To clarify – we are being building an app for a defined customer segment – truck dispatchers – and truck dispatchers are the ones working behind the scenes assigning cargo to trucks and ensuring routes, safety and cargo-specific protocol is adhered to, to ensure the cargo reaches it’s destination on time.
What is the goal we are trying to achieve? Enter a new market, test a new type of segment for later expansion, compliment our product suite?
Interviewer confirms asks me to decide – I’d pick we’re entering a new market with high potential.
It’s important to understand more about our customer and their needs at this stage:
A dispatcher needs
1 – information on truck availability
2 – to know the cargo requests pending at any given point in time
3 – to know where a cargo-carrying truck is at any given point in time
4 – to know the best routes from point A to point B
5 – to check all the paperwork for a cargo is in order
6 – to communicate with the driver in case of emergency
1,2,3 and 6 would seem to me like the primary needs of a truck dispatcher – if we’re short on time, resources, we can get to 6 later. 4 is a simple maps integration and 5 is a nice to have and may potentially not be the job of a dispatcher.
Given the prioritised needs, and the nature of the communication involved – there will need to be two versions of the app – one for the driver and one for the dispatcher. I’m going to assume the app for the drivers has already been designed and list out solutions for the dispatcher’s app:
1 – A real-time list of available drivers and their current location
2 – A tab to show cargo-in-transit, changing their colors based on their proximity to the destination (red far, amber halfway, green close)
3 – A tab to show incoming cargo pick-up requests from companies/third-party partners
4 – A feature to assign trucks to particular shipments
4 – An action button to prioritise pick-ups based on premium payments (certain cargo shippers may have requested fast-service at an additional cost)
5 – A simple app-to-app communication system with the option to switch to cellular calls (should drivers lose internet connectivity)
6 – A feature to indicate any incidents – red light jumping, accidents, paperwork missing
In the interest of time, and the resource constraints, I’d like to prioritise some of the features based on customers needs, dependencies – certain features have external dependencies that will delay implementation.
Feature 1 – meets the need of truck of availability
Feature 2 – without the colors (that’s unnecessary at this stage) meets the need of knowing where the trucks are
Feature 3,4 – meets the need of knowing incoming cargo truck requests and assigning them to trucks
Feature 6 – meets the need of communicating directly
I would go with these. I would also perhaps eliminate feature 6 and replace it with a simple click to dial feature (assuming the driver’s numbers are stored in the database with their profile).
To summarize – we’ve designed an app for truck dispatchers to be able to track trucks with cargo, incoming truck requests, find available truck drivers and communicate with them.