Platform: Web, Mobile | Year: 2016 - Present | Website: www.briefy.co
“Trusted by 26,000 photographers!”, It was the tagline of our 1 euro stock images business website. One day, we were requested to use our “26,000 photographers” to provide photo shoots for properties all over the world. So, why not send more of our photographers on shoots to produce personalised and exclusive imagery? This is how the story began.
To comply with my confidentiality agreement I have omitted and appropriated confidential information. These designs are a reinterpretation of the original.
What is Briefy?
Briefy provides professional visual content for business at scale, manages visual content service from A to Z. In the platform, business can place their order directly and download the result images with various ways. Our exclusive photographer apply the jobs on-demand worldwide. Now, Briefy has already delivered more than 10,000 set of contents.
Who am I in the team?
I identify the pain points of stakeholders. Providing and prioritising the possible solutions to those problems, wireframe and prototypes and test. Due to long term lack of developers in the team. I implemented knack, a online database solution, to test my ideas and provided a short-term solution to the company. Now, more development team members have joined, and I am working on prototyping specific internal tools and conduct user testing regularly.
I started to think about a solution which can handle the whole business workflow, keep thinking of what are those everyday pain points faced by my colleagues and how can I solved it. After that, I did the following to understand the users and trying to align the goal with business.
1. Interviewing all the stakeholders
I try to understand the user requirement. Questions are like “what are your main duties?” “What are the inputs for you?”, “What are the inputs from you?” “When do you do the input?” “Why do you do the input?” “Who gets your input?” “What is your feedback?” “When do you get the feedback?” and a lot of “How do you deal with XYZ situation?” “How often do you deal with it?” “Which tool do you use for your work?”
2. I got my hand dirty
I dived into some of the stakeholders’ positions to understand their pain. Mapping out the user journey of each stakeholder - document everything in an organised way.
Identify the pain points
In the beginning, the whole business flow was done by google sheet and google drive (Thanks google!) and the insane amount of emails & calls. After a meanwhile, the bottleneck has already come. Google sheet cannot support the fast-growing business since it came very slow when dealing with thousands of records with uncountable external linkages. But there are way more problems out of it, Here are some of the major one.
After all the researches and discussions. I mapped out the life cycle of a photo shooting job, drew multiple state machine diagrams of all the objects and how the stakeholders interact with them. By using the user story mapping, we try to investigate the needs of different stake holders. Finally, I sort out the list of features/tools which might soothe the pain of my colleagues. I decided to design a platform which provide individual access to the database and provide the data and features they needed.
The major features
Our clients have already ranged from small & medium size enterprise or marketplace in a short time. From company to company, their needs vary a lot.
After further investigations and interviews, news agency & model agency hire photographers through internal connections. In general, they have enough photographers contact ready on hands. Which means, they never need us.
For larger scale company, they might offer us more than one projects, different client project manager requires different individual access to their own project when my data structure was still remaining in single company login.
For marketplace, due to the massive amount of jobs, they never input the job request one by one through a brief creator manually. They would give us a long spreadsheet for us for inputting instead. Also, they also request for a special naming method on the result photos or FTP storage solution.
Consolidating quantity for bigger returns
TPhotographers would not take a single 80-euro-shooting job, but if we promise to provide them a large number of 80-euro-shooting job, they will do it. And they don’t fight for 80 euros jobs, but in an opposite way, we beg them! 80-euro-job could be a humiliation to photographers depends on the area. We have 2 ideas here, job package & job pool. Job package is a package which group up multiple Jobs into one, then we assign it to the photographer directly. Second, job pool is a board which allow the photographer get as many available jobs as possible. Turn out the job pool concept were adopted.
Desktop vs mobile?
I was requested to design an mobile app for photographers from the very beginning. I even started to make wireframe and mockups on it. But I considered that photographer shoot with DSLR camera, retouch the images and upload them through the desktop computer, photographers should use desktop to access the platform. Mobile which should not our first priority. But after all, once we launch the platform, we tracked the analytics that a lot of photographers use mobile to browse the site. What I learned from this, make decision by real figures.
There was a long period of time that no development team in my company! Under the long struggling with the uncertainty of hiring process for a development team or out-sourcing, I found a web database solution called “knack”, which allow database building online without any coding knowing and developing the private (simple) web interface to access the data. After a few experiments, we decided to give a try since it could satisfy 70% of our need in terms of the features, developing time and budget consideration.
Proof of concept
Since the adaptation of knack, we already have 10,000 jobs records in the database and accessed by more the 700 photographers. The system is processing the 70% of the business flow. The solution replaced the old google sheet solution,
Since the development team has expanded, we migrated the knack database into our own solution, remapping the workflow, automate the workflow as much as possible, develop the individual tools for the stakeholders for improving the efficiency. Also, we started to put more focus on refining the user experience to fit our internal user & external client better.