Equipment Room Redesign

The equipment room at NYU ITP holds hundreds of items in their inventory. This is where people borrow and return equipments. As a student and staff member, I found the system unintuitive and difficult to use. The goal of this project is to optimize the lending and returning process, both online and offline, for people in the community.

Role

User Research, Interface Design, Prototyping

Tools

Sketch, Invision Studio, After Effects
How might we create a seamless workflow for the lending and returning process?
What tasks do staff perform?
The main task of the staff is to take request from people in the community. They would either request check out, extend, or return items. These comprise 98% of the staff's workload. With the user intent mapped out, how the workflow could be improve became clearer.
Common problems encountered when using the service?
I interviewed 3 students and 3 staffs to understand the problems they face while using the service. I also get to observe how my co-staff use the existing website, see if they come up with alternative ways to accomplish the checkout process. I gathered and categorized them into four major topics — website, inventory, staff training, and system. I concluded the top five insights for the scope of this project.
Solution and prioritization
I lists down some possible ideas and eliminated the ones with least efficiency. For example, solutions that are labor-intensive, like give in-depth and on-site orientation for newly-hired staffs, hold people's ID before they return the equipments, etc. Since we already have a platform, why not try solve everything there?  
As a staff, I want to know if the person is eligible
to borrow equipments?
What information is more vital in the process?
I mapped out all the datas to order them in level of importance when checking out an equipment. High level ones means they will have to be displayed in the card overview. For staff, it is crucial for them to know whether someone is banned. This determines if they could proceed with their check out requests. On the other hand, it is important for the staff to know if an item is currently available. On top of that, I decided to make both cards consistent but make sure one or the other does not compromise too much.
Timeline formatted checkouts
I mapped out all the datas to order them in level of importance when checking out an equipment. High level ones means they will have to be displayed in the card overview. For staff, it is crucial for them to know whether someone is banned. This determines if they could proceed with their check out requests. On the other hand, it is important for the staff to know if an item is currently available. On top of that, I decided to make both cards consistent but make sure one or the other does not compromise too much.
New extend workflow
As said, checkout items are usually due the next day. If user decides to hold it longer, they would have to request for an extension from the staff. This process usually takes about 7-steps to complete due to insufficient call-to-action. Adding a button reduces total time to process these requests.
I made some UI exploration of the extend button and its pop up. We do not need to pick dates as the default duration is one day.
New Feature: Accompanying Items
One of the most common problem when checking out equipments is the back-and-forth trips to make if the student worker forgot a relevant items. Example, borrowing a camera means they would also need a lens, checking out a screen monitor means they need HDMI and power cables too. This problem could be addressed by adding a section of accompanying and kit items in the equipment detail page.
Spot item location
The equipments are usually stored by category (e.g. projectors, cameras, VR headsets, audio, microcontroller, etc). New student worker are often not knowledgeable with the item location, they would either have to pay attention on their orientation or ask a senior student about it. This is not the most efficient workflow. To solve this problem, a 2D floor map is created to visualize the item location. This is a pop up that could be found in each detail page items.
Next step
Further user test will be implemented to see if the design will work as hypothesized.