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Client: FormulatorsFriend.

Focus: An end to end solution focused on R&D laboratory management within the cosmetic chemistry industry. Focused on Fortune 100 brands that lead the cosmetic industry. 

Reflective of brevity and NDAs this page will reflect a cohesive chronological, and abbreviated list of end to end steps to accomplish the task at hand successfully meeting stakeholders goals.

Additionally proprietary H.X.O. methodology is woven through all PM/D steps avoiding endless reiteration loops and continually enhances on-going user experience.

Journey Guide

*Aerial Objective: Clarify

*Aerial Objective: Clarify
-Accessing Constraints
-Goals
-Scope Segmentation

Brainstorming
-Double-Diamond Adapted Methodology Research

*Embrace the User

Embrace the User
-Predicative Formula = “The Whill”
-Qualitative – “The What”
-Stakeholder Interviews
-A/B & Multivariant Design Testing
-Quantitative – “The Why”

*Interviews and Feature Matrix

Design & Develop
*Pro/Con Solutions & Feature Options
Prioritization Weighted Matrix
-User Stories – Empathy & 

*Launch & Iterate

Launch & Iterate
-Landing Page WorkFlow
-WireFraming
-Test and Pivot
-Goal Q&Q Measurement Matrix

*Post Launch: Measure & Learn Metrics

Post Launch: Measure & Learn Metrics
Double Diamond Post Launch Feedback Loop
-User Metrics
-Product Metrics
-Q&Q Reporting Post
-Log Achievements (and challenges)

Tech Stack
*Principle
*Anima
*Adobe Audition
*Adobe XD
*Lottie
*Figma, Invision, Sketch
*Lucid Chart, Mindmap
*Aha!, PM software
*Analytical Dat

Formulators Friend –
R&D Cosmetic Chemist
Formulaic Management Software Platform

Qualitative & Quantitative Process 

  01 Objective UI/UX Journey 

The Formulator’s Friend aims to streamline an efficient R&D lifecycle end-to-end efficiency on this laboratory management software product, focusing on cosmetic chemists. With a vision to simplify communication, manage new cosmetic products in pre-production, associated inventory hardware, and raw materials procurement, track quality control experiment progress, departmental budgets, and allocate talented chemistry bandwidth.

The goal of this project was to conduct user research to identify innovation opportunities, design the entirety of Formulator’s Friend multi-platform software, and create a unique and modern brand identity that could be white-labeled licensing for internal use at Fortune 100 companies, including Estee Lauder.

Takeaways:
Unique to its own focus the cosmetic industry runs on a variety of internal systems all siloed. R&D Departments operate by daisy- chaining procurements systems to raw material handling systems to hardware serving on to talented chemists running projects.

Starting Metrics:

In the process, I interviewed and surveyed 45 cosmetic chemists with the help of an industry partner network.

Problem statements that revealed themselves to include formulaic secrecy and compliance. Cosmetic product formula revisions need a streamlined process to adapt for agility.

The target audience is cosmetic chemist leadership, but heads of these departments heavily influence the chemists they employ.

Initial Defined Challenge: 

Combined, this all adapts into design because feedback from the industry is that 70% of chemists prefer an easier-to-use interface and a modern and straightforward aesthetic accessible through desktops and tablets. The daily user commonly uses their composition notebooks. 

To Ponder:

How can U.I. and UX embrace the pace of the industry and be a trusted repository for the cosmetic chemist industry?

 

My Hands-on Contributions to the Design Team

CX Journey, UI Design, H.X.O. Research, Feature Priority Matrix, Prototyping, Animated Interactions, Usability Testing, Q&Q Data Collection, and build a complementary team to achieve the desired roadmap.

  02 Problem Space

Today’s laboratory management software products are cluttered, difficult to use, dated, rife with usability issues. Older interfaces make the management of the Research and Development departments difficult and complex, bogged down. Cosmetic chemists spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to complete simple tasks, such as scheduling usage of an element of scientific equipment or checking on the scientific process through quality control for the duration of a controlled experiment’s progress.

Additionally, R&D laboratories are often limited to full-time talent to procure and schedule equipment usage. These issues are a significant bottleneck in any R&D laboratory management process. At the Formulator’s Friend, we aimed to understand the root cause of these issues and calibrate a product that simplifies the entire laboratory management process- from communication to formulaic experiment lifecycle to the procurement of technologies, raw materials, and managing vendors.

Guiding Questions:

To better understand the root cause of the pain points that our users faced, we conducted a heavy amount of user research with our prospective users. Adapting a traditional UI/UX process was necessary to accommodate this process, which meant persistence into a very coveted industry. All value propositions begin and end with a confidential formula, and this took place in the form of everything from casual conversations about a chemist/scientist’s day-to-day in defining procedures to usability testing, A/B testing, and lo-fi prototyping.

To accomplish this task, we asked some guiding questions that allowed us to gain more insights into their experience across various responsibilities:

Sample Guiding Questions:

  • How do you spend your time on a typical day as an R&D laboratory leader of 20 talented chemists?
  • What does a standard procurement of hardware and raw material suppliers process look like at your laboratory?
  • What are your biggest challenges when attempting to visualize your scientific experiment progress?
  • What do you like/dislike about managing inventories within [current R&D laboratory management software]?

