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Designing a Barter experience

 

Project Brief

I was approached by the Product Owners of GoBarta, to design a digital barter system as a mobile app, which can be used by all a sundry, called GoBarta. GoBarta is looking to help reduce waste, through a non cash digital marketplace where everyone has something to offer. 

 

 

Problem Statements

Everyone has something to offer. It could be of little value to them, yet valuable to someone else.. So? 

How might we help reduce waste of valuable items, and generally?

How might we help people with valuable items find others with same objectives?

How might we help people get value without spending money? 

 

Impacts

Coming soon! 

 
 

 

About my role

On this project, I worked with the Product Owners, a Product Manager, a Front-end Engineer, and two Backend Engineers. All of the team members were carried along all the step of the way in a weekly meeting every Friday.

On the mobile App Design, I had a friend, Kachie Ibeji, also a Product Designer,  who helped out with some part of the visuals. 

 

 

On Research

One of the Product owners had done some market research on this, which he shared with me. One of the result from this was the result of a survey that shows that there were more women interested in this product offering than men, about 55% more women. Through this, he was able to validate that people indeed need the idea. Also, I spent time on Twitter and I could see people asking for a Barter system where they can barter their products and services, for something else they need in return.

 

 

User Personas
Userflow

 

Component Library

To kickstart the interface design, I started off with the Component Library. I created components of UI elements that I will need in the designs .

 

 

Landing page and Early Access website

While the developers were busy converting the mobile app to code, the Landing page went live as an early access website. This will enable us to introduce the product as a solution to prospects and also, collate and collect contact details like email addresses with which we will give beta testers, early access priviledge to the product to test it. Also, with the contact details collected, we can keep in touch with prospects and follow through with converting them to Users.

 

 

The Landing page is live here GoBarta.com

 
Early Access

 

On collaboration with Developers and Alpha test

During the implementation stage, the developers, the product manager and myself, scheduled frequent check-in for each feature that was implemented. The entire process was an iterative one as I doubled as a quality assurance personnel to ensure that the output was in sync with the designs I had done. 


As soon as the whole app was ready and available for internal testing, the product manager created an issue tracking sheet so that each member of the team could log in their concerns and bugs. The statuses of each of these issues were tracked and updated so as to manage expectations and also ensure adherence to the project timeline

 

Beta testing and acquiring early adopters

We opted for an open beta testing because the timeline for production was long overdue, after it has exceeded our set timeline twice. Also, I was able to convince the team towards open beta testing instead of close, as it being opened will give us a chance to reach/acquire early adopters for this product, even while we are still improving on the service. For this, there was no limit on the number of early testers for this product.

 

For this, the following features were counted to be tested to ascertain how usable they are and how they can be better. They are – List items, Barta items, Matches , Sign up and Messaging. 

 

First, the apps were uploaded to the IOS and Google play store, to allow the beta testers access to the Applications.

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

Firstly, acquiring early adopters can be both daunting and interesting.

 

I should always document every process for every Design project I undertake. It might not see the light of day on my Portfolio but it’s a win nevertheless, as the habit of documenting will help me with my writing.

 

Secondly, the importance of an Agile Product Manager cannot be overlooked for a Product.

 

Also, the importance of bringing every member of the product team onboard at the beginning of the project and having them align cannot be overlooked. Each team member having a team spirit and aligning with the set product goal is important. This affected this project as a whole and caused a delay in ‘go-live’ time.

 

Keeping an open communication line with prospects or users is very important, especially when you’re still building. This can help you so that when the product is ready to launch, the product will already have willing prospects who want to use it and can forgive some errors until the app is stable (early adopters). This can be done via mails, social media posts etc.