Designing a Task Management Dashboard for Sneaker Resellers

The Challenge

Fuad is the creator of the Plugbot. After being a long time sneaker enthusiast, he began to realize how lucrative the market had become. Sneaker culture is culture. Sneakers are hip hop and fashion and everything trendy. What was once relegated to the fringe few is now an essential part of popular culture.

There’s nothing like the excitement of copping one of your grails.There’s so much demand for new sneaker releases that nowadays you can expect a shoe to sell out in mere seconds. This has led to increased competition among buyers. So much so that a whole sub-industry of professional buyers and resellers. These professional sneakerheads are always trying to get an edge for the latest releases, and so many of them have invested into computer programs called “Bots” that allow them to place several orders simultaneously and in record time.

As Fuad studied the industry, he used his silicon valley background to really dig into the technical standards of the market. That’s when he realized that most of the bots on the market were built by amateurs and had inconsistent performance.

There he saw an opportunity to disrupt the Sneaker Bot industry by bringing best-in-class software engineering principles to building a better product. They had the technical talent and software requirements, but no product design.

This was an issue because sneakerheads are picky consumers who expect good design. They care about experience, aesthetics, and visuals.

So Fuad came to us to create a brand and design a product to distinguish himself from the pack.

The Solution

Product Naming

Once we finished on the design, we also worked with the client to name their product/company. Names are delicate. They say who you are to the world. Your name is how you will be remembered. Many people make this decision arbitrarily, but when you’re serious about your business it’s important to think through those kinds of decisions with some intellectual rigor.

We conducted a namestorm to facilitate this process. Our process was thorough and structured.

-We started by forcing ourselves to describe the product in one sentence and in layman terms. This helped ground us and give us a sense of direction.

-Then we discussed the brands traits, adjectives, and sentiments. Much of this pulled from the previous visual design exercise. This defined our lexicon and shared vocabulary.

-Once we had our foundation, we then thought through how we can make the brand feel of the community. We brainstormed several terms and slang from sneaker culture that resonated with brand or had strong positive association/recall.

-By now, we had all of our inputs. Now it was time to see how we could turn those inputs into a memorable name. There are many different types of names you can create for a product. From something that is playful to something completely random. We outlined all the potential categories then created naming alternatives that mapped to each.

To select the best name, we selected a shortlist then use a custom rubric to evaluate the best option. We asked ourselves:
That’s how we ultimately landed on Mr. Plug and the Plugbot. It was the perfect mix of novelty, personality, cultural relevance, and positive association.

Logo Design

Once we landed on the brand and product name, it was time to pen a logo — one mark to capture it all. Our goal was to design a logo that played off of the brand name, was fun, and communicated what the product was.

To play off the brand name, we took the concept of the “Plugbot” and decomposed it. The plug connects sneakerheads to their favorite sneakers, so we decided to use iconic sneaker silhouettes as a primary component of the logo.

The Jordan brand created sneaker culture in 1985 with the release of the Air Jordan 1. So we chose to incorporate this sneaker into the design.

To allude to the “plug” effect, we explored using different graphics to communicate electricity and how the bot connected sneakerheads to their power source.

We explored using a lightning bolt element, but ultimately settled on a photorealistic depiction of a wall-charger because this communicated the “connection” effect more clearly.

To create the feeling of fun, we leaned on one of our audience’s favorite complementary interests — Gaming. Sneakerheads love gaming. Research reveals that one of the reasons sneakerheads love collecting is bc of the gamified experience of searching, negotiating, and achieving your goals. So we use illustration styles inspired by classic games: Sonic the HedgeHog, Mario, Pacman, etc.

We aligned on different logo treatments for the brand, the founder, and the app based on the use case. We felt the final selections were the best mix of:
-Fun without being cheesy or childish
-Cultural relevance
-Symbolism
-Versatility

Visual Design

To craft the visual design of the product, we went through a brand attributes exercise. We presented the client with a series of prompts to help them articulate how they wanted their brand to be perceived.

We started by talking through the basics of which colors they felt represented the brand and why. Then we discussed adjectives, emotions, and characteristics to describe the brand’s image.

Adjective

Words to describe your brands image

-Hard
-Easy to Use
-Fast
-Efficient
-Organized
-Hyped
-Clean
-Clear

Emotions

Feelings to create in users through product

Excited and optimistic
about potential of
purchases going
through

Charateristic

Qualities to define your brand identity

-Masculine & Simple
-Dark-themed
-Exclusive
-Authoritative
-Luxurious
-Serious
-Modern &Elegant
-Edgy

User Experience

We started this project with a clear list of requirements. Fuad and team had already done the heavy lifting of auditing the market and identifying the core surfaces needed. The Sneakerbot industry has matured to the point where there are clear standards and expectations for all bots.

Sneakerbots are essentially fancy task creation tools. They allow you to run tasks that place orders for you on popular sneaker retail sites. So instead of placing the orders from your personal device, you have an army of servers placing dozens of orders at the same exact time, with superhuman speed and precision.

Users need a way to create, monitor, and manage these tasks. There are a few surfaces needed to do that:

Task Dashboard

This is the hub where users can see and manage all their tasks. There’s a clear entry point to create new tasks. Users have a clean and simple way to visualize all of the tasks they have and all the associated details. We have a search function for people to search through past tasks. There’s a status field for people to see which tasks are in progress, idle, stopped, or completed. And we include quick action modules for users to easily stop, edit, or delete tasks.

Monitor

This where you’ll be able to monitor upcoming releases to prepare yourself ahead of time. It was important that we make the release module visual to improve recognition and appearance.

Proxy and Captcha List

This section of the dashboard allows people to see the proxy servers and captcha solvers they can use. They’ll be able to see the live status of each at the touch of button.

User Profile

This section of the app captures all of the user’s billing and account information. It’s important for them to add multiple payment credentials in case they run into any authentication blocks when placing bulk orders.

Analytics Dashboard

The whole purpose of this tool is to help sneakerheads ensure they can purchase the shoes they want on release day. The success of this product is rooted in task completion.

Parting Thoughts

This project was a nice trip down memory lane, with a twist. As we’ve mentioned before, one of the things that makes our studio unique is that we are entrepreneurs by trade. We’ve actually been there in the trenches building a business from 0 to 1. This project was special because our first breakout success as entrepreneurs was in the sneakerhead industry. We built a strong brand in the space by creating viral content and designing one-of-a-kind products just for that audience. So this project felt like a coming home that allowed us to pull from our past experiences to tackle a new challenge. We had a lot of fun along the way too.

If you’d like to learn more about Knac or discuss potential projects, feel free to shoot me a ping.
Till next time — own your power, give back, and leave no stone unturned.
Black Lotus Out.
www.BlackLotus.co

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