labeling technique allowed underserved businesses, like the dry cleaning industry, the ability to have a native-app feel to their shopping experience without the large cost and overhead of a custom app.

Part of the design strategy was to align with the "The React Native Mindset" of the development team. Some of the larger undertakings of this project were the coordination and communication between the needs of the development team and balancing the design guidelines that would best serve the end user. In regards to creating the visual style and guidelines for the app, the developer and designer are partners. 

When considering visual components in a React Native app, the key to success is to use platform abstractions. The developer and the designer determine a list of re-usable components 

UI Challenges
  • Mimic the native look and feel for both iOS and Android with one design

  • Undocumented standards for functionality, transitions, and behaviors

  • Approval of our finished app was not guaranteed

  • The app needed to integrate with our cleaner dashboard

  • We needed an app that could be updated and maintained easily

UX Challenges
  • The current app showed us “Where” the problem was but not the “Why” 

  • Limited to no tagging of pages

  • Old user flow was convoluted and riddled with pain points

  • Building in user testing into our timeframe

The Marketing

The dry cleaning industry has heavily relied upon paper marketing and word of mouth to grow their business. With the decline amongst the industry's top buying demographic, the "Baby Boomers" and the rise of a more mobile-centric society, the industry has struggled with lackluster customer retention and growth.

Our challenge was to provide not only a reliable business product for our stakeholders, but we also needed to lean into the research to focus our app design on our target users.

Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation

Richard Fry is a senior researcher focusing on economics and education at Pew Research Center

The Survey

The marketing and industry demographics for dry-cleaning services stated that their target data were predominantly white males in their 40's to 50's with well-established careers and extra income.

I felt that the marketing materials I was provided did not fully represent the spectrum of individuals who would find online delivery services as something worth investing in. I set out to conduct a survey so that I had a better idea of to whom I was designing the app.

 

The survey helped to guide me into my next stage of research. The demographics were unsurprisingly in contrast with the original target demographics provided to me. I was able to identify e-commerce applications that the user enjoyed as well as empathize with the mindset of potential users. 

 

Click HERE for a full view of all 108 responses.

The Demographics
  • Predominantly female

  • Single

  • Age range between 25-35

  • Renter

  • Full-time employee

  • Household income of $60K-$90K per year

The Problem Statement:

 

Busy, budget-conscious millennials need a convenient way to have their laundry cleaned so they can spend time on what matters most.

The Research

Before joining Starchup, the product team had dug into their current data and pinpointed exactly where their customers dropped out of the funnel. What the team needed help with was why the users fell out of the funnel so quickly.

As a User Experience designer, I put myself in their shoes and went through the current ordering process. From my initial interactions with the product, both the App and website, I determined that there was a lack of warmth and compassion to the transaction as well as redundancies that made me feel like I was completing a tedious task.

 

In the old user flow, users were hit with an initial barrier by restricting any information behind a login screen. The app required users to sign up before even knowing if services were provided for their location. Let alone what benefits they would get by using the app. 

Creating education and clarity for the services provided was key in the UX flow redesign. Providing quick access to the cleaner's direct phone number as well as having the "How It Works" section always present, allowed users who may not frequent the app, the ability to self serve.

Keeping in mind the business goals of retention and repeat orders, I wanted the user to feel trust within the product and the brand. I reinforced this by breaking down the sign up process into three simple steps; allowing users access to contact the dry cleaner without signing up, saving their preferences, and keeping them signed in to reorder quickly and effectively.

Visual Competitive Analysis

Out of industry competitors. E-commerce apps 

 

All of these apps were named as favorites by the users surveyed. 

All of the apps allowed for you to browse without signing in, but when you wanted to buy, you needed to either sign in or create an account before purchasing.

 

Key Takeaways
  • Cool color palette to invoke cleanliness

  • Washed out or transparent photography

  • Sans serif fonts

  • Use of white space

  • Fixed headers no lower navigation