|Project Name:||Asset Audit App (2015)|
|Type of Project:||Barcode scanner/Asset tracking tool|
|Primary Roles:||usability testing, ui design|
Defining the Problem
The process of manually tracking physical assets is arduous and time consuming. The business wanted an iPhone app that would:
- Replace paper lists (saving on printer costs, paper, and other unnecessary waste).
- Reduce overall time to perform an audit.
- Make performing an audit easier.
- Ensure audit is complete.
- Automatically update entries into SAP saving time while making data more accurate and easy to maintain.
Understand the User
There were two groups to consider:
- Expert users: A couple of people who are full-time auditors
- Casual users: A larger group (a few dozen) that check equipment in addition to their other duties. Software installers, people who move equipment between desks/buildings, etc.
We discovered the application is only a small part of the overall process. We wanted to streamline this process. For example, the manual entry of equipment is 3 minutes per item into SAP.
We only needed one brainstorm session around the application, as it was only a tiny bit of the overall process:
- Open the app
- Scan some stuff
Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that, but that was the starting point. We realized it was a bit more complex, but after an hour session, we had it quite streamlined. Some time-saving ideas:
- When staring an audit, instead of typing in and searching for the area to be audited (in SAP, these are very long alpha-numeric codes—super easy to screw up), scan any item and pull the area from the database based on that
- Reassign equipment within the app
- Mark items for investigation (stopping them from going directly into SAP and creating junk data)
After creating sketches in the brainstorm meeting, I used Balsamiq to create a walkthrough of the app. This was tested with four end-users, and some feedback around labelling was reported, but otherwise, it was a very straightforward app.
The old way of doing things (manually) was a bit faster on the data collection side, than with the new app. The user simply had to look at their paper list, and check a box if the item was there. Pulling out an iPhone, firing up an app, and taking picture did add time.
However, the overall process was greatly improved. Before, the information had to be manually added into SAP—each item took around three minutes. With the new app, the information automatically gets added. Imagine doing a warehouse full of equipment manually! It used to take months! Now it’s automatic. I feel this is one of the best projects so far, as it wasn’t so much the UI that was the success story, it was the overall process that was improved. UX isn’t just about software!