Project Timeline: 2 Months
Focus: User Experience, User Research, Information Design
'Wegmans Forecast' is a mobile weather alert app designed to help the Wegmans corporate team to streamline important weather alerts.
Wegmans' supply chain often depends heavily on the weather. Weather alerts need to reach employees quickly, and their previous communication system of email-based alerts was not making that happen. Our job was to analyze and improve it.
Example Weather Alert Email:
We interviewed employees to find out what they needed to know from the old system, and why it had been ineffective so far. Through their feedback, we narrowed our focus:
Accessibility - The main problem most people had was the fact that weather alerts came in an email. Most employees said that they rarely checked their emails, and wouldn't notice an urgent email within an hour of receiving it.
Comprehension - Another problem we found was that employees didn't know many stores by their ID number and couldn't understand the "location" aspect of the email. Many also said that the grouping of the locations was confusing to them.
Build a communication system that will alert Wegmans employees of weather-related changes to the supply chain via a push notification right to their phones.
Scope and Development:
Since this was an internal tool, we also knew it would be important to design practically, with the full scope of the product in mind. We didn't have the chance to work directly with developers in the early stages of the project, so we wanted to make sure all of our designs could be implemented and built by whoever ended up doing the development.
We did research to understand how the backend structure might work for the product we had envisioned, then developed a backend user flow and content database to be input through a delivery network. A full feature documentation guide was eventually compiled and passed on at the end of the design work to be handed off to development.
Process and Branding:
While building the app, we worked with Wegmans existing brand identity, along with imagery of notable Wegmans storefronts in each market region. We also demoed multiple type options at different price points to allow for flexibility with the resources available.
Figma was used for most of the asset production for this project, which allowed us to easily streamline and organize iterations for collaborative work.
Over the course of a summer we were able to design and document all features and functionality of the app, and prepare our work to be passed off to developers.
One of the most important takeaways from this experience was my time spent rapid prototyping. Being able to focus on one project full-time allowed me to even go beyond Figma's prototyping features and start working in Principle and learn to develop more high-fidelity demos.
Not only did I learn a lot about prototyping, but also a lot about presenting those prototypes along with the decisions and process behind them in regular stand up pitch meetings with company executives; this was also a great opportunity to spend time user testing and really get to understand the audience we were designing for.
One last takeaway from this project was the experience gained from thinking about the functionality of my designs from a development perspective. I was able to spend extensive time researching mobile app frameworks, weather data API's, and content delivery networks that could be used to build the app. All of the development oriented researched definitely helped us escape our design vacuum and ensure we created a more holistic product.