Catalog & Folder Builder
Making the creation of catalogs and folders centralized, online, up to date, and automated.
Fully responsible of the UX-UI design
Medio 2020 – early 2021
A short heads up
Since I’m bounded to a nondisclosure agreement, there are no specific client- or team member names mentioned throughout the portfolio and case studies. When names do show, there are additional agreements made with the client/person at hand. Some designs are distorted to meet the agreement.
Sketches, designs and concepts are copyrighted by Linx-IT Solutions bv. All rights reserved.
Thank you for understanding!
Digitalizing the entire folder creation process in retail chains
The client wanted us to create a solution, making the management of product and offer information available in the media portal, online. Once those types of information can be created and managed, they wanted a tool that could use this information directly, for the creation of catalogs and folders. Making the process fully available online.
Single source of truth
All product data, and the systems/databases this data comes from, need to be centralized in a single source of truth. We needed to ensure that the end users have overview of everything that is going on regarding product information and -image management, to create catalogs and folders that are always up to date. The solutions must be intuitive, and all solutions must communicate seamlessly.
In the media portal, there already is a module were product information can be managed. To get the question of the client, future potentials, and the existing module in line, we needed to revise the existing product management module.
Who it’s for
Folder and category managers
Category-, catalog- and folder managers within retail companies, that need to be able to manage their own category and/or folder. Those who are in control of the product and offer information, used to create catalogs and folders. And eventually, the managers that approve and assess catalogs and folders.
How it works
Seamless folder creation
We’ve created Product- and Offer Control Center (PCC & OCC), to centralize all different sources providing product and promotion data. The data is synced regularly and automatic. Making PCC and OCC a single source of truth.
Easy content placement
Since all data remains up to data, category managers can use all of this content in the catalog and folder builder. Once everything is in the right place, the catalogs and folders are assessed online.
Catalogs are finished once approved and can be generated/exported. The folders can be exported to an InDesign file, to ensure the graphic design team of the client can lay the final touch on the folder. Making it consumer ready.
During this project, I was in full charge of the design of the Catalog/Folder Builder, Offer Control Center, the overall user experience, and the re-design of the Product Control Center. Besides that, I conducted a lot of interaction concepts and research in order to make sure that the overall interaction of the solutions at hand, would be as fluent and natural as possible. Therefore I also researched what types of (product and offer) data there are, and how they are used in both contextual and visual ways by the end user.
Tackeling the project
Understanding the scope
Reshaping the current process
We understood that we had to come up with an online tool, digitalizing and automating the folder creation process. Thanks to a lot of prior knowledge and a great brief, we identified the category managers as the primary target audience, and therefore end users for all the solutions at hand. Plus we have good insight on how the current process of data management and folder creation is going.
The users are not that familiar with such dynamic software and web-applications. Their main focus is on printed marketing communications.
Different data types
Especially I had to understand how both folders and catalogs were build and what data types are retrieved from the PCC and OCC modules. This to ensure that the right data becomes visual in the folder.
Research & confirmation
Enabling the user to focus on what truly matters, ensuring quality
Conversations, meetings, research and eventually the analysis pointed out, that in the current process of the creation of catalogs/folders, the category managers not have enough time and space to focus on the product strategy and -planning.
Identified pain points
- Spending too much time on secondary activities.
- Gathering data from multiple sources.
- Not knowing what is and what isn’t up to date.
- Not knowing what content and data misses.
- Constantly replacing product and promotions, in catalogs and folders, offline (due to the above pain points).
Sketching and iterating on possible solutions
The final sketch of the first iteration of the Catalog Builder
Revising the first iteration of sketches
Basic sketches of the future page overview
First interaction ideas combined with grid behavior
New catalog creation wizard – specifying catalog contents
Sketches of the page overview and folder builder
Sketching out interaction concepts
Drag and drop interactions
Product and offer re-sizing and repositioning behavior
Consistent interaction behaviors
UI & visual design
Enabling the user to focus again on what truly brings quality
Once the iterations on sketches and concepts were finished, the solutions were chosen. The visual and UI design of the PCC, OCC, Catalog- and Folder Builder were created.
Cognitive load reduction
The emphasis laid on making the solutions as intuitive and easy to understand. Especially the builder. Ensuring the reduction of the cognitive load with the user. We took this into account since the end goal of all solutions was to let the user focus again, on the content, product strategy and -planning. Being able to focus on what truly matters.
Product Control Center
Offer Control Center
Catalog & Folder Builder
The results of the first launch
To start off, we solved the large amount of time spend on secondary activities. By the use of the software modules, we saved them 5 full-timers a week, on those types of activities. This contributed a lot to the other achievements.
- A single source of truth for the comprehensive data of both products and promotions.
- Visual overview of data that automatically stays up-to-date.
- Automatically replacing product and promotion with most recent ones in the overviews, catalogs, and folders.
- Fully online catalog and folder creation process.
- Created space for the end-users to focus on main activities again.
Scalable & consistent
Constant shifting markets and needs require adaptibility
We aimed for creating the catalog and folder builder software, to be as scalable as we could build it for the first launch. We did this, since markets in general, and needs within retail chains specifically, can shift rapidly.
To provide the best service, features, and software, we stayed ahead of the curve in this matter, by creating the builder with an adaptable mindset during the entire project.
And since scalability often goes hand in hand with changes, we implemented the design and interactions to be overall consistent within the project, to maintain a good user experience.
What I’ve learned
My biggest challenge
At first I had some trouble understanding where what types of data came from. Since multiple data-sources are centralized via the product information management solution (PCC), revising the solution was most certainly the biggest challenge.
During the project, I was close to the process of the creation of marketing materials. This helped me understand different technicalities that were used to dynamically create those materials. It helped me to inform my designs in a better way.