Hermes

A friendly chatbot that solves inefficiencies modifying work schedule with flexibility, comfort, and rewards

THE CHALLENGE

How might we improve communication between shift workers and their managers when developing and modifying schedules?

MY ROLE

Main contributed in UI, interaction design, and experience design. I also participated in ideation, wireframing, and user journey.

DESIGN TOOLS

Paper & pen, Sketch, Photoshop, and Principle

TARGET USER

Part-time shift workers, mostly students in college or high school; General Managers, who manages staffs in cafes or restaurants

Background

Where the story begins: chaotic work scheduling system in cafes and restaurants

A message from the restaurant you work at pops up; you find your next shift is the same day as your exam. How would you deal with this situation?

You ask your co-workers to swap the shift with your through FB messenger, email, slack, WeChat, message, leaving a swap request on paper in the restaurant...... and wait...

Overview

Making and modifying shift schedule should be comfortable, transparent, and communicative.

The hourly work scheduling system in small businesses like cafe and restaurants is chaotic and disorganized. Managers and shift workers often face problems such as short-staffing and miscommunication.

Hermes solves inefficiencies modifying shift schedules in small businesses for both shift workers and managers.

01

Check your schedule & Learn how to use Hermes in a communicative way.

02

Hermes helps you keep your clocks in manage and makes sure your hours are fair.

03

Offer reward points to increase the change of getting your shift swapped successfully.

04

Pick up a shift swap request from your co-workers to gain reward points.

05

Buy yourself a reward by using the reward points you earned for being responsive.

User research

Understand the current work scheduling system

As we started our initial research, we sent out a survey targeting hourly shift workers and managers and received more than 60 responses. Together with five semi-structured interviews and competitive product analysis, we were trying to identify specific pain-points in work scheduling process.

What is the current scheduling experience?

To build empathy with our users, we created a journey map focusing on the current experience of shift workers and their managers developing and modifying their work schedules. Potential user pain points are highlighted in orange:

Our users could encounter troubles for more than 10 times throughout the journey.

Insights

With the user journey in mind, we identified three main pain-points in the current work scheduling system that the shift workers and the managers are facing right now:

User needs

What are our target audiences' needs?

By mapping out the significant characteristics of our user interview participants, we created two primary personas: a shift worker Issac and a manager Luna.

Design Principles

How should we better help our target users?

Through user research, we found out that most problems arise from unexpected changes in work schedule, and could potentially get worse while the users were using separated communication channels. We believe that some steps in the current system can be automated and integrated.

Be integrated

Integrates all communication channels and makes work schedule organized and easy to track.

Be flexible

Be flexible and accommodates a wide range of preferences and abilities of our users when it comes to schedule change.

Be responsive

Increase the response rate for shift swaps and surging staff when unexpected changes happen.

Ideation

Exploring design treatments

Following the design requirement, we came up with about 50 ideas. After conducting an affinity diagram session, we voted top 2 ideas that addressed the user needs the most. Due to the timeframe we were given and our user insights, we decided to focus more on the shift workers' side.

Prototyping & Testing

Iterate, iterate, and iterate...

We built a prototype Facebook Messenger bot using Wit.ai and used a low-fidelity prototype to visualize our imagined system.

01

Users are not sure what they can do

> 4 out of 5 of our test participants experienced troubles figuring out what they can do with the chatbot.

> We added more quick reply options to help our users understand what Hermes could do.

02

What is the reward system?

> 3 out of 5 participants were unsure about how the reward system works and its abilities, and the benefits were not clear enough to the users.

> We added options like “what are points?” and “View rewards,” into quick options.

03

The home page is lacking shift info.

> 4 out of 5 participants wish they can do more things on the homepage of the app.

> We added options like Next Shifts, Surge Staff notice, and Clock-in/out options.

Style guide

From sketches to High fidelity

A style that is comfortable to use, reflecting that values, character, and atmosphere of the app itself. Intended to be thriving, comfortable, and effective, the design emphasizes crucial information such as shift time, surge staff notices, and call-to-actions.

Introducing Hermes

With the help of user insights and usability testing, the user goals and pain-points are more clear now, and we were able to quickly produce the hi-fi screens and some interaction design.

- Schedule Check & Instruction

Issac just started his part-time job at Cafe Montana as a coffee maker. He uses Hermes to check his schedule for the week. Hermes offers suggestions about what he can do with the bot, and Issac chose to learn about the point system.

- Clock-in / Clock-out

Issac checks his incoming work shifts, expiring offers, and print balance on the home page. After he arrives at the cafe, Issac uses Hermes to clock-in his shift for today.

- Shift Swap

Issac has 190 points in his account. He wants to swap his Wednesday shift with his co-workers because he has an important interview. Issac asks Hermes for a shift swap and eventually managed to complete the swap by offering 10 points as a reward.

- Picking Up A Shift

Issac gets a surge staff notification from Hermes with 20 points rewards. After picking up this shift, he reaches Level 2 and unlocks more rewards in the Hermes store.

- Purchase A Reward

Issac is browsing the available rewards in the Hermes store and buys a meal that costs him 35 points. Now, he has 155 points left.

Reflection

What we did well?

I learned how to corporate within a multi-discipline team and developed the ability to scope down ideas into a complete solution that targets our persona. This project was an excellent opportunity for me to use research findings to define the design question and to make design decisions.

What could to be done differently?

Since we had to finish the project within an academic quarter, we did not have enough time to design the self-scheduling feature. We focused more on the variable shift workers side because our survey participants are mostly shifting workers. For the future development of this project, we need to conduct further research on these two aspects.