Failing Towards Success
Lessons learned from an accidental entrepreneur
When the original founders of Foodsters first approached me to redesign their website, I could have never imagined that the event would be a catalyst towards me becoming an entrepreneur. Fast forward a few months later, there I was, a co-founder experiencing first-hand the highs and lows of startup culture.
What initally began as a proof of concept in restaurant delivery, Foodsters was fast becoming the "little engine that could." With potential customers willing to take a chance on a completely new way of ordering delivery, I had the rare opportunity to design and develop the interactions that would define the user experience for our new customers.
Research, Strategy, & Concept
If there's ever been an over-clichéd piece of advice given to entrepreneurs, it's this: "always put your customer's first." With this in mind and for the first time professionally, I relinquished my sketchbook and instead began my design process with personas, user flows, interviews and brainstorming sessions, dissecting problems for both our customers and business.
What the team ultimately realized was that there was a serious disconnect between the brand that we were projecting online and the service the customers would eventually recieve. The original Foodsters' experience began and ended with an online order form. We strived for more.
Speaking with industry mentors, we were able consolidate a list of problems to tackle and resolved to provide a unique Foodsters' experience from beginning to end, making sure our customers connected with our brand online and off.
Visual Design & Brand Development
While skeuomorphism might be "dead" according to some, I still believe it has its place in the right context. For Foodsters, it was a way to establish a sense of branding that could potentially translate to real world print material (receipts, invoices, etc). Even more so, it was a means to faithfully add to an authentic "foodie" experience. The clientelle we catered to and the restaurants we partnered with were mid-high end establishments. They had their own sense of branding cultivated over many years which we wanted respect, which we wanted to become an extension of. With full bleed images that recreated unique ambient atmospheres and custom menus resembling branding CLFs, I can proudly say we did just that.
Like all startups we believed in metrics and we thought we were making all the right decisions. With the relaunch of the site, we garnered a lot of attention from big players in the industry and the feedback from our customers was overwhelmingly positive.
All the arrows were pointing up, but the business ultimately failed for all the clichéd entrepreneurial reasons: financial instability, time pressures, scalability, founder disagreements, etc. Even with the unsatisfactory outcome, it's been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. The rollercoaster ride pushed me to the boundaries of my comfort zones, forcing me to acquire skills outside the areas of my expertise and reminded me of one of the most important lessons to be learned. At the root of all success is constant and continous failure. It's what we choose to do next that matters. Well... I guess it's on to the next one.
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