Built, scaled, and mentoreda multi-disciplinary UX team (Researchers, Architects, Designers and UI Engineers).
Responsiblefor all aspects of UX and the UI design of the Ocado Smart Platform (Desktop and Mobile B2B and B2C applications).
Defined and executingthe user experience vision, strategy, team's code of conduct, user-centered design direction and guidelines.
Enrichinga strong technology-based culture by injecting a more user-centered and problem-solving mindset and process.
Liaisewith designers, developers and product owners to implement new conceptual ideas.
Facilitatingmultidisciplinary teams' collaboration.
Three years have passed since I started working on the Ocado Smart Platform. From one man trying to kick off a more user-centred approach to problem-solving while delivering design outcomes, we are now a high-level multi-skilled UX team.
It has been an exciting, challenging and rewarding journey – a course full of obstacles and learning.
I was leading the UX efforts for the Ocado General Merchandise Shops (we were just about launching Fabled.com) when I was invited to look into Ocado Technology’s latest business challenge. From a user perspective, because of its inconsistency in functionality and visuality, the Ocado Smart Platform was not perceived as one product or one suite of products. As such, it could not yet be regarded as a sellable product.
To tackle this business matter, I partnered a front-end engineer to deliver an MVP of a design system (named Aeris). In not much time, we were able to build a functional and professional-looking kit of components and patterns. Adopting Aeris made OSP systems appear as though they were part of one family suite.
Soon after, from just helping out, I was asked to move full time to OSP with the responsibility of building a team and leading the user experience and design forces.
By continuously observing and listening to the Aeris first users, we learned that, while we were improving it visually and giving it renewed functionality, we were making it harder for the developers to implement and maintain it.
It became apparent that the UX team could not develop Aeris alone. Today, we have a new ad hoc group made up primarily of passionate front-end engineers working on transforming a beautiful design system into a more distributive front-end solution for all OSP B2B applications.
In the meantime, the building of a UX team continued, and I was able to start transferring ownership and responsibilities to a broader group of motivated individuals. We defined our role and goal within the business, identified organisational and product challenges, designed a problem-solving framework and defined a code of conduct. Why a code of conduct? Because the strength of the UX team is measured by how healthy the relationship is between designers and the rest of the organisation, so we need to be aware that our behaviour, more than our design outcomes, strongly determines our success.
Pushing design in a tech-savvy environment such as Ocado Technology remains a tough challenge today, but one that our team was and will always be willing to tackle. We regularly conduct workshops, lead and facilitate design sprints and share our learning, facts and stories with the Ocado community through initiatives such as the UX Academy. We have a programme for software engineers and product owners who are looking for experience working as a UXer for a period of time. In OSP Systems, we are currently satisfying the design need of more than twenty autonomous development teams.
Aeris Design System
We built Aeris, an OSP-branded development framework that helps create consistent, responsive layouts using user-friendly patterns and code for all our diverse contexts. To satisfy the high demand to use it appropriately, the Aeris team, made up of front-end engineers and designers, is currently updating Aeris to facilitate its fit with applications built on different frameworks such as React and Angular. We are delivering a state-of-the-art and well-documented tool that will shape design while cutting the development time of all our products.
Apps & Systems
CMS, Payment & Fraud, Store Pick, Click&Collect, Fleet Mgt, Supply Chain, Customer Care, and many more.
Regardless of the UX team size, we were able to meet the minimum requirements of more than twenty B2B applications and deliver major mobile apps such as Store Pick and Delivery. Each UXer was able to take responsibility for more than one system at a time and significantly contributed, through effective planning, workshops and collaboration, to make the OSP a user-friendly product.
The main reason why I was so thrilled to be part of the Ocado Smart Platform family was the opportunity to contribute to the development of the next generation of customer-facing e-commerce platforms of Ocado.
I started with very high expectations and ambitions but soon realised that the journey to innovation and experimentation was, from a UX perspective at that time, just a utopia. We decided to have more of an MVP approach – start by delivering what we know works and improve later.
When I started working on the e-commerce platform, I was again a one-man team. I must admit, I truly enjoyed designing the user experience of what could, in my eyes, have been the next generation of the Ocado.com webshop. My extensive previous experience in e-commerce – in grocery and general merchandise – equipped me well for the task.
With the excitement of a child, I embraced the challenge, and I started planning the next steps. There were significant factors to consider. OSP was intended to accommodate retailers with a unique business model, location and, undoubtedly, different customer experiences of online shopping. Customisation unmistakably guided my design thinking.
I developed Fraisy, the design language for the OSP customer-facing online shop. My objective was to create a consistent, customisable and clean UI kit with UX patterns that could be easily understood and further developed by the team of UXers that I was, in the meantime, forming.
Two years have passed, and today we have outstanding UX individuals who regularly partner with engineers to deliver a technologically updated design system that answers our business goals and meets our customers’ expectations.
With a design system in place, we were able to fast prototype in high fidelity and obtain the answers we needed from our users. By demoing our ideas in a more factual setting, we facilitated all conversations with product owners, engineers and our customers’ retail teams.
We should aim to humanise technology through empathy and design to deliver software that sell grocery with ease. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
Fraisy: Component-based UI in React
Some of the world's largest brick-and-mortar grocery stores have selected OSP to sell groceries online profitably, scalably, and sustainably: