About the Project

From 2014 to 2015 I worked with Ziba, a design innovation firm in Portland, OR.

During that time I was involved in the early stages of a redesign for the hardware device used FedEx couriers. While I unfortunately cannot share details about the project due to confidentiality agreements, I will describe my role and the broad strokes of the research and design process.


Business Challenge

The current tool had a monolithic amount of functionality being used by delivery drivers, customer service staff, airport personnel, that needed to be replaced.

The original device was introduced more than a decade ago, when mobile devices were rudimentary, and used largely for phone calls only. At the time, few people could imagine wanting to surf from web-enabled devices and cloud-based data was in its infancy.

When the project began nearly 2/3 of American adults owned smartphones, and a changing workforce had come to expect the same level of functionality in the tools they use on the job that they have in their consumer devices. As the user profile evolved, functionality no longer mapped to user wants, needs, and native behavior. It was time for a massive overhaul. The tool needed to be re-conceptualized from the ground up.

My Role

I was the User Experience Lead on the design agency side, working with the Creative Director for the project.


Starting from the discovery phase, this is the approach we took for developing a design solution that would address the business challenge.

Define the user

Defined nearly 20 different user roles that actively use the current tool. Led workshops to select a primary user profile to focus on for the minimum viable product (MVP).

Set overall strategy

Proposed a MVP strategy, with the goal of getting an initial prototype in the field quickly and “failing early,” rather than waiting what could have been several years to rebuild all of the existing functionality on a new platform.

Held collaborative sessions with stakeholders on the agency side and client side to build consensus on overall approach.

Conduct field research

Conducted ethnographic field research to understand the target user’s environment, ecosystem, aspirations, and behavior.

I developed the test goals, moderated user interviews, conducted analysis and synthesis with other researchers and observers, and presented findings.

Define requirements and product roadmap

Worked with the business owners to tease apart a monolith of functionality that had been built up over many years.

Defined a limited scope of functionality to include in the MVP. The goal was to determine a set of functionality that would be valuable to the target user, at the same time as being buildable within a limited time frame.

Planned buckets of functionality the would be rolled out in subsequent releases — in years following the initial MVP.

Design workshops

Led design workshops with product owners and stakeholders to brainstorm product concepts that would address user needs.

Establish framework, prototype, test, refine

I created a new interaction model based on high level requirements, and then field tested with target users.

For this stage of field testing, I also developed the test goals, was the lead moderator, and led the synthesis and reporting.

At the conclusion of 3 cycles of design and testing, we had sign-off on a new interaction model that was sound enough to begin development work in earnest.

Implement and go-live

Once the new interaction model was stabilized, the team was built up to establish visual design language, embed with the development team, attend daily standups, and ensure that the design intent is successfully articulated in the ongoing development phase.