GreenMile Driver is the most commonly used mobile application in our route management solution. Thousands of drivers, helpers, vendors and merchandisers (the latter using the GreenMile Sales and GreenMile Merchandiser mobile variations based on the Driver) use it daily for route execution, order fulfillment, and hours of service tracking.
With hundreds of additional enhancement requests, mostly suggested by our own customers, and with two different versions for the Android and iOS platforms released in 2016 and earlier, we would naturally have to rethink the product.
After two years of joint planning and development with several customers, it is interesting to share our challenges for product redesign and how we addressed them.
As we do in any new application planning, we define the main goal of the product and its fundamental principles and, from them, we specify and prototype features and interfaces.
Much more than bringing a better user experience by navigating your list of routes and stops (two of the key features of the product), the new Driver should provide our customers integration with their back-end systems (such as ERPs and HR, for example), improve the visibility of what is loaded and unloaded from the vehicles (loading check and sales of products, to cite a few examples), and facilitate the process of ending the journey (in some customers, drivers spend more than one hour in queues for returning/checking of merchandise delivered/collected during the day).
Three basic principles define the strategy of GreenMile Driver 7 (official version name). They are:
- Powerful on all devices
More than a catch phrase, this principle is basically the guide to having reliable software, full of new features, with the same code base for the iOS and Android platforms. Contrary to previous versions, the new Driver has the same interface and features, whether in an iPhone or a Galaxy. Besides specificities from each platform (sources and camera access, for example), the code is the same. This gives us the power to bring new functionality to all platforms much faster, as well as making it easier for our customers to use mixed environments.
- Easy to use even in complexity
One of our great challenges was to find usability and interface solutions that considered the complexity of a gigantic set of new features, without our customers having to retrain their entire fleet of users.
Instead of displaying several buttons representing the many options on each screen, we set up an experience dedicated to the most important action, basically providing two (in a few scenarios, three) buttons. The most important, big and green, indicating that, in doubt, this is the button that should be triggered, and another smaller button, furthest from the most comfortable clicking area for the user, called MORE, allowing access to other resources when necessary.
This approach was our first step in bringing machine learning and artificial intelligence concepts to our products. The years of data captured and executing routes with our customers helped us identify the most common actions on each of the product screens.
Another decision to facilitate the learning of the new experience was to create a “onboarding” process that would quickly facilitate the understanding of new available gestures (horizontal and vertical swipes). In just fouor quick exercises, the user learns how to navigate between screens.
Although these decisions do not replace deep training of the new product (especially when external integrations were added – see principle below), they accelerate the process of knowledge acquisition.
We know that our customers use other products than our solution. We are proud to provide integration tools with many routing and telematics systems for a long time. However, we increasingly see our users seeking to interact with ERP / CRM systems for customer and order management, or with hours of service/time management solutions.
The new Driver is designed to facilitate these integrations. The joint work between our group of consultants and the development team of our clients, allows to bring new screens to the interface of the application, either at the moment of the beginning of the day – in the screen that we call “Welcome”, during the realization of a stop – to capture documents, or to show the financial summary of the day (see examples below).
This is just the beginning!
With the above principles applied, our development time has diminished considerably. We are working on new features that will bring even more benefits to our users and customers. Over the next few months I’ll tell you more. Meanwhile, ask our team to help you to move to Driver 7 as well!