Trybe was a new peer-to-peer cooking service that launched in London in 2016. I joined the team as a consultant when we were still working to establish what the exactly should be the core concept (and name) of the new service, who exactly are the customers on each stage of the evolving service and what our technology choices should be.
These are essential questions that need to have some answers - even if they change along the way - that help define the initial design process and decision making. The primary movers in the team had done good job in business planning and now it was time to get started with product development.
I approach product design as problem solving, and my initial focus is always on understanding customer needs and researching their domain, user groups and general problem space. I helped bring some light to what the core essence of Trybe's new service would be: a friendly, easy-to-approach and emotionally pleasing partner for home cooks, street food vendors and, of course, people who eat. We initially focused on the latter groups, but the company has since pivoted to fully focus on the home cook crowd.
My customer needed output fast to support the start of the business and visualize the main service flow to end-users and potential home cooks. My main problems were how to communicate the company's mission to the market and how to make the functionalities of the app immediately clear to a first-time user. The team was pleased to see that I could provide drafts, wireframes and visual design material in rapid iteration cycles which helped validating ideas, visualize user flows and make tangible progress that would take the project forward.
Trybe app's original UI for finding home cooks and following street food vendors.
I delivered visual branding materials, including logo and web design as well as initial UI and visual design for the hybrid app the technical team started to develop. We started with low-requirement drafting, prototyping and quickly found the visual tools and UI architecture that would help us meet our major business milestones and, of course, the first app release.
I also set up and did the web development on their web site, which helped core team members focus on the core product. The web design process was also an important step in defining the core message and branding of Trybe.
With my help the Trybe team was able to visualize and clarify their service concept and get started with development fast. The core team was still struggling with technology choices for app development, but I helped them understand the pros and cons of hybrid app approach and ultimate come to decisions that have proven to work for them.
Meal checkout was one of the core flows we wanted to visualize in the MVP. We validated our solution by prototyping with real menus collected from various street food brands in London.
We eventually set on building the app with Angular and Ionic, and I helped set up the base styling for the first views before the core team members were able to get started and take over. Ionic is not the most pleasant thing to work with when it comes to CSS, but it has its upsides as well, and in Trybe's case the lead client developer's familiarity with the framework weighed more on the scale than the somewhat painful process of writing custom styling on top of Ionic's core library styling.
I was also happy to be able to provide consultancy on agile practices, which was helpful to the core team members who all had their background in more traditional enterprise software development. The customer appreciated my foresight and commitment to setting up good practices for a new, growing team.
Trybe had an interesting mission and team that ultimately failed to catch on. After pivoting from street food to home cooking, they managed to attract a decent amount of interest as well as their first ambassador users to help them build their network, but did not attract further investment or the volumes needed to bring their take on food delivery business to life long-term.