Chunk — Digitizing book-keeping for small-business owners

Overview

Chunk is a simple book-keeping tool for small businesses. The current web-app helps business owners record sales and expense transactions, manage customers, manage inventory, and view reports. Chunk operates a subscription-based business model with over two hundred active users and six paying users.

Duration

Four months

My role

I handled User Research, UX Design, and Visual (UI) Design. I was responsible for conducting extensive research and creating visual designs for the final products. As a sole designer, I worked closely with a team of three Software Engineers and two Product Managers to design and build both products.

Challenge/problem

From research and interviews with several small business owners, we uncovered problems business owners face with the current version of Chunk. We made assumptions that business owners cared more about recording their sales/expense transactions. Speaking to users proved us wrong as about 80% of business owners brought up managing their inventory as a major problem.

Exploring the industry

To further explore the problem space and understand the industry— researching the market validated the problem users had. Other competitors like Loystar, Kippa, and Sabi did little about inventory management. I discovered a wide gap we needed to fill to solve this problem for users. This gap in inventory management presents an opportunity for the business, as solving this problem helps Chunk differentiate itself from competitors, carve out a unique value proposition, and stay on track to acquire thousands of new users who’re facing that problem. These users are most likely to become paid customers.

People I’m designing for

I’m designing for Folake, a businessperson in the beauty industry. She’s carved a niche by making cosmetic products and leveraging online platforms to reach customers. She’s focused on growing her business and motivated by the vision of becoming financially independent. She spends most of her time running the business, recording transactions, and struggling to manage her growing inventory.

I’m designing for Jummai, a relentless go-getter in the fashion industry. She’s a mother of three who has chosen not to give up after years of running her wrapper business at a loss. She spends her days pursuing owing customers, calculating losses from missing wrappers, and taking care of her children.

Goals

  • Design a platform that helps business owners stay accountable by aiding them manage their inventory and record business transactions.
  • Craft an easy to use interface and enable business owners add multiple businesses.
  • Increase activation and adoption by new users.
  • Increase user engagement.

Ideation
How might we’s

How might we help business owners manage their inventory and grow their business?

How might we help businesses stay accountable to their stakeholders?

How might we help businesses reduce their losses and increase their profits?

Design decisions

Organized inventory management

Research uncovered business owners needed a well-defined inventory management system. I designed an all-encompassing inventory management module that meets this need.
The Inventory management module displays relevant information about the business inventory; products in stock, selling price, and cost price. Users can import their Inventory from external sources like a google sheet or an excel sheet. They can also add to inventory, update stock and get relevant notifications when low or out of stock.

Mini-CRM tooling

We discovered business owners had difficulty managing their customers. They needed ways to manage relationships with customers, and uncover their frequent and top-buying customers. That helps them create rewards and loyalty offers for top customers. I created a mini-CRM module that helps business owners manage their relationships with customers. The design included relevant data points to assist business owners create a loyalty/rewards-based system for top customers. They also get information on their debtors.

Omni-channel support for online and offline stores

Business owners sell online using stores like Flutterwave store, Paystack store-front, Jumia, Konga, Jiji, and Bumpa. That brings up new problems for business owners like: how can they analyze insights across their online and offliine stores? To solve this, I designed an omnichannel store to help business owners access insights across their online and offline stores. The omnichannel store support helps streamline their business transactions on various platforms and stores.

Business reports

From research and understanding of business metrics, getting accurate business reports is a problem faced by business owners. They need to understand data points that determine their business profit or loss for specific periods. They need to understand their credit and the total amount customers owe their business. A report module was designed that displays relevant data points on the health of their business. They get to analyze their business’s profit or loss, revenue, and credit owed to their business.

Mobile app

mobile app screens

User testing

The product team visited the stores of about three users and shared the mockups and prototypes with them. We wanted to find out if the inventory page solves their problem of managing their inventory and if other modules help them solve other problems. I learned they needed to include multiple pictures of a particular product at once — that wasn’t part of the design. I also realized users wanted to assign roles to their workers after inviting them as team members on Chunk.

Design iteration

To meet the need for multiple pictures, I designed a screen that helps them add several images at a go.

To meet the need of roles definition, I highlighted job titles common to target audiences and made a way to empower business owners to assign roles to employees on the app using checkboxes.

roles definition

Implementation

I was involved in making technical decisions alongside the engineering and product team. I closely collaborated with engineers throughout the implementation and clarified design decisions. I constantly tested and provided feedback in the demo stage.

Learnings and takeaways

As designers, understanding is the key to great design solutions. Understanding the problem, understanding users, understanding the industry. Understanding across the board leads to solid design solutions.

Great product design is a team sport. Great products are built when team members work together on solving problems. I learned to take advantage of the collective strengths of team members. Insights from team members could make all the difference. Great design is the product of teamwork.

Effective collaboration is a skill sharpened through practice. Collaborating cross-functionally taught me a lot about working well with others. Building empathy is important for having great working relationships across teams.

Always validate your ideas before proceeding to build. We can only make assumptions on users need. We only truly know after speaking with users. We thought users needed a sales management tool but discovered they needed an inventory management tool.

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I’m passionate about solving problems with UI/UX Design. Music & Tech Enthusiast.

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Prince Miracle Onesimus

Prince Miracle Onesimus

I’m passionate about solving problems with UI/UX Design. Music & Tech Enthusiast.

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