User Research | UI Design | Interaction Design

Photo via Staffly



Staffly is a rapidly growing on-demand platform that instantly connects retailers with screened and qualified hourly retail staff via mobile devices. Piloted in Spring of 2015, Staffly announced general availability to the public in September 2015 at TechCrunch’s Disrupt San Francisco, where Staffly also held a coveted StartUp Battlefield contender spot.


Staffly wanted to drive more bookings of Staffers, increase client base, and make its service more top of mind to clients.


Increase client engagement with Staffly platform by adding a staffing scheduler that seamlessly inserts Staffers into schedule gaps.


  • User Research
  • User Testing
  • Interface Design
  • Interaction Design


To ensure a user-centered design, our team of three conducted a series of in-depth interviews to identify key users and assess their needs. Staffly serves a niche market (small to medium businesses), so we were specific in selecting subjects for research, but were also careful to cover the full range of clientele as well.


  • 4 In-Person Interviews
  • 3 Contextual Inquiries


  • Identify key users
  • Identify users’ needs and how they align with Staffly’s goals
  • See if scheduler feature solves retailers’ needs
  • Explore current retailers’ scheduling methods


1.   Staff within a business are not always interchangeable because there are specific skills associated with certain roles. 

"I'm just here to sell [the products]." - Sales Associate, Store ENV
“Each person has their own section and role.” - Cashier, Alexander's Bookstore

2.   Managers use outdated methods of scheduling due to comfort and convenience.  

"This way, I know everyone is on the same page, and it's [the employees'] responsibility to check." - HR Manager, Real Foods

3.   To avoid the hassle of having all staff come into the store, employees will text schedules to one another. 

"If I'm here anyways, no need to have everyone else come in when they don't need to work." - Cashier, Anderson Bakery

4.   Store managers have very limited options for filling in for no shows due to business restrictions. 

"I have to keep in mind the amount of budget I have available for payroll." - Store Manager, Ministry of Supply
"Having more people would make things easier." - Cashier, Anderson Bakery

5.   Teams in a shift are assigned for reasons beyond availability. 

"Carlos can't work weekday days because he needs to take care of his kids, and I can't schedule these two together because one is too introverted--she wouldn't meet her sales goal." - User Interview

6.   There is no formal channel for communicating availabilities.

"Post-it note, mental note...whatever works." - User Interview


Next, to convert research findings into actionable insights, we consolidated and laid out our data and observations, grouping them into common themes. During this entire process, it was important to keep in mind the mindset of the user at every stage of their journey, so we then placed our insights along a user journey map to better visualize their relationships with one another.


Click to enlarge

Based off of these key findings from our interviews, we were able to develop a primary persona who embodies the typical Staffly user: Patrice. 

User Journey

The user journey highlights Patrice's key moments of creating a schedule/finding additional staff to cover for empty shifts. We were able to identify opportunities in main touch points and identify a design direction that would help alleviate the emotional dips. 

Click to enlarge


After defining key tasks that represented Patrice's goals, we prioritized them by relevance to Staffly's business goals in interest of time. The main task was then communicated as a narrative through a storyboard which highlighted our 4 key design directions.





Rapid PrototypinG

Due to the extremely short timeline we had available for this project, the most productive way to produce low-fidelity prototypes were through design studio. After setting the parameters for design, the team took the following steps: 

  1. Diverge: Rapidly produce multiple designs individually
  2. Converge: Present, evaluate and critique all designs as a group
  3. Diverge: Iterate on designs individually with critique takeaways
  4. Converge: Narrow down the best elements from each design and bring them together into one cohesive wireframe

User Testing

Again, keeping in mind that the design should be user-centered we ran our designs through multiple rounds of user testing and iterations. 

What works:

  • Notifications/daily reminders 
  • Staffer profiles
  • Week view of the schedule with highlights on blank shifts
  • Printer-friendly schedule

What needs work:

  • Better indicating that shifts are clickable and can be edited 
  • Minimizing amount of information presented at once
  • Including a save button/confirmation 
  • Intuitive navigation verbiage

Proposed Design

Click below to see annotated wireframes of the proposed design.

Next Steps

  • Develop on-boarding workflow for first-time users
  • Begin development for employee-facing interface
    • Internal messaging system
    • Time-off request
  • Create mobile wireframes




While the the San Francisco Symphony is recognized as world class and is currently well attended, the vast majority of this audience is from the older generation. In order to maintain relevancy in the community in the years to come, the symphony would like to begin attracting a younger audience — more specifically, millennials — by redesigning the digital experience.

DURATION: 2 weeks
ROLE: My main role in this challenge was to lead the research efforts.


Since the symphony is already successful in maintaining a relationship with their current audience, our goal was to gain an in-depth understanding of the new target audience--the millennials--primarily on the topics of:

  • Motivators for attending events
  • Music consumption preferences
  • Current conceptions of the symphony


In-person interviews were our research method of choice for two main reasons:

  1. Ability to target specific topics and have subjects elaborate on responses
  2. Flexibility in allowing subjects to discuss other topics

We targeted subjects who had varying levels of familiarity with the symphony and fell into the age range of 18 - 35. An interview script was created to guide the flow of the interview and ensure we achieved our research goals. This script was also repurposed to conduct contextual inquiries and surveys.


To understand the current experience of attending a symphony and identify design opportunities, we also conducted field research by shadowing individuals who attended the symphony.


A survey was used to collect quantitative data and confirm hypotheses on correlations between specific behaviors.


Following the interviews, we began synthesizing by consolidating our research findings and interview notes as a team. We then pulled key observations and grouped them into common themes in an affinity map and empathy map.

These themes guided us in pinpointing the core issues and identifying the specific problem to address, consequently providing a framework for determining our design direction.

Design Direction


Our next step was to identify and develop primary and secondary personas that represented the target audience.

We also used observations from our interviews and contextual inquiries to create a user journey where were were able to address opportunities that helped us decide on the key design direction (solution) of the digital redesign. 


From that point, we were able to begin designing a solution that not only spoke the user’s core motivators, but also served as a holistic, long-term solution.