Role: UX Designer
Timeline: July 2019 - January 2020
For this project, I led the end-to-end UX design process in a global, multi-disciplinary team to deliver a creative tool for eBay. I was the sole UX designer for this project but was able to gain guidance and feedback from our UX design lead in the initial stages. (Thank you, Nathan!) The main goal of this project was to develop a channel-agnostic creative tool that has the ability to generate creative assets at scale.
I am unable to share the full scope of this project due to confidentiality, however, I can share my design process and key takeaways.
The direction of this creative tool was conceived prior to me joining the team so there were some established parameters that I had to be cognizant of. First off, what's channel-agnostic? This was a term that I was unfamiliar with and had to clarify with my team and stakeholders. My team explained that "channel-agnostic" referred to targeting all three channels eBay had without one being favored or prioritized. This was a new creative direction for eBay, one that was foreign to many others even within the company. While this creative tool sparked both excitement and curiosity, there was some fear of the unknown.
From our initial discovery phase of conducting 16+ focus groups and recording 280+ user stories, there was some feedback that focused on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation. Some people feared that this tool would nullify the need for creative roles at eBay. After hearing this fear from users, I've had some time to reflect on the moral dilemma of automating the creative process and the possible consequences it can have. From my perspective, having a tool that executes tasks with great efficiency gives people more time to focus on areas of their work that could use more attention. We wanted to make conscious design changes to emphasize the autonomy creative users had while assisting their creativity through automation. I learned quite a few things from our interviews and was able to get a better understanding of our users' needs, frustrations, and more. But for now, I'll speak more about how we've created our minimum viable product (MVP).
After collaborating, we decided to curate a list of priorities for our MVP and present this list to our stakeholders so we know we’re aligned. While the concept of this tool is still fairly abstracted, I was able to conceptualize it a bit more from what we’ve gathered. With our interviews, I was able to create personas that defined our targeted users and user flows that mapped out our users’ existing process. As someone new to this project and company, I was happy to speak with users about their process because this also meant I got to learn more about Feed and eBay. It was a win-win for me! The process of mapping these user flows allowed my team and I to visually identify the pain points of their process and understand where this new tool can come into play.
As this abstract idea of this tool begins to unravel, I begin to ideate on possible concepts and screens. One of the biggest takeaways from this project is learning to collaborate with a global team. How can I relay the things I’ve completed to my teammates and how can we share/do work efficiently in a collaborative manner? With a project at this scale, it was important for me to communicate well and provide solutions that can enhance our teamwork.
Here are some of the tools I love using for this project:
1. Lucidcharts & FlowMapp - for making user flows
2. InVision Whiteboard - for sketching and making low-fidelity wireframes
3. Figma - for creating high-fidelity wireframes/mockups and prototypes
The common denominator for these tools is that it’s all collaborative (and free)! Although my team and I are in different timezones, at least we have these tools to collaborate in real-time. It’s gratifying to be able to draw out ideas as if we’re in the same room.
As with many projects, there’s a moment in time where things head in a different direction and, well, you end up having to change the design completely. While this may be stressful under tight deadlines, it's important to discuss these changes with everyone on the team and understand the rationale behind sudden changes. Validating changes through user stories/interviews and data help us make well-informed design decisions. Early on in my design career, I've learned to not be overly attached to my work and to accept changes through feedback. Working in an agile environment allows us to be comfortable to be make several changes as we develop this tool.
After going back and forth with our stakeholders and reviewing the updated tool with our users, I am confident that the changes we've considered is the right path for this tool. Once we finalized the features for the MVP, I went ahead to flesh out our final set of wireframes and prototypes. Because the MVP will be developed through React, I took this opportunity to teach myself the framework of React so I can better communicate my ideas to our development team. The most rewarding part of this experience is learning so many new tools/skills along the way and building a strong relationship with my teammates.
1. Establish a method of communicating project updates and concerns.
2. Do not be afraid to ask questions! (Especially if you're a new member of the team, ask as many questions so you have full clarity of your role and project expectations.)
3. Be open to learning new tools.
4. Embrace change and the uncertainty. (It's uncomfortable at first, but trust that this process will help you grow!)
After delivering all of the UX work to our development team and giving them a thorough walkthrough, I'm happy to say that the MVP of this tool will be launched sometime in 2020. I'm excited to see how this tool will evolve over the years!
Thank you to all my teammates for your support, perspective, and humor! It’s been a huge opportunity as a new grad to jump on this project and I’m happy I was able to impact the future tools of eBay. I’m still at an early stage of my career so if you’d like to share any other tools you enjoy using or advice on what you’ve learned, I’m all ears!
If you’re still interested in learning more about this project, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to speak more about this experience!