01 Case Study Intro


As one of the original electronic parts directories, SourceESB has a loyal following. However, in recent years other competitors have crept into the space. Rather than competing on data alone, new features that would benefit the users were planned and the product rebuilt in-order to deliver a more efficient and complete tool.

Product Type: B2B Directory

Annual Revenue: $1 mil

Website: SourceESB.com

Company: Penton

Role: Design Lead

Year: 2016

Work Types:

  • User Research
  • Wireframes
  • Visuals


  • Axure
  • Sketch
  • Invision
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02 Discovery and Research

Getting to know the part hunters.

In order to successfully rebuild the product from the ground-up, the design team started the project with extensive user research. By combining 1:1 user interviews with focus group studies and site analytics, the team created user personas that would inform the rest of the design.

The research led to some key discoveries. The audience demographics were all over the map - literally. Despite the worldwide reach, several consistent behavioral patterns were identified and used to guide the product design.

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03 Wireframes

Wiring up the initial schematic.

The new product features were wireframed and run through multiple rounds of user testing. An emphasis was given to the parts lists and RFQ tools - both features that were designed to create efficiency for the users and relieve a key pain-point revealed during the research.

The users are always looking for the shortest path to current inventory trends and price checks - both data points that expire quickly. The solution was found in data transparency and by providing effective tools for requesting quotes from multiple distributors simultaneously.

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04 Visuals

Sending power to the grid.

With so many pathways from the search results to other features, additional documentation, and third-party resources - a single action could result in many outcomes. It was crucial for the design to effectively communicate the intended result of each interaction point to help the users understand where they are within the tool and prevent confusion.

The complexity of the parts tool was another significant challenge during the visual design process. Considering the interface is impacted by user-specific preferences, everything had to come together in one screen. As long as the results were intuitive, the upside of the feature was a major time-saver for the users.

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05 The Final Result

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