As a Creative Director at Ziba Design, I led the experience design team responsible for designing the next generation of mobile software tools for FedEx couriers and station agents.
Many critical paths
The tasks supported by this suite of applications are the backbone of FedEx daily operations; hundreds of workflows, nuanced exceptions and one-off actions. Conducted at scale, these tasks have epic business ramifications. We worked diligently to align product objectives to the business realities FedEx faces everyday:
- Pickup of all domestic and international packages
- Delivery for all service types
- In-station operations
- Dispatch test messaging
- Time tracking for employees
A deep partnership
This, like most great software, was a team effort. We were embedded with the FedEx product team and collaborated with the business and engineering departments to make this multi-year project a success.
After a product strategy engagement in which audiences, requirements and a product roadmap were defined, we orchestrated a design sprint program in unison with FedEx agile development efforts.
This rigorous process allowed the design team to conduct compelling research, design innovative workflows and deliver highly effective feature documentation. The result was access to, and influence on, practically every aspect of this toolset.
Rigorous research & prototyping
Understanding the “why.” Exploring the “how.” Refining the “what.”
We shadowed workers all over the world doing all kinds of tasks to understand their workflows, their environments and the challenges they face.
We explored new mental models to match observed work patterns and regularly visited stations to get feedback.
As features were developed, the experience and underlying systems were tested in live, real-world scenarios at small scales.
Turning insight into action
We learned so much from the people who would eventually use these tools. But, the clock was ticking. This software had to replace a soon-to-be obsolete system. However, our charge was to go beyond functional parity with the old system.
We had to make things better.
- Easier to learn for faster on-boarding
- Streamlined workflows to expedite tasks
- Smarter display of data for more informed decisions
- Reimagined interface to reduce input errors
- Modern, open platform for future growth
Designing a better digital co-worker
The building blocks of an intuitive and ergonomic experience.
We built a clear and informative design pattern giving the user common visual, interaction and workflow cues across several task-orientated applications.
This software is critical to the daily success of its user. It has to be a helpful teammate; facilitating frictionless common tasks and expertly guiding through challenges. Using each application in the toolset had to feel familiar during new situations and be practically invisible after repeated use.
To ensure cohesion across the applications, we developed a set of interactive design tenants.
Real-time situational context to better inform user’s actions so they can focus on their tasks.
Workflows are flexible enough to allow for changing situations so users can maintain momentum.
Support, and enforce, cleaner data both to and from the user so data accuracy improves system-wide.
A successful launch
After several years of product strategy, design and development, the new digital partner is hard at work.
“When can we have this?”
Each time we prototyped a workflow, or conducted a live software test, our courier and station agent colleagues would enthusiastically ask when they would be able to take their new partner out on the road.
The whole team is so proud the software has launched and is now in the hands of over 5,000 FedEx couriers and station workers in North America, China, Taiwan, Columbia and India.
By the end 2020, well over 85,000 employees will be using the software; that’s pretty much all FedEx couriers and station agents around the world.