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  • Writer's pictureEllie Hart

UX Case Study: Empowering Employee Independence

Creating engaging software for employees on the go who need help in a pinch. Specialized Scanning Application for Starbucks Employees and Trainees.


Our Project

Throughout the three month duration of this project, I worked side by side with a team of talented emerging UX designers and researchers to propose a solution to lack of engagement and retention of information within Starbucks corporate training. Our process was to use a variety of user experience research methodologies to ideate, research, prototype and test a solution to this problem.

My Role

My team worked collaborative throughout the entirety of this project but my primary contributions were as follows:

  • Researching users needs and desires

  • Conducting user interviews

  • Ideating solutions and potential application framework

  • Sketching low to mid-fidelity prototypes

  • Unifying a cohesive brand identity

  • Assisting in the designing and prototyping of the final product

  • Conducting user testing

The Problem

Based on research we conducted, we found that young adults (18-24) have high rates of anxiety when performing new tasks on the spot at work alone because they do not feel their training has prepared them to do an adequate job. Our team set out with the goal to empower confidence within these new employees so that they could competently complete tasks in their service jobs with machinery they may not know well at that point.

Our Solution

Based on research we conducted, we found that young adults (18-24) have high rates of anxiety when performing new tasks on the spot at work alone because they do not feel their training has prepared them to do an adequate job. Our team set out with the goal to empower confidence within these new employees so that they could competently complete tasks in their service jobs with machinery they may not know well at that point.

Project Goals

We wanted to incorporate specific functions to our design system based on our target audience of young adults and the research findings we discovered about that demographic. We wanted to make sure this application was easy to navigate and users remained engaged while using it. We also wanted to be sure this application catered to the learning styles we found most prevalent in our early survey of users: hands on learning when possible and the use of visual aids. As a whole, our team continually reminded ourselves of the user and their needs at every step of the process.

User Interviews

Our team decided to conduct user interviews to determine main pain-points users within our target demographic had in past job training environments. Their insights were beyond helpful in assisting us to frame our project. Insights regarding their desire for continual education in the work environment as they maintained on the job were the most insightful as we went forward.


Our team came up with multiple, complex proto-personas based on our research and initial interviews with our targeted user group. By creating these proto-personas, our group was able to single into the true needs and motivations of our target audience.

Scope and Limitations

For the scope of this application, my team had to be sure that we found a feasible solution to job training retention that could be executed in the amount of time we had. Through our research we found a multitude of possible pain-points that with further attention could be addressed. By creating journey maps we were able to pinpoint the major pain-points users had with job training.

Journey Map

The journey maps my team created reflected the lived experiences of our interviewees as well as the motivations identified through our proto-personas. Within this journey map we were able to identify the point in job training that we felt was the weakest, retention of information. As the employees transitioned into not being a trainee anymore, many struggled to retain information. At this point our team turned to looking for solutions to our identified pain-points.


Impact Effort Matrix

Creating an Impact Effort Matrix on FigJam in a 20 minute sprint helped our group identify feasible solutions to our problem at hand. We first did a quick brainstorming session with any and all ideas on the table. Then, to be sure our solution was achievable and had high impact we plotted our idea on this chart of impact and priority. We then combined the strongest ideas and landed on the solution of an application where by scanning in-store machinery, the employee could view tutorials, trouble shooting, cleaning and so much more.

Low Fidelity Sketches

With solution in hand, our group began to ideate lo-fidelity sketches of what an application we were wanting to create would look like. Starting with pen and paper we identified further weak areas in terms of application that we remedied as we moved forward. We continued to explore ideas with each teammate creating at least 30 mid fidelity wireframes. Each further iteration pushed us closer to jumping into digital iterations and our final framework.

We then tested our most successful iterations with 4 users to confirm that our idea was necessary and if the flow of screens matched target users’ mental models. After a smooth testing session, we started on first digital iterations.

Flow Chart/User Flow

With solution at hand and unofficial testing completed, our team came together and identified how our application would flow from task to task within a larger framework. We decided that Identifying this was a main priority before jumping into the digital prototyping stage.


Mid Fidelity Part 1

With our framework ready to go, we jumped into Mid-Fidelity prototyping just focusing on staying on task and creating a cohesive application.

*After our first iteration of testing this prototype, a major issue was found in the navigation of the site. These shortcomings were illustrated through the testing of our chosen KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Through testing we found that our users had high user error rates, high time on task and poor task success rate, calculating an all together a very poor System Usability Scale. All of these shortcomings were analyzed and corrected for our next iterations of prototypes.

Mid Fidelity Part 2

Following the results of our testing on the first mid fidelity prototype, we adjusted elements of our design so that it could flow more easily for users.

During our second iteration of testing, our major issue of navigation had been remedied, shown by our significantly lower user error rate seen within our KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).


High Fidelity

After multiple low fi and mid fi iterations, my team and I moved on to our final high fidelity iteration. We began to test out things such as color and text by creating our style guide. We utilized a design library and used the principles of atomic design to organize all of our aesthetic choices.

Design System

For our design system, we continued with the brand identity of Starbucks, as that was the service industry corporation that our team was focusing on creating a solution for. Our team utilized their font library and color scheme for our final iteration.

Final Design

High Fidelity User Testing

During our final round of testing the time on task amongst our users decreased significantly as they became more comfortable with the application

What I Learned

From this project, I learned to truly focus on task management when working in a team and creating a set of shared expectations as a group at the start of a project. Working together as a team is something that can always be improved upon and is important to maintain a healthy environment within.

Technically, I learned so much from this project. Working within the atomic design framework and having a component library to work within was game changing and will be utilized in all of my projects in the future.

Next Steps

My next steps for this design are to continue to work on cleaning up small design adjustments to make it a strong cohesive piece. I think that by adding relevant animations and adding other UI elements this application could be pushed to a whole new level

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