Shippabo: A new way to book online

Shippabo’s mission is to update the user experience in international logistics. Shippabo uses technology and works closely with industry leaders to standardize and streamline supply chain processes that provide more control for importers and exporters.

 
 
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Challenge

The industry standard for booking a shipment is complex. The current process involves long complicated paper forms that are usually sent via fax or email. Although some carriers have moved to an online form, the complexity of the form inputs remains. Because of this, many importers choose to use freight forwarders to do this step for them.

Shippabo's first booking form utilized a simple design of steppers to walk users through questions one at a time. Although this was great for users new to the industry, this was not feasible for users with many shipments.

We wanted to create a new booking form that would allow users with a range of experience in the industry to book a shipment with ease.

Approach

In a meeting with internal logistics specialists on our operations team and our product manager, we reviewed the industry standard booking process against our own current booking process to look for areas of improvement.

I referenced Luke Wroblewskis’ Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks and researched popular web form patterns and best practices to help design for better usability. Wroblewski expressed the importance of thinking of a web form as a conversation taking place between the business and the user. A form is how a company enables conversion and should be strategically approached with users’ current mental models in mind.

By looking at the type of information that was typically collected from booking forms, we designed the format and flow of the web form with questions grouped together with clear headers (chunking method). Grouping the questions this way would minimize the users' cognitive load and maximize the speed in which users could fill out all the necessary information in the form.

Choice of terminology was heavily considered as well since it would greatly affect the usability of the form. The industry uses certain terms interchangeably, and we requested a lot of user feedback in determining what would be appropriate.

We showed the initial design prototype to a few users and while they enjoyed the streamlined process, we noticed that they frequently had to scroll up and down on the long form in order to make edits and check their inputs. To improve this user experience, we designed a sticky bottom bar that would allow users to submit or leave the form.

View of contact modal, View of schedule picking modal

View of contact modal, View of schedule picking modal

 
 
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Conclusion

The standard for booking forms is cumbersome and complex for people with varying levels of experience across the shipping industry. In order to create a scalable solution for the industry, we re-imagined the complex booking form into a simple design utilizing chunking to ease cognitive load and different input types to reduce data entry friction, as well carefully considering terminology in order to make sure everything was crystal clear at every point in the process.

After launching the new booking form, feedback was positive with users noting that the new form made it easier to get multiple shipments booked faster.