"How might we design a product / service that results in 20% growth for Square?"
Thoroughly research a company and present a business pitch that would result in 20% growth for the company, through a parallel product line/service, over 12 weeks.
My teammate (Anneka Javat) and I, chose Square as our company because we believed it had great potential to diversify into other areas and loved their design.
User Experience Designer
User Experience Researcher
Starting our research -
The first phase of research involved learning about how and why Square started, understanding Square’s core values and discussing who Square's main customer is.
Easy To Use
Who is Square's customer?
Field research helped us confirm that small businesses found the most value in Square. We visited local stores in Providence (RI) that use a Square POS System, and gathered data that showed 64% of owners are women. Also through their social media accounts we learned that Square actively supports and champions for women empowerment.
Informal, Cozy Environments
How does Square help?
Running a business is tough. Square solves this by creating a simple ecosystem that improves management and organization.
Square, which some call “an operating system for small businesses", has made available a variety of tools and devices to help a one-person business expand without compromising on personalized customer experience.
Understanding how Square's Ecosystem works.
"The Square POS is an all-in-one product that provides services / tools for managing and growing your business."
Is that how business owners feel?
We carried out interviews with local business owners and employees to learn about their experience with Square. The POS System's strengths are task management and efficiency, but some owners found the 3.75% charge (per transaction) too high, and voiced their concerns about a few missing features.
"Square has helped me efficiently manage my inventory, employee payroll and e-commerce website."
"The checkout process is so simple and quick, I can start making coffee while the customer is paying."
"Sometimes a customer's card gets declined and I have to input the data manually which is cumbersome."
"It's hard to split bills for big groups of diners, and then I end up having to use a traditional card machine."
How consumers interact with Square -
By (covertly) observing visitors carry out transactions on the Square POS System, we noticed that user's were more likely to tip higher amounts due to Square's UI (and social pressure), and most customers preferred to pay with card over cash. The checkout process was rather quick and foolproof.
Square's checkout + tipping interface.
"Square makes the business ecosystem easy, efficient and organized."
Proposed areas of opportunity -
Making other complex ecosystems efficient, while following Square's brand values and customer.
Things To Keep Track Of:
Utilities, Supplies / Inventory, Employee Schedules / Payroll.
How Square Can Help:
Multi-Tasking, Organization and
A central way to make the management of boutique hotels and larger AirBNB’s more efficient.
Things To Keep Track Of:
Decor, Food + Drinks, Venue, Entertainment, Guest List.
How Square Can Help:
Task Management, Extensive Vendor Database, On The Go.
Streamlines and organizes the entire event planning process and payments, providing an all-in-one solution.
Things To Keep Track Of:
Grocery, Utility Bills, Medical Visits, Subscriptions, Rent.
How Square Can Help:
Task Management, Organization, Quick Set-Up, On The Go.
A personal assistant that organizes all aspects of the home, and manages important payments and routine tasks.
Square's vendor database + Customer = Square Events
Square's vendor database is a valuable asset, and when combined with its organizational tools, it would work best for the event planning opportunity. This would also support small local vendors and empower them, staying true to Square's mission.
Researching event planning -
Looking into the event planning process, proved that the events industry can be a very complex system.
We pinpointed the areas of the process that we thought would be valuable for people planning events.
Food + Drink
Event planning needs to be organized.
Event planning is frustrating because there are multiple aspects to keep track of, each having their own tiny details. It was clear by this point that the event planning process needed to be put in some sort of standardized order.
Pressure testing our hypothesis -
Next we used our guide for event planning, and applied it to wedding planning, which is arguably the most complex event to plan. We thought that if people could use this skeleton for a wedding then it could be applied to any smaller event. We also interviewed a bride-to-be, and tested our hypothesis with her, who agreed with our timeline and provided valuable tips/features we could add to our app.
"The event planning process has a lot of steps and relatively long timeline (weddings). In order to create an accessible, on-the-go system, a mobile app works best."
Structuring the app (IA) -
In order to make this app truly handy, we felt it was important to have all the different departments be accessible on the home page in the form of a checklist, so that the user can directly keep track of tasks that have been completed / booked.
Low Fidelity Wireframes
While making these sketches, I realized how hard it can be to design a multi-tool app with many features, while keeping it simple and easy-to-use. Wire-framing our screens, really helped us understand the distribution of features across the app, as well as basic structural layout.
We designed a style guide for Square Events since both of us were producing high-fidelity mockups, and wanted to maintain the same design language and color scheme throughout, for a cohesive app.
Who is the app designed for?
Based on Square's customer, and our event planning research, we created a persona for our app, to help us understand our user and design accordingly. We also based our persona off a real life bride-to-be, after interviewing her.
Wedding countdown, 9 months to go!
Sara is a journalist who has to travel up to 3 times a week for work. Along with her busy lifestyle, she has to make time to plan her wedding, making sure she doesn't leave anything out. She expects her wedding to be as organized as she is, but is having difficulty juggling everything.
What are the app's features?
After breaking-down the event planning process, we recognized areas of improvement and increased efficiency, which were added as features on the Square Events App.
While conducting market research, we learned about other platforms that offered similar services as Square Events, but also how our app stood apart from existing products.
There were two companies that offered personal event planning services. but in comparison to Square Events, they provided relatively less features and weren't as user friendly.
Square Events would be the first of its kind, a one-stop-shop for event planning.
The Business Model
Event planners make 15 to 20% of the total budget for each event. Job growth for meeting and event planners is expected to grow at a rate of 11% from 2016 to 2026.
This signals a significant increase in spending towards the events industry, which is already worth about $300 billion.
By eliminating the middleman (an event planner), and capturing a small percentage of the total spending, Square Events is projected to bring 20% growth to the company.
For each transaction made on the app, Square will take its 2.75%. This multiplied by the millions of transactions that can occur, will help Square reach its goal.
"Square Events offers variety, ease-of-use, and smart solutions as compared to its competitors. It has the potential to be profitable, by capturing 2.75% per transaction made on the platform."
Above are some of the screens that I designed for the app.
Learnings and Feedback
I presented our business pitch to our professors, as well as guest critics who are investors with plenty of experience in the start-up world. They appreciated our idea and approved it to be viable, but said we could push the design of the app further. We were asked to add interactions that really differentiated our interface from other event - planning apps.
If given more time, I believe we would have been able to do so, by carrying out multiple rounds of user-testing with the prototype. Majority of the semester was spent doing in-depth market and company research in order to really immerse ourselves in the company's values and understand their true customer base.
Additionally, I would like to conduct more user interviews with our potential customers for the app, to understand whether it would actually be useful in their daily lives.
On a personal level, I would have liked to deliver the pitch with more confidence and brevity, in order to create a bigger impact and sell the idea.
Overall, I enjoyed the research process and applying my design thinking skills to a larger system, that involved creating a professional pitch. This helped improve my level of clarity in my thought process and gave me confidence as a designer.