Challenges & problems
The majority of my time at Tradeshift was dedicated to helping automate document flow processes and making it possible for our users to process discrepancies and exceptions as fast as possible.
The teams and I were tasked with figuring out how to make optimal and standardized flows for Invoice approvals, Matching different documents to the Invoices, and flagging any potential discrepancies so they can be processed by a human.
One of the biggest challenges we were facing was to make a digital solution that can be adjustable to fit the different business workflows and be compliant with different countries’ regulations.
UI/UX Design of all the new features and flows.
Assisting our UX researchers.
Facilitating product team workshops.
Working with the PO to create a product roadmap.
Assisting implementation with design quality assurance and adjustments.
Flexible and componentized designs that are able to handle the complexity of the digital solution the development team implemented. It also places the basis for the reusability of these documents across the rest of the growing Document ecosystem
The scalable design of a solution that can handle simple 1 line invoices and invoice documents with 3000+ line items.
Interface with multiple layers that can adapt based on the viewer role and permissions. This way the UI can provide contextual support based on the User’s tasks. From the Coder who enriches the invoice information with an additional layer of information to the final approver of the expenses.
Redesigned configuration for document processes and customization of document workflows.
Proof of concept designs to assist the PO with road mapping and validating if ideas are worth chasing after.
More about the journey
During my time at Tradeshift, I had the pleasure to collaborate not only with a great design team but several product teams and diverse stakeholders from customer success and support. Below I will highlight some of the activities that I think had a big contribution to the outcomes we achieved.
Flowcharts and user flows
In order to make sense of the complexity and turn it into logical steps for the users and developers, mapping out the journeys to align with stakeholders was a key activity that I was driving.
Doing so allowed us to have open discussions on how to approach the problems we were facing and figure out the general user flows. It was also a good artifact to present to stakeholders from other departments to get rapid feedback on the direction and if details have been mist.
Quick visualization of ideas
I firmly believe quick visual collaboration is key to not wasting effort in making pixel-perfect mockups in the wrong direction. Creating wireframes (hand-drawn or not) that communicate the key flow screens and features serves as a great blueprint when starting the higher fidelity designs and prototypes.
These samples have been all used in my collaboration with internal stakeholders to align on ideas and shape new ones. It is an essential part of my process that enables me to learn faster and adapt the direction.
Bringing the fidelity up
After the foundation and flow were agreed upon, I was responsible for bringing the ideas to higher fidelity so that the development team can start refining them into actionable PBIs and start implementing the designs.
This process often was dependent on a lot of back and forward communication with developers and adjusting designs based on new findings or unforeseen technical limitations.
I find that an agile approach supported with open communication works best to make sure designs are implemented as close to what is in the design files but at the same time respecting technical and time limitations.
Collaboration with UX researchers
While working on the features in regards to the Invoice automation, I was collaborating with the UX research team that had the responsibility to serve multiple product teams.
It was a good experience to have someone else lead and facilitate the interviews while I could act as a supporting role if more in-depth domain knowledge was required.
This helped eliminate potential biases that could have impacted some of the findings. Also by having a dedicated person to schedule interviews and prepare the facilitation, I had more time to focus on prototyping the journeys that we needed to show to customers.
Nowadays, when I look back at my work and experiences during my time at Tradeshift, I can point out a few of the main challenges and some of the things that I could have probably approached differently.
Some of the things that challenged me
Lack of domain knowledge was definitely one of the biggest challenges for me. It was my first time working on such a heavy B2B product that required a good understanding of documentation and what are the standard business processes for invoicing and procurement.
Working in a centralized Design team was a challenge for me since I like sitting closely with the product team. It is a challenge to achieve the same level of trust and psychological safety when you are not sitting with the development team on daily basis.
One thing I would change if I could
I would book dedicated sitting days with the product teams I was working with, so I could be in close proximity to them, at least for the teams that were located in Copenhagen. That I think could have helped me get to speed faster and help me understand the domain faster.