  03 Process 

Choreographing the User Experience

At Formulator’s Friend, we decided on a custom Double Diamond Theory for our design process. It is a spin-off of our own H.X.O. experiential D.N.A. process. 

Customized U.I. Process

We utilized and prioritized the critical phases of Discovering, Synthesizing, Ideating, Designing, and Implementing.

Discovery phase: we spoke with our user demographic from a psychometric stance to understand their pain points, needs and goals, and day-to-day.

Synthesis phase: we compiled our research to identify patterns and innovation opportunities based upon the data we gathered during the Discovery phase.

Ideation phase: I sketched out wireframes, created a repeatable flow of information architecture, and designed service blueprints before moving on to rough drafts of low-fidelity mockups.

 

During the design phase, I combined all U.I. elements up to this point by converting our low-fidelity designs to high-fidelity by defining a visual language and iterating rapidly while for initial usability testing.

Finally, during the implementation phase, I managed Formulator’s Friend team of eight engineers to hand off our designs to development and implement them for alpha and beta testing.

  04 UI

High – Fidelity User Interface

After the discovery, synthesis, and ideation phases, I shifted my attention to Formulator’s Friend Procurement’s Hi-Fi design. Drawing on modern U.I. trends, I defined a visual style and designed a user interface that contrasts other lab management software. 

 

Challenges Arise:

Users complained that a competitor’s software similar design is dated and hard-to-use, motivating us to reaccess the features and overall U.I. designs.

Outcomes:

  • Our final design reflects our learnings during our discovery and synthesis phases. Users wanted a more modern and functional system that mimics the total possible data form entries system. Inclusive with an updated U.I.
  • By removing unnecessary features and improving the user interface and information architecture, we were able to improve the user success rate and efficiency (tested during quantitative A/B testing)

Hi-FI U.I. Experiments:

After the discovery, synthesis, and ideation phases, I shifted my attention to the “Experiments” feature’s high fidelity user interface design. Designing a new “Card” view, R&D scientists and laboratory managers can now visualize experiment and project progress more efficiently. This method contrasts drastically from existing laboratory management software, with a radically different U.I. that solves

Outcomes:

  • By re-inventing the user interface and information architecture of this feature, I significantly improved the user success rate and efficiency (tested during quantitative A/B testing) when conducting experiment management tasks.

 

 

HI-FI U.I. Inventory Management:

After the discovery, synthesis, and ideation phases, I shifted my attention to the Inventory Management feature’s high fidelity user interface design. Modernizing the user interface and improving the usability of inventory management, Formulator’s Friend prospective users strongly preferred Formulator’s Friend Inventory Management to competitive software.

Outcomes:

  • By modernizing the user interface and adjusting information architecture to improve usability issues, I significantly improved the user success rate and efficiency (tested during quantitative A/B testing) when carrying out inventory management-related tasks.

 

Equipment Scheduling Feature Reveals itself to be a prominent immediate need.

Hi-Fi U.I. Equipment Scheduling:

After the discovery, synthesis, and ideation phases, I shifted my attention to the Equipment Scheduling feature’s high fidelity user interface design. Scientists can easily visualize available and booked equipment by creating immense ease-of-use with the equipment scheduling process, streamlining the scheduling process.

Outcomes:

  • By addressing usability concerns and modernizing the user interface, I improved the user success rate and efficiency (tested during quantitative A/B testing) when carrying out equipment-scheduling tasks. Scientists strongly preferred Founder’s Friend Equipment Scheduler to equivalent features in competitive software.

  05 Crafting a Initial Design System Bare Basics Identity

Crafting a Initial Design System Bare Basics Identity

Visuals

I combined a variety of shades of verdigris, green, and blue to represent the Formulators Friend brand. We aimed to convey professionalism and minimalism with a hint of curiosity.

When designing Formulators Friend landing pages, I developed a collection of gradients and swooshes to maintain an exploratory and playful feel, yet again contrasting with competing software.

For typography, I utilized a bold and experimental typeface, New York Extra Large, for marketing headers. Helvetia was used for both headers and body text within Formulators Friend software. A cleaner, more modern feel than competing softwares, which utilized dated typography, was apparent in the increased click-through values showing through new A/B testing.

Formulators Friend persona, documented within branding guidelines

Formulators Friend  color palette, documented within design system guidelines

Formulators Friend Landing Pages & Website

Design

I designed the Formulators Friend’s website with a more experimental feel, tying in our modern and playful aesthetic to create a unique marketing visual language. Then glassware accents, floating test tubes, beakers, raw materials, and cosmetic industry products’ as visual aesthetics were added.

  5 Takeaways

This project took nearly a year to ideate, design, test, and implement. 

Because of an N.D.A., not all features and processes are revealed within this case study. For example, including Formulators Friend procurement request Chat features are not discussed that streamline AI-based auto ordering of chemical raw materials and hardware servicing parts, increasing a safe work environment.

There were hundreds and hundreds of screens and designs, innumerable iterations, hundreds of hours of user testing, and copious amounts of stakeholder engagement 🙂 This project was a huge learning experience for myself and the entire Formulators Friend team. The private beta of Formulators Friend product is used by multiple top R&D cosmetic chemistry laboratories and will be released commercially soon. Thanks for your time!

Eat. Sleep. Data. Experience. Mindfulness. Healthy Life Balance.