Our product vision 2021: The User’s Perspective
2021 just might be CHEQROOM’s year. At least that’s what it feels like at CHEQROOM headquarters these days. Spirits are soaring after a wild 2020, and we have a lot of faith in these next 250+ days. The team is poised to get after it. Even through Zoom.
What we know for sure is that 2021 will definitely be the Year of the Customer at CHEQROOM. More so than ever before.
Here to lead you through the product side of things are Head of Engineering Jens Segers and UX Designer Carla Munoz.
TL;DR? Watch this video!
A delightful product mission
Taking away pains and bringing delight is sort of our core business at CHEQROOM. But we can and will do better. And not just this year.
“For 2021 and the coming years, our aim is to further simplify equipment management so that our customers have more time to spend on what they love doing most. You could call that our primary objective,” Jens says.
“We want to build software that gives them full control over their equipment inventory in the most pleasant way, so annoying parts of their day-to-day feel less like a hassle.”
UX Designer Carla Munoz fills in. “To help fulfill that dream, my aim is to understand what makes customers frown. How can we alleviate their pains with the right features?”
She stresses one important point: “This is a company-wide project with many contributors. Making a seamless user experience is not one person’s responsibility, it’s the company mission. We’re all glad to be involved.”
Away with assumptions
That involvement comes with some research. Hard but necessary work.
“First-hand research is important for us as a maturing user-centric organization,” Carla says. “Colleagues from customer support, marketing, product and sales will follow our users closely, trying to lay their finger on what annoys them. Then we solve that for them.”
“But it really all starts with finding the right problem to solve.”
“From a development point,” Jens adds, “I can only agree. User research and getting to know customers helps us get to the essence of what our users need. As a result, the development team can focus on the right things.”
“The last thing we want to do, is get stuck in our own perspective. We’re steering full-speed away from assumptions.”
Three themes for 2021
Every once in a while, our whole team gets creative. Last year, we did it in a big strategic workshop. We went in with one question: How do we build a path for years to come?
Three main themes came out of that workshop. In no particular order:
“Make CHEQROOM the most functional, reliable, usable, pleasurable asset management software out there. My hope is to bring deep delight, meaning that all of the previously mentioned can work holistically. We can achieve this when the user becomes immersed in productivity without much distraction from the main task,” Carla says.
“We offer focus to the user, so she can skip the busy work and other unfortunate tasks. Every moment in the user experience needs to be centered around taking away burdens.”
Jens is fired up about this theme. With good reason. “Many customers are using CHEQROOM’s mobile app. They use it to quickly make reservations, check out equipment by simply scanning asset labels and periodically performing inventory checks with the Spotcheck feature that we released a few months ago. Our mobile app is really bridging the physical world with our digital platform,” he says.
“In 2021 and the coming years this will become an important focus of our product and development team.”
He adds: “At least 1 in 3 users are using our mobile app. We want to improve on that. For non-equipment managers, CHEQROOM on mobile is the way to go. Available anywhere, anytime.”
Mobile is becoming a part of us, after all. Carla knows this. “We are complementing that by building delightful experiences on mobile. User delight will be anywhere, anytime also.”
You’re in control
It turns out there are actually two ways in which our software is giving control back to our users in 2021. Jens explains it best:
“Firstly, many customers have different policies and restrictions about what equipment can be reserved by who and at what times. We would like to give customers more ways to define these policies and restrictions so that equipment managers can stay in control of their equipment and booking processes.”
“Secondly, security and reliability of CHEQROOM is also important to make sure customers stay in control of their own data and can rely on the availability of our software when they need it the most.”
How secure is CHEQROOM, you ask? Very secure:
“We recently employed a third party to do extensive penetration testing, basically checking for vulnerabilities in our tool. They flagged some issues and gave recommendations, which are all fixed as of today. This is an exercise we will be doing yearly. CHEQROOM’s customers are in good hands.”
Strengthening the core for our users
We’re not only building new features in 2021. We’re strengthening the core functionalities as well.
“Customers can continuously expect improvements on what we have today. CHEQROOM aims to be the leading standard in equipment management software, and we need to make sure we stay ahead.”
Carla adds: “Ironing out every tiny kink in our UX will be a focus of 2021, as well as building on what customers really like about our software.”
More specifically, we are talking about core flows with reservations, check-outs and managing inventory. These are staples for almost our entire customer base, so they will get plenty of attention.
“It’s a never-ending process. Even a bit philosophical,” Carla thinks. “You’re never truly done coming up with solutions and adapting to needs. CHEQROOM is never done improving.”
Recent and future growth
All of these plans may seem like a lot to handle. Rest assured though, the team is up for it.
Jens: “We have been expanding the product and development team over the past months and will continue to hire more talent. In 2021 we’ve of course also welcomed Carla as our new UX designer.”
“The growth as a team can already be felt. Our work is more structured, following the entire scrum process in development, while we are improving our user research skills. That has been a huge factor.”
Relatively freshly minted Carla Munoz was there from day 1 to witness the progress.
“Everybody has been helping each other out, trying to look at things from better angles. When we see it like the user sees it, we build the right things the right way.”