Syllabus v3.0 20210127

ADS 560 / VISC 525, Designing Digital Products, Spring 2021
Tuesday / Thursday @ 3:20-5:50pm
Matt Kirkland / / Zoom Link

Fearless Inventory

You will design a new tool for a small coffee chain warehouse. Your solution will help a warehouse worker reconcile a putative inventory quantity with actual in-person inventory in a physical location. You'll get to pick an existing coffee brand to work with, but many specific functional details will be mandated here.

We'll work in a very structured way from foundation layers to finishing layers, and apply a thin coat of visual brand across the top. That's not always how it should be done, but that's how this project will go!

Your Client

Your client is the Operations Director for a growing chain of 30 coffeeshops. Here's her request to you:

We need help! I've got a fancy ordering system that lets my local store managers order stuff from my central warehouse - nonperishable stuff like plates, cups, aprons, brand merch, and even tea. The system keeps track of their orders, and subtracts it from the inventory count at my central warehouse. That system tells me what I should have remaining in stock at the warehouse, but that doesn't always match up with reality.

I need something audit what we really have in stock and compare that with what we think we have in stock. We've been growing like crazy lately so our warehouse is kind of a mess.

Here's my current inventory readout. I have no idea if this is accurate. Help!


We'll go step-by-step through specific design deliverables that get us closer to an interactive system to solve our client's problem. We'll discuss each deliverable before we start, but this will include:

  • Choose an existing brand. Starbucks is boring, find a smaller coffee brand that has some design language that's interesting to you! You'll be mostly applying this visual style to the product you design, you should not need to invent new visual language for this.
  • Problem Discovery and User Stories. We'll discuss the problem together and write a set of user stories that define what the new tool should accomplish.
  • Thumbnails sketches. Working from a finalized set of user stories, you'll sketch out loose screens using a sharpie and a phone screen template. These are loose and only communicate the general idea of how each screen or task works.
  • Lightweight user testing. on these thumbnail sketch wireframes
  • Wireframes. Working from a finalized set of thumbnail sketches, you'll create wireframes that flesh out the sketch. Those will be done in Figma, and you'll use that to create a testable prototype.
  • Guerilla User Testing. (5 users)
  • Revised Wireframes. Based on what you learned from your guerilla testing, you can now refine your wireframe prototype in Figma. Make it better!
  • Guerilla User Testing. (5 users)
  • Style Tests. Working from a finalized set of wireframes (link TBD), you'll now add your chosen brand's style to the wireframes. Choose three unique screens from the wireframe set and create branded versions of them, applying the brand like you put paint on a doghouse.
  • Mockup Prototype. (Created and shared in Figma)

Some other requirements:

  • We'll be designing for mobile devices. Figure out the proportions of your phone.
  • We need to represent this actual inventory reference.
  • We'll be working collaboratively for a lot of this project. Get used to the idea!