Two hotel receptionists at the front desk of the hotel. One receptionist is using a computer while the other is on the phone.

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SaaS Product Design

I designed a SaaS Product for the hospitality industry

Channel Managers are one of the most crucial tools when running hotels or any lodging-based enterprise that is promoting its products across multiple platforms. An average hotel has its website, promotes its services on various booking platforms, and also takes in-person reservations simultaneously. Acting as a crucial bridge between these various platforms, a Channel Manager is nothing short of the software version of a swiss-knife.

Objective

Create a globally competitive channel manager

Nepal did not have a channel manager of its own. This means that all the channel managers used in the Nepalese hospitality sector were globally competitive software. We had to create a local offering that was as good, and if not, better than the rest. The main challenge while working on this project was the limited interaction with the actual users. Most of the business correspondence took place with the hotel owners and they were heavily reluctant to share their staff for in-depth user observation or user interviews. Most of the requirements were received based on their pre-existing experience with channel managers that they were using. Another hurdle was the limited timeframe. All of the designs had to be wrapped within three months.

My Role

I was the lead creative resource in the branding as well as the UI/ UX process and I

  • Conducted competitor analysis from a usability-centered viewpoint and documented the findings
  • Headed the system design process from a usability and branding perspective
  • Collaborated with another designer who translated the low-fidelity prototypes based on the design system
  • Evaluated the designs made by the other designer as well as the actual product developed by the front-end team

Approach

How we solved the problem

When our access to the user group was limited, we went to where our users went the most. We began with a thorough analysis of our competitor’s applications. A usability-centered deconstruction of the competitor’s applications and rebuilding everything was a complicated but rewarding process.

Deconstructing competitor platforms

Creating a system for task structuring

Designing the task flow

Low-fidelity explorations

Solution

Highlights of the process

Once the flow was put down on paper and the wireframes were finalized, it was time to approach the actual interface. It was a basic run-of-the-mill approach that started with translating the low fidelity prototypes into high fidelity mockups, addressing any complications that arose, and translating that to code. A few things that I was proud of:

A hierarchical and flexible navigation pattern

Well-defined design system

High fidelity prototypes

Reflections

This was one of the first product design initiatives that I lead and I learned a great deal from this experience. Some of the key learning that I am proud of:

  • Creating a design system for a product with a large scope
  • Making pixel-perfect icons and ensuring visual consistency in a large group of icons
  • The importance of early planning to ensure smooth operations later on
  • How to collaborate with developers, delegate efficiently, and plan for QA

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