Your home baking business organized.
There are without a doubt some major industry leaders in the cloud based business management space. However there are many voids that are looking to be filled. Sprinkle began as a venture to set out to help a large but unknown sector, small and home baking business entrepreneurs. As a part of the design team of Sprinkle, we set out to streamline the daily business tasks of running a home based food business so that owners can have more time to focus on delightful treats for their clients.
There are many software programs and apps that are geared toward home baking businesses and allow users to calculate and schedule their upcoming orders and keep track of inventory, but none allow the storing of important files along with running their small business nor keeping track of business tasks on the go via mobile.
Sprinkle focuses on managing the daily business tasks for the home baking entrepreneur. Users can create and keep track of orders and inventory, as well as keeping notes about client preferences and allergies. Unlike other services for home bakers, users can even upload and store documents to have access on the go.
Discovery and Research
As said before I was looking to fill a void in various industries that needed cloud storage, so we started with some post it notes jotting down some “How Might We” statements up top and ideas beneath. Because of this brainstorming session I decided to focus on food business from home because it is a market that has a large void. To find out what voids and pain points were there, I started off with a user survey.
Targeted Survey Participants: Bakers who run small businesses from their home
Amount of Participants: 34 people
Where were they found?: Various facebook and reddit groups that specifically focus on small baking businesses from home.
of users keep track of orders and business expenses via pen and paper
of users run their baking business full-time
of users use their software everyday
From my survey data, I was able to identify behaviors, preferences and goals that funneled into two identifiable groups, new bakers and experienced bakers. The survey also revealed a pattern of lack of digital resources and features as well as lack of time being the most prevalent.
Touted as accounting and organization software or home bakers.
Modern approach to CakeBoss; offers more customization and lower price point.
Large storage capacity; simple interface for doc storage
Since there were some software solutions the participants used, I choose the most widely used within that group to create a competitive analysis amongst them. Here I found that the challenges that were seen in the survey coincide with the software these participants were using.
I made 2 user personas that represented real-world users with varying degrees of frustrations and desires from data I collected from the user surveys and competitive analysis.
Sprinkle business requirements defined some of the basic tasks new and returning users can accomplish with the software. I used the motivations, goals, and pain points represented in my user research I conducted to this point to create user stories – brief statements expressing the actions users want to take, and the goals they want to achieve with the platform.
Using the user stories, I created user flows to visualize the how users would interact with the software to accomplish the high priority goals seen in the user stories. These flows were critical in further identifying key functions within the software and setting the foundations of the design.
After establishing an understanding of how users would interact with Sprinkle, it was time to define the structure of it. I utilized my user flows as a reference to create all of the necessary pages for Sprinkle. I then organized those pages into a sitemap which took into account both the user flow and hierarchy of the pages in relation to each other.
With Sprinkle’s hierarchy defined, I sketched a set of low fidelity wireframes. Sketching these allowed me to get a basic design structure and quickly get my ideas out visually and quickly.
I then used Figma to create digital wireframes to further have the ability to iterate content placement on the page and see the visual hierarchy of page elements before investing time into a more refined design. Creating this digital low fi wireframe allowed me to conduct a usability test to analyze first interactions from users.
Who: 3 Participants
Where: Moderated Test via Zoom (due to Covid-19)
- One user didn’t follow instructions and clicked through the entire app.
- One user commented that they did not like the graphics on the account confirmation screen. This user said “the cookie looked burned.”
- One user mentioned the payment page did not look secure as it did not ask for the CVV number in the credit card info page.
- Two other users successfully completed task.
- One user didn’t complete this task as they clicked through the prototype without listening to the instructions fully.
- Two other users were able to locate the area of adding a recipe and completed the task without issue.
- On user was not able to complete this task in it’s completion.
- One user mentioned the simplicity of tasks overall and simplicity of the design for non-tech savvy individuals
- Two users successfully located the the appropriate screen and complete the task without issue.
Iterations made after Usability Test
Payment page was updated to include security measures such as adding a text box for the CVV code for card payments.
Added visual representation of where user is in the account creation process by adding steps so that user knows where they are when creating an account.
Tweaked a few graphics within the sorting items list for easier interpretation for the user as well as the menu style.
After conducting the usability tests and before creating a high fidelity prototype, this project needed to establish a brand identity. Since this project was geared toward baking entrepreneurs, I created a mind map to explore and brainstorm ideas for the brand and logo. One name stuck out the most, Sprinkle. Sprinkles are normally a decoration that brighten a dessert, the finishing touch. I wanted the app to convey that it can be the finishing touch to organizing a small business.
From there, I created a mood board to help establish a color palette and overall style of the design. Shades of turquoise, magenta and yellow give a fresh color to the design but also helps to represent the industry this application is for.
Poiret One is a sans serif typeface with an Art Deco feel. The rounded and wider lettering compliments the Sprinkle brand. It features a minimal aesthetic and shows a playfulness yet sophisticated style. Poiret does not come in different font weights, however sizing is a good way to establish heirachy when using this typeface.
Roboto is a sans serif typeface with geomtric elements that play well with Poiret One without overshadowing. It features open curves yet a natural width that is easy to read and establish heirarchy for the content of Sprinkle. It comes in various weights unlike Poiret One.
I conducted a preference test before the final usability test of the high fidelity prototype to help decide design iterations that I made after the first usability test. I wanted to get feedback early so that I can adjust before the final touches were complete.
I also tested the menu style to see which style wa preferred. According to the results the style choice with darker varations of grey was preferred more than the lighter version. One user said this version “was easier to read.”
I tested the highlight background on an information element on the app to see what was preferred. The choices were yellow and turquoise. Surprisingly enough the yellow background was preferred. One user said they preferred the yellow because “the contrast was better.”
High Fidelity Mockup
With the wireframes, brand identity and previous usability test results in mind, I designed 36 screens for Sprinkle which included both desktop and mobile versions of the software. I made the application clickable, so that I could conduct another usability test to see if the design adjustments that were made from previous testing were more appealing to the users. Similar to the first usability test, I gather users with little to no baking experience to complete 3 tasks. The feedback received was better in regard to the flow of the application and users were able to see how far along they were when completing a task.
What I learned…
From this project I learned the importance of research and testing. This project taught me to make sure I have strong research as a foundation and the importance of testing. It is really easy for a designer to make assumptions about what the users may want but those assumptions need to be tested and proven valid.
If time we’re free, next steps for this project would be adding some customization choices for the users as well as effective micro-interactions and animation elements.
What I would change…
I would have spent less time on early deliverables such as my initial digital wireframes and trying to make them perfect. I quickly learned that testing and iterations are key.
From ideation to completion, Sprinkle underwent many changes and iterations. This project started without a target audience, product name or even a specific problem in mind but ended with a solution. Taking a vague concept and creating a tangible website as a beginner was overwhelming but a great learning experience and tremendous for my career as a designer.