Time is a luxury for all businesses, especially if you’re a start-up with limited resources pitting against mature companies. We’re always striving to take steps that will significantly close the gaps between ourselves and the bigger players. However, in the midst of looking far out into the horizon, we may be overlooking the smaller issues right at our feet.

With the rise of technology, UI/UX (User Interface User Experience) designs have become a key aspect of any business’ success, but as you’re venturing out solely to address bigger, more immediate problems, minor issues like misaligned logos or poor choice of colour-schemes could easily be swept under the carpet.

So what exactly can be done to prevent these trivial issues from slipping through the cracks?

Businesses need a fast and efficient tool. At ShopBack, we implemented a new initiative as a solution to managing our website’s hygiene and enhancing our extensions.

Every month, our engineering team takes part in a UI/UX marathon. With the hopes of enhancing users’ experiences, our engineers lock themselves in a room to engage in an intense 12-hour collaborative session to sieve out minor UI/UX issues.

Once the engineering team compiles a thorough list of problems, the product managers would then take over. They would set aside some time to discuss and determine the most urgent issue at hand. Essentially, the product managers build the backbone of the entire UI/UX marathon, crafting and allocating tasks for the engineering team to execute.

ShopBack UI/UX Marathon

Throughout the marathon, the engineers at ShopBack pinpoint various ways to provide both a convenient and rich customer experience. However, rather than striving for a revolutionary change, they would use this time to focus primarily on the website’s hygiene, such as managing the drop-down menu bar and improving the extension sliders.

So how exactly do our engineers cope with this demanding 12-hour marathon? Let us see how #KillerTeamExecution has pushed them to the finish line!

Meet the Contributors

NK, the marathon organizer (aka VP product)

NK - VP of ShopBack Product

“A marathon like this is especially relevant for start-ups since work is usually more fast paced. In comparison to larger MNCs, we are equipped with fewer resources and time. Hence, we tend to overlook minor issues like the overall “look and feel” of our website.”

Jesmine, the co-organiser of the marathon (aka product manager)

Jesmine Tay, ShopBack product manager

“We recognise how the tiniest details can path the way for a frictionless and delightful shopping experience. Yet, given the tight resources and in view of other major features, they are so often pushed to the bottom of the prioritisation list. Our monthly marathons allow us to prioritise tasks to tighten these gaps. From eliminating extraneous information/steps to styling tweaks, these seemingly minor changes even saw results like significant increase in our extension installations. Speak about a great team bonding time!”

Sam, the marathon’s cheerleader (aka the UI/UX Lead)

Samantha, ShopBack UI/UX lead

“The true value of the marathon lies in immediate feedback. When everyone is inside the same room, there’s better coordination and higher productivity. I buy the team meals and support the engineers in enhancing their work-quality. Despite being a web designer, I also got the opportunity to learn how to code through these marathons. It gives engineers more exposure to new skills.”

Vara, the marathon checkpoint IC (aka the QA Lead)

Vara, ShopBack QA Lead

“I am in charge of quality assurance. After all changes are made, I run quality checks on the website to ensure that it operates smoothly. In a time-bound situation like the marathon, it forces us to think of suitable solutions within a fixed time frame.”

Meet the Runners

Sebastian, the software engineer

Sebastian, ShopBack Software Engineer

“The marathon really allows engineers to gain a sense of ownership of our website. For me, I take pride in handling the navigation aspect of our site. Conducting the UIUX marathons allows everyone to be content with the website and see greater individual responsibility in taking care of it. Every single member has a stake in managing the site and will treat it like a personal achievement when the tasks get completed.”

Gerald, the Front-end engineer

Gerald, ShopBack Front-end engineer   

“Even though I’m with the front-end engineering team, my role typically revolves around building internal tools and administrative platforms for ShopBackers. The marathon provides a welcome change where I can contribute to an external consumer focused application. There is that different sense of satisfaction, seeing something live and viewable outside the constraints of the company intranet.”

David, the Back-end engineer

David, ShopBack Back-end engineer 

“Making changes to a visible product is something I gain great satisfaction from as a back-end engineer. The marathon has allowed me to collaborate with engineers working on different projects, people whom I usually do not interact extensively with. It provides a platform for cross-training, where I am able to learn new hacks and receive useful tech tips from fellow engineers. It proves great as a team bonding activity too!”

Larry, the marathon’s super-runner

Larry, Shopback internship

“One of my greatest accomplishments was increasing our extension download rate by reducing the number of clicks leading to our extension download page, improving the speed/convenience of installing it. The marathon provided us with the suitable medium to tackle small issues and deal with them collectively.”

As soon as the team crosses the finish line, the marathon draws to a close. The team then sends out an email to inform the entire company about these new features, ensuring transparency both within and between various divisions.

Despite only having had four marathons so far, the engineering team is keen on developing this concept even further. The UI/UX marathon demonstrates the power of collaboration and immediacy, especially when addressing minor yet pressing issues. Through this, our team is also constantly encouraged to translate business-related meetings into a valuable team-bonding experience.

For future marathons, the team is seeking to expand into growth-hacking features by experimenting with various marketing channels with the hopes of increasing the number of customers.

The prospect of this idea definitely seems promising, and we’re excited to see what new features and innovations our engineering team comes up with!

ShopBack UI/UX marathon

Interested in being a part of this marathon? Join ShopBack today to be exposed to relentless curiosity and growth!

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