00 | Overview


Industry Partner:

The Home Depot Enterprise UX Team


4 months


Identify an opportunity to improve the effectiveness of Home Depot sales associates in terms of their ability to accomplish essential tasks without compromising customer experience. In addition, identify metrics by which associate performance can be measured.

  • Investigate task delegation, management, and execution

  • Create a platform for associates and managers to increase productivity and allow passive tracking of tasks, and other high level information

  • Identify challenges associates and managers may face in the day-to-day of task completion

Target Users

  • Home Depot associates of varying levels of expertise who juggle customer care and bay/inventory upkeep on a daily basis.


Data isn’t captured in regards to the everyday tasking an associate goes through, and consequently metrics aren’t kept in regards to tasks left pending, or other performance metrics

The current “system” of tasking a non-standard across stores, and begs to be optimized for the sake of indirectly improving customer experience.

So, what’s the situation on the ground? What do stakeholders have to say about tasking, and how can an effort HCI improve this situation without making it cumbersome or difficult for Home Depot Stakeholders


  • Alexandra Nyugen

  • Darsh Thakkar

  • Akhil Oswal

My Roles:

  • Presentations & Presenting: represented the team’s research findings and designs through considerate slide deck design and oral presentations.

  • Client Contact: coordinated with industry partners to define success parameters, schedule weekly meetings, and share resources and generally represent the team’s interests.

  • UX Researcher: conducted field observations, contextual inquires, interviews, and usability tests with target users and industry partners in a systematic fashion.

  • UX Designer: prototyped experiences at low and high fidelity through storyboards, wireframes, and high fidelity prototypes

01 | User Research Methods

In order to identify painpoints within the current system, the team organized a series three qualitative research efforts:

  • Field Observations: visiting local Home Depots for the purpose of orienting the researchers to the real-world context that Sales Associates operate within, and use gathered insights to formulate meaningful and directed questions.

  • Semi-structured Interviews: engage stakeholders at the associate, management, and corporate levels with open-ended questions built upon insights from previous observations to gain a greater understanding of how tasks are managed, tracked, and selected.

  • Contextual Inquires: shadowing associates while they complete tasks within an everyday context to better understand behavior surrounding tasks. Observing associate interactions and potential distractions or failure points.

For each research effort, the team formed complimentary roles such as Interviewer, Note Taker, Auxiliary Note Taker, and Photographer. Notes, photographs, audio recordings, and any other artifacts were captured systematically for easy documentation (i.e. naming conventions). After each session of user research, the team would gather for debriefing sessions were insights were discussed and compared from two or more person’s perspectives to ensure accuracy.

Below: a sampling of photographs that later became meaningful to the project:

00 | Painpoint Identification

The team leveraged digital workspaces for collaborative synthesis. Realtime board was the best tool for this job. Notes and audio recordings gathered during engagement with users was transcribed into notes organized systematically within an affinity map for the purpose of finding painpoints related to tasking. 19 painpoints were created.

Screenshot 2019-02-06 23.50.25.png

The team discussed the potential value of each pain-point in terms of quantity of supporting research, relevance to client needs, and respect for the ecosystem of Home Depots products.

00 | Storyboarding & TEsTING

After the team ideated and synthesized painpoints into three major domains, concept storyboards were drawn to represent the best concepts the team had to offer. These storyboards were created to test the value of concepts at a high level with high-level managers at Home Depot. These managers were chosen for testing because the team assumed that they would be able to think at a higher altitude and be less critical than store associates.

Below are the testing images that were shown.

00 | Concept Feedback

Using a ______ test where questions were correlated with number rankings, the team tested the storyboards with ____ persons from the Home Depot UX Enterprise team. Open-ended discussions also took place after concepts were scored in which participants explained their position.

The storyboards were received, and our industry contacts later told us these materials had the unique capacity of sparking conversation.

“ …Saves unnecessary waste of time of associates having to search for other associates “

“….Amazing, Expert Directory could really solve major problems and avoid loss of sales “

“ This is the most practical idea to implement in our current system “

Of the three concepts, Expert Directory was chosen. Besides the concept scores, seen below, here are some reasons that highlighted this concepts value to the stakeholders:

  • Saves Loss of Sales

  • Practicality

Screenshot 2019-02-07 02.23.31.png

00 | USe Scenarios

With a final concept direction in hand, the team closed-in on an interaction flow by using sketches fro the previous storyboards and new ideas. Instead of investing time into fleshing out an entire system functionality, the team wanted to center the story around a realistic use case scenario.

The team built-out a user persona that matched data gathered during the interview phase.

Using the affinity map made previously, the team constructed personas and used them to create the following story:

A customer comes into the store and into the Appliances aisle. Mike works in the appliances department. The customer sees Mike and asks him for help about a cabinet project she is working on. Mike doesn't know much about building materials because he's never worked in that department. He opens his First-phone and opens the "Ask Homer" app.

He says "A customer needs help choosing the right plywood for cabinets".

Homer, the AI, understands keywords "customer", "plywood" and "cabinets" and looks for associates in the store with expertise on building.

Mike is notified that Homer has contacted 3 associates in the store. When Bob responds, Mike is notified that he will Bob will meet him and the customer in 2 minutes at Appliances

00 | INteraction Flow

00 | Wireframes


Concept storyboards where user painpoints were combined with design.

00 | System Features

00 | Value Proposition

Proposed System Values….