###Thesis Prototype — Fall 2013

This last semester flew by and in that flight I didn't have a lot of time to document my final prototype. This post is to do just that and do a some reflecting after a well rested holiday break.

My last post before the break went into detail of the concept of the online prototype. I presented it in two forms, one was the “sell” or presentation (I kind of thought of it as a homepage) and the second was a HTML/CSS working site with three pathways, one for each use-case: consumer, small business, and enterprise.

#####The “Sell” Supply Hack Homepage Design

The presentation is the index page of site you continuously scroll down. This version was an illustration of what it would look like dynamic.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

As you scroll down the story gets deeper into the intentions of the idea. Making the argument that there is a resurgence of craftsmanship and a large consumer group willing to pay a premium for it.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

Moving into in the twilight I’ve outlined why a platform to crowdsource distribution might be the logical next step when thinking about other services like Maker’s Row and Kickstarter.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

Craftsmanship is a feeling we all want to take pride in. None of us are going to say a product is worth less because it’s hand made in a world where 90% of everything is being made in Asia. A part of all of takes pride by evening being the customer. There’s also a community that is built around supporting these products, for beer it’s bars full of heady know-it-all beer drinkers.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

The brewing industry in the United States is a multi-billion dollar industry plagued by two behemoth enterprises built and merged over the globalization period of the 1980s-90s. Throughout the last two decades small brewers have been making a dent, now at about 13% market share as of 2013. There is a real renaissance happening around beer in this country and it’s being pretty well documented by journalist and filmmakers alike.

This renaissance resonates with more than just snobby beer drinker, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites are full of people making soaps and cheeses. They’re not foods but utensils, toys, paper… you name it.

Supply Hack Homepage DesignSupply Hack Homepage Design

The final pieces of the presentation present commentary from the three user types in order to represent the need of disrupting the distribution systems for small producers of craftsmanship quality goods. The “selling” ends with a simple call to action: Sign Up.

#####The Site

The site is in it’s earliest stages, simply a working prototype to think through the iterations. I built the site with Twitter Bootstrap, a HTML/CSS framework. I used bootstrap because it allows me to be modular with the content as the developer and content producer. I can quickly move the elements around on predefined grids. In the original I wrote a quick style sheet to make all the components grey in order to keep the task at hand focus number one and not let shiney designy things distract me or my eventual test users. For the presentation I used a same colors as above.

Here is the homepage.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

From here the users selects their interest. Let’s look at the CONSUMER pathway.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

On the first page it locates the user, for this example in Brooklyn.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

Next the user is shown other consumer users voting to bring products into their region.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

When the user drills into one of the beacons it shows a grid of nominated products. From there the user can vote.

Not shown in this prototype is the rest of the users flow which includes a profile and the ability to search out and add products to the sites inventory.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

The next pathway is for Small Businesses. The first step is for them to select the size or quantity that they want to ship. This on-boarding process is very over-simplified in this prototype, later iterations will include a detailed entry flow that will detail quantity, frequency, and contribution.

The final flow is for the enterprise level user. The thought now is that they will need a way to upload their distribution network data to a interface that will display gaps. The front face of this would most likely look like an excel table, as shown here:

Supply Hack Homepage Design

In this form the enterprise user is offered a interface to select areas in the supply chain that have excess. Those selections are processed and added to a database that links back to the Small Businesses looking for access. The small businesses are shown an anonymous list of larger supply chain excess and the enterprise user would see a list of small businesses that they would potentially work with.

Supply Hack Homepage Design

Both the small business and the enterprise make their selections based on interested. When a match is made the both businesses will be alerted and put in contact. Once the connection leads to a deal the site will collect a percentage of the deal through the end of the contract.

#####Conclusion

The “Sell” prototype went over much better than I had expected. I also really enjoyed doing the illustrations and working on an interesting and enticing way to tell the story about SUPPLY_hack.

The site was a good prototype to think through, I am not sure how important the consumer role is in the product and I think by detailing a flow with that user in mind I can see that as a much later phase.

For now I think I will continue my focus on Small Businesses. Specifically small breweries. I still think they make a great actor in a world desperate to localize without giving up too much convenience.