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The Problem

Looking at the analytics on the Balluun web portal, there was a surprising trend that nearly all of the items that were currently listed on the new site had been uploaded using the single upload tool. Even within the same session, exhibitors were uploading hundreds of their products one at a time. To better understand the trouble points of the bulk upload tool, it was apparent that we needed to speak with users to figure out the pain points of this tool.

The Process

The product researcher and I got to work on figuring out how to best find the issues with the bulk upload tool. Through several brainstorming sessions, we developed a robust interactive prototype and thorough user walkthrough that would lead the user to the bulk upload tool and would allow us to observe their behavior when interacting with this tool. The prototype used for the user tests can be found below.

Link to Original Bulk Upload Tool

After performing several user tests with some of our users, three very clear patterns emerged:

1) Users did not follow the layout of required fields sequentially. Rather they wanted to dive right in and start using the tool to get their products onto the site as quickly as possible.

2) Allowing users to download a CSV file without requiring any additional instructions or guidance was unhelpful. Even though an instruction manual was provided, it often went overlooked.

3) Complete failure of the uploaded CSV when finding a single error was frustrating. This would often result in users needing to upload the CSV file many times only to keep receiving a new single error back.

The Solution

After presenting our findings to the company, we were informed the only thing that could be done was an update to the UI. With this constraint, we moved forward with providing improved instructions on the UI. We broke down each step of the bulk upload tool into individual parts and wrote very concise instructions so the user could easily follow them to the next part and (hopefully) complete the process in a timely manner.

I also informed engineering that a simple change in UI would not be enough as the existing system we were using to error check the CSV was not sufficient. If the csv was going to remain a required part of this process, we needed to scan the entire document for all errors it contained and inform the user. We also needed to inform the user of the length of time it would take to complete their upload. By adding a status indicator and providing more thorough feedback of the issues that were contained within the csv, we hoped to mitigate a lot of the frustration caused by the bulk upload process. This new process can be found through the prototype below.

Link to Redesigned Bulk Upload Tool

I ultimately had hoped to see this through to implementation and to be able to further test with our users. However, I left the company before the entirety of the design had been completed by engineering.