Back our Biz is a trusted community marketplace for people to rate, discover, and review small and minority owned businesses in their community — online or from a mobile phone or tablet.
In January 2014 I assisted in creating a digital identity for a mobile application called Back our Biz. Back our Biz is a directory for small and minority owned companies throughout the United States. After joining the team I was responsible for the web application design and front-end, iOS, and Android application designs and development, as well as all marketing efforts such as the main corporate site.
Back our Biz
Lead UI/UX Design, Graphic Design, Video, Front-end Development, Art Direction
1 designer/developer, 1 SME
New York, New York
Situation: Most small businesses are designed to manage small volume and selling to niche markets but have a problem finding customers and managing workflow. Back our Biz was a solution to solve this problem by diversifying client base and increasing brand awareness.
Conceptualization and Ideation
We used an agile iterative approach with collaboration when creating a solution for Back our Biz.
Task: The first part of our research was to understand how people purchased products from small businesses. For this we conducted interviews with potential buyers, this allowed us to understand their biggest frustrations and to identify the pain points they encounter on a daily basis. After getting research from the target market I started creating prototypes and design concepts for the use cases. After getting a go-ahead from the team on the mockups, we began to conduct usability tests with the low-fidelity designs. Once we had confidence in the deliverables, we began finalizing designs.
Agile and Design Thinking Framework
Iterations were based off weekly sprints, where we had daily stand ups with the team and scrum master. We tracked our daily metrics and details on backlog items and their respective acceptance criteria during, the cupcake, cake to wedding cake, until we got to the minimum viable product. For the duration of the project we monitored our progress and version control through a pull method using GIT, Jira, Zoho Sprints, KanBan Flow and Bit Bucket. Below is the process we used that helped us get to the MVP:
After taking time to design the prototypes and agreeing on the direction with the team it was time to begin production.
Action: Working with the team we ran design thinking sessions to explore potential ways to improve the final product. We theorized about deliverables we would create for Back our Biz. Then I began to sketch ways to make it more obvious. Branding design including video, stationary, logos and pamphlets were created using illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Premier and After Effects. UI/UX designs for the project were completed in Sketch and Invison. The entire project was developed in HTML5 (Bootstrap) CSS3 and JS (jQuery) followed by back-end development in PHP. The MYSQL database including JSON data were stored in PHPMyAdmin. Version control, including managing the GIT, project sprints and sandbox testing were completed in GitHub and Jira. Ultimately, 3 deliverables were generated which included a logo, website, and mobile application.
Launching this robust, exciting new way to find small and minority owned businesses online was just the first part of this project.
Results: We made design and development decisions with the aim of meeting the clients’ criteria. Our collaboration created solid design choices that have also been implemented in the clients’ final website and mobile application. Below are a few of the overall metrics we achieved from this engagement: