My journey at Wolt began as a lone designer across dual product teams during a significant app migration initiative.
The existing design system was basic and needed a comprehensive overhaul necessitating the creation of a new, scalable system for the app.
I had the fortune to work closely with Wolt’s talented designers, receiving substantial assistance from motion designers, researchers, and writers within the central design team.
Wolt operates a tripartite system with a comprehensive support function at its core.
The Merchant App is crucial, functioning daily at the heart of a triad that includes the Consumer and Courier Apps.
The project aimed to phase out the existing native Merchant App which is confined to a controlled device management system, and introduce a new, openly accessible Flutter-based Merchant App.
The app, easily downloadable from app stores, established the groundwork for fully automated onboarding of new merchants.
Initially termed Merchant App Lite for the transition phase, it was rebranded to Merchant App following the deprecation of the older version.
The issue with the new app was that it wasn’t conceived with the broad functionality of a future-proof merchant platform in mind. It was initially developed with a narrow focus on grocery-specific tasks such as item picking and barcode scanning. This led to a foundation that was not suitable for a scalable and versatile evolution.
Additionally, the turnover of core team members resulted in a substantial gap in knowledge and a lack of detailed documentation on the app’s features and the logic behind initial decisions which led to extensive research initiatives.
When we examined the layouts of both apps, it was apparent there was no scalable foundation that prioritised daily operations.
Rather than building upon an inadequate base, we have decided to establish a new information hierarchy tailored to the app's future requirements.
In busy kitchen settings, distinctive sounds are essential. The legacy app used generic sounds purchasable by anyone online, posing a challenge when expanding our sound palette.
Seizing the opportunity for advancement, we partnered with sound designers in Helsinki. We created four unique sound sets, catering to the culturally varied environments of our venues.
The newly crafted sound sets are tailored to match order frequency and the specific atmospheres of the venues, ensuring that alerts are both recognisable and unobtrusive in any environment.
Once we laid down a robust, scalable framework, we turned our attention to the features absent in the new Merchant App Lite.
This presented a chance to refine user experiences across the legacy Picker App and the Merchant App.
The foundation we built scaled seamlessly, significantly speeding up product development and paving the way for an entirely automated merchant experience.
Our design solutions have been instrumental in shaping Wolt's future design system, while also promoting a mobile-first mindset throughout our suite of business products.
The beginnings at Wolt were characterised by a small design team that favoured quick iterations, which led to a design system that was somewhat patchwork, pieced together from various viewpoints.
As the design team expanded quickly over the years, the absence of a solid foundational system meant new designers inadvertently created divergent versions of Wolt’s design language. I took over the design of the Merchant App during this period of disarray.
Lack of knowledge
The departure of key team members left us with significant gaps in our understanding of the legacy app’s intricacies.
To bridge this gap, we undertook extensive research and visited a diverse range of venues across multiple countries.
Balance speed and quality
Being the sole designer in a fast-paced environment, aiming to achieve full parity with the original app, presented quality challenges.
We initially prioritised speed, yet reflecting on our workflows, we were able to find a better balance between quick delivery and quality.
As we began to expand our design team, however, the new designers inherited some minor quality baggage that had originated from the earlier.
In parallel with our focused efforts on the Migration Project, our team dedicated attention to creating new features and refining the existing ones in the app.
By introducing innovative features and enhancing the existing ones, we substantially elevated the overall quality of the app. These improvements not only enriched the experience but also fortified the platform, ensuring a more seamless transition during the migration process.