Univ. of Washington Capstone: Distributed Retail Returns

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Background:

During graduate school, my capstone project team decided to work with EZ-Turn, an award-winning project from the Univ. of Washington’s Executive MBA program.  

Research Question:

"How might we connect people who want to return items to the store with rideshare drivers who want to earn more money?”

Research Methods:

  • Conducted literature review about retail returns, gig economy, and shared mobility using research databases, and created a trends and forecast alert system for future updates on these and other  topics.

  • Contributed to creation of driver and consumer service blueprints, as well as user profiles and competitive product analysis.

  • Ran surveys and validated insights from desk research by conducting over 5 hours of semi-structured interviews with consumers and drivers.

  • Conducted usability test with drivers using RITE method and paper prototypes.

Key Insights:

  • Two-thirds of drivers surveyed use multiple rideshare apps, because they are looking for opportunities to earn more money.

  • Drivers need opportunities to pick up packages to be easily discoverable, since their next earnings locations can be unpredictable.

  • Drivers develop their own sense of 'rhythm' that ultimately helps them successfully reach their daily and weekly earnings goals.

Lessons Learned:

  • In addition to taking on the role of UX Researcher, I managed the scheduling of time and resources for our team, which consisted of two UX Designers and myself. We had to learn to take note of our assumptions and design decisions in order to keep  moving forward, since there was never enough time to explore everything we wanted to.

  • Our team had several iterations of documentation throughout various milestones of the project. There is an art and science to synthesizing and communicating insights for a client.

David Harris