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 did channel-agnostic mean? 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, and 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 our users' concerns, I was able to reflect on the moral dilemma of automating the creative process and the possible consequences it could 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 gain a better understanding of our users' needs, frustrations, and more. But for now, let's dive into how we've created our minimum viable product (MVP).
After collaborating, we curated a list of priorities for our MVP and presented this list to our stakeholders so we know we’re aligned. While the concept of this tool was still fairly abstracted, I was able to conceptualize it a bit more from what we’ve gathered. With our user interviews, I was able to create personas that defined our targeted users and user flows that mapped our users’ existing processes. As someone who was new to this project and company, I was happy to speak with our users 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 me and my team to visually identify the pain points and understand where this new tool can come into play.
As the concept of this tool became more tangible, I began to ideate on possible concepts and screens. One of the biggest takeaways from this project was 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 enhance our teamwork.
Here were some of the tools I loved using for this project:
1. Lucidcharts & FlowMapp - for making user flows
2. InVision Whiteboard - for creating wireframes
3. Figma - for creating mockups and prototypes
The common denominator for these tools? They were all collaborative (and free)! Despite the different timezones my team and I were in, we were able to collaborate in real-time due to these tools. It was gratifying to draw and share our ideas as if we were 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 was stressful under our tight deadlines, it was important for us to discuss and understand the rationale behind these sudden changes. To move forward with these new ideas, we validated our concepts through user testings. The data and feedback we've collected were invaluable and ensured we were making well-informed design decisions. If art school taught me anything, it was to not be overly attached to my work and to accept changes through feedback. Also, working in an agile environment made me comfortable with making several changes to my work as we developed this tool.
After many design reviews with our stakeholders and users, I believe we built a solid foundation for our tool. The final deliverables for this project included high-fidelity mockups and prototypes that gave our development team a better understanding of how certain components should behave. Because our development team was planning to implement the MVP in React, I took this opportunity to teach myself the basic framework of React so I could better communicate my ideas to our engineers. The most rewarding part of this experience was 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 as you need 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!)
Thank you to all my teammates for your support, perspective, and humor! It was 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.