Cloud Stands

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Time

8 weeks total

2 weeks of brainstorming and planning

6 weeks of development and design

Team

9 team members

1 team lead

1 product designer

7 full-stack developers

Project Summary

Cloud Stands is a new mobile-optimized web app that strives to allow market owners to create a straightforward onboarding process for vendors. We make it possible for market owners to keep their markets organized and for vendors to easily join small markets.

Cloud Stands Mobile Landing Page

Mission Statement

Farmer’s Markets are great ways to promote healthy living, creativity, and stimulate local economies. However, there’s a lot of room for improvement:

 

Imagine running a farmer’s market, but struggling to connect with farmers

Imagine being a vendor, but not being sure how or where to sell your goods

 

Cloud Stands' mission is to create a beautiful, intuitive product that promotes organization and communication between vendors and small markets.

I created this video to help the developers understand the problem these people were having, build empathy, and ultimately get them excited! I was originally calling this product "Cloud Markets" but we decided to change it so we could own the domain name.

User Interviews

I made trips to the only two farmer's markets in my area and interviewed two market owners and three vendors. I also created a Google form that I shared on Reddit and got responses from an additional market owner and vendor. I took notes in addition to recording the conversations (with permission) and transcribed insights.

Note from user interviews
Note from user interviews
Note from user interviews

Pain Points & Desires

 Market owners and vendors naturally have different desires and pain points, but a couple of things they agreed on were
 

Lack of organization - It’s hard for market owners to keep track of 20 - 70 current vendors as well as the 100+ other vendors who are interested in joining their market. Vendors felt like the process of joining a market and requesting changes once accepted was slow.

 

Lack of communication - With market owners struggling to keep things organized, their vendors often feel like they’re not informed and that it’s challenging to get in touch with their market owner. Potential vendors use various avenues like Facebook, the market’s website, or calling the market to become a vendor.

Market owners also wanted to specifically reach farmers as well as unique vendors who were tech-savvy.

Design Solutions

 The user interviews spawned the idea for a centralized platform for market owners and vendors. The main objectives that guided us through creating this product were:

  • Should be smooth enough than non-technical people can use it

  • Establishing connections is easy and focuses on promoting communication

  • Information that is relevant to vendors and market owners is the highest priority

We wanted to streamline the onboarding process between vendors and small markets, create a network for vendors and market owners, and a consumer-facing app that allows customers to purchase goods from vendors at small markets. Due to time constraints, we had to narrow the scope to only focus on streamlining the onboarding process. 

Sketches

I prioritized designing the Market Owner Dashboard first because market owners needed to be able to onboard themselves first before vendors could join their market. I wanted to bring the familiarity of Facebook, the simple communication of Slack, and the community of Nextdoor. 

 

Since we decided that we could only focus on the onboarding process, only the middle two screens made it beyond sketches.

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Strategy

In order to keep the scope narrow, I organized ideas and potential features on Trello cards. As a team, we collaborated to refine those ideas into user stories with acceptance criteria and a definition of done. We also established three feature canvasses with scheduled releases every two weeks.

 

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When designing the vendor screens, it was not only important for them to be able to onboard themselves onto the app, but also to discover and rent a booth at different markets.

Wireframes

I used Whimsical to create wireframes that demonstrated the simple onboarding process for market owners. They needed to be able to create, edit, and update their own profiles for their market. Upon collaborating with the development team, we determined it would be most simple and secure to only use oAuth for signing up and signing in. After talking with users, we chose to go with Square, Facebook, and Google. Facebook and Google are most common, and we chose to add Square because it’s popular for vendors to already use it for credit card processing.

High-Fidelity Design

I wanted Cloud Stands to be intuitive, accessible, and have an organic feel. I created a Mood Board with the team for inspiration and played around with different shades of colors. I ultimately chose a shade of green, blue, and orange that was saturated enough to follow the WCAG 2.0 guidelines for contrast accessibility. My typefaces included Raleway for headings and Roboto for paragraphs.

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Market Owner - Adding Hours

My first goal was making it as easy as possible for a market owner to add their market to Cloud Stands. This is how they would go about adding operating hours to their market. 

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Market Owner - Adding Booths

Markets often have different varieties of booths and booth types. Cloud Stands gives market owners the option to add booths individually or in groups.

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Vendor - Viewing Your Rented Booth

In order to keep vendors informed, we added their upcoming schedule to their dashboard. They can press a card and get more details about the booth they rented, market information, and cancel their booth.

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Usability Testing

I completed a total of 10 usability tests (5 on the market owner dashboard and 5 on the vendor dashboard), mostly with friends and family but some had experience being a vendor.

Goal: The market owner can quickly and easily onboard themself

  • How will signing up with Square, Facebook, Google impact their onboarding experience?

  • Verify accessibility (text size, color, etc.)

  • Will the market owner instinctively upload a cover photo first?

  • Can the market owner add operating hours for multiple dates?

  • Can the market owner view their market?

  • Can the market owner view vendors on a particular date for their market?

  • Can the market owner edit their market? 

Goal: The vendor can quickly and easily onboard themself

  • How will signing up with Square, Facebook, Google impact their onboarding experience?

  • Verify accessibility (text size, color, etc.)

  • Will the vendor instinctively add items (and click the Add Items button)?

  • Can the vendor search for/view markets?

  • Can the vendor sign up for a booth at a market?

  • Can the vendor view their profile?

  • Can the vendor edit their profile? 

  • Can the vendor sign out?

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After completing usability tests, I documented insights in a Google Doc then shared it with the development team via Trello. I also included any changes or inconsistencies from the prototype and product.

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Dreams & Lessons

I'm super proud of the MVP we were able to build with Cloud Stands in just 8 weeks. These are some of the additional features that we would have liked to create if we had more time:

 

  • Payment Processing

  • Messaging

  • A consumer-facing app

  • Google Maps integration

  • Rating/review system

 

 

A few lessons that I learned throughout this process were:

  • Focused scope vs. dreaming big - As a Product Designer, I have the gift and curse of being able to sometimes see a much bigger picture of what a product can be and how it can best serve users. Working on Cloud Stands taught me the importance of keeping the scope focused in order to ship better, and sometimes more, features.

  • No such thing as too much research and testing - Well, maybe there is, but I would have loved to have more time to interview more users and get more of them to test new features throughout the process.

  • Niche markets = lots of edge cases - This goes hand-in-hand with more interviews and testing. Every small market has a unique way of doing things. Cloud Stands aimed to make it as simple as possible for vendors to join a market, but it would have been really cool to explore more ways that market owners onboard vendors.

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