BevSpot is enterprise software that tracks inventory from vendor to consumer. Originally designed to make the act of taking inventory more efficient, it grew to provide owners with essential data about usage, waste, and profitability for an industry with a very small profit margin.
I was invited to lead the design team by Nichole Mace, who I had worked with at my time at Zipcar. I was thrilled by this opportunity. As a consultant, I was able to work across many industries, with many different people, but in the end I was never able to truly own the product. When we were finished, we packaged it up, handed it to the client, and moved onto the next thing. This time I would be able to build a design architecture in a way that I would be able to shape as the product changed.
At first, I had been very focused on my own goals with the product, but I realized there was even greater joy in leading a team of amazing people. I learned how to not just add to the work pool by being a contributor, but to multiply the output of others through guidance, teaching, and allocation of skills.
Together we created a product that was flexible enough that it could provide value for nearly everyone in the industry. Owners could track costs, managers could maintain inventory, chefs could create recipes, servers could identify ingredients and allergy information. It was one of the most challenging UX projects I've worked on to date, and I'm so proud of what our team made.
For being a small startup, BevSpot allocated valuable time and efforts into proper usability testing for our features, because they understood that getting it right early costs a lot less than fixing something after it's been released to customers. Everyone on the Product and Design team was responsible for interviewing customers and running tests. This not only allowed our product to improve, but also our understanding and empathy for our end users.