Your friendly neighborhood delivery guy

with Chien-Yu Chang, Rayan Cornelio, Ruyao Wu, Robert Xiao, Linda Xu


This course project emulated the startup-like product design process starting with PEST analysis to Kickstarter campaign pre-launch. One highlight was that this project has prompted us to think from a systematic perspective for the service design – not just focusing on the user experience, but also taking multiple stakeholders and business goals into consideration. Teamed up in 6 people, we created the product "DropBy", which offers fast and cheap shipping from local retailers by opportunistically enlisting other shoppers as delivery drivers.

Identify Problem

We started by doing a PEST(Political, Economic, Social, Technological) analysis to identify the bigger environment that we are designing in. We then brainstormed ideas based on this analysis to make sure we are solving the right problems.

We are strongly inspired by the fact that students in the US with no cars face difficulties in going shopping to large stores or picking up Craiglist sold stuff. One current solution is to ask friends who happen to go the same place to get stuff for them, which constitutes a win-win solution because people get stuff they want and reduce the cost per person.

However, there is a big mismatch between the supply and demand. Drivers want to reduce cost, and customers want to get stuff, but they can barely find each other at the right time. So we decided to give this idea a try.

Exploratory Research

To better explore this idea, we did some intensive exploratory research, from competitive analysis to storyboard speed dating.

Competitive Analysis

We conducted a competitive analysis to five different categories competitors – grocery delivery, crowd shipping, food delivery, personal assistant, traditional courier. From the result, we found the potential market differentiation and value proposition we could create. The differentiating factors include:


The online survey initially validated our idea. We also found some concerns from the users which we should address in our design:

These research had also helped us identify four distinct personas and scenarios for this product concepts. We storyboarded them and did three speed-datings.

Storyboards & Speed dating

We conducted 3 speeddating sessions with both drivers and consumers to gather feedback on our service concepts. Some key findings include:

The results showed that:

Business Model

Based on the research, we plotted out the business model for DropBy. Adopting a sharing economy model, DropBy serves as a platform that facilitates the match of service demand and supply. DropBy also partners with local stores to provide delivery services.

DropBy provides value to the providers/drivers by informing them about deliveries that they can make to earn money. In exchange for being informed of delivery tasks, the drivers agree to keep DropBy updated about where they are and whether they’re ready to deliver.

Since people will be more willing to purchase online from retailer websites if there’s a prompt and economical delivery option, DropBy will provide value to businesses by increasing the sales of their goods.

Growth Plan

We will mainly focus on optimistic delivery in the beginning. We will partner with some major big stores, and offer our service as one of their online delivery options. As a pilot, we plan to launch DropBy delivery in a cluster of one to three stores that are located close to each other. One such example is the cluster of Target, Staples, and Trader joe’s located near 6231 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh 15206.

The period we’ll be measuring is a period of 36 weeks in Pittsburgh. We’ll be offering 48-hour or sooner delivery and within a 6-mile radius of the stores. The charge for each delivery will be $5. As per our calculations, we plan to recover our investment and achieve a critical mass of drivers and customers in the 30th week of operations.

Brandings & Prototyping

We started our interface design by brainstorming branding ideas. Then we A/B tested them, and moved to visual language and prototyping.

Branding A/B Testing

We brainstormed a bunch of branding ideas, settled on two options and tested them. One option is more friendly, and the other is more professional.

We tested these two with unbounce pages. No significant difference was found.


We explored different visual styles by creating mood boards and color schemes. For the vibe of the service, we sought color schemes that were associated with the sense of trustworthiness, activeness, and friendliness

Journey Map

We created a customer journey map to help better inform our interface prototyping.

Hi-fi Mockup


We built an MVP prototype with Marvel and test it through two enactment sessions.

The enactment went pretty well. We get more specific feedback about how to improve the interface and etc.

We further revised our prototype and created our final pitch.

Check out our final pitch!