top of page
Pink Earth

Fulfillment Planner

Empowering railroad yardmasters with an integrated scheduling tool. 


Laptop Preview.png

In the intricate world of rail logistics, yardmasters bear the responsibility of orchestrating railcars and optimizing fleet operations. Balancing the constant influx of demand against the availability of railcars poses an ongoing challenge. Fulfillment Planner seeks to alleviate these complexities by providing a more efficient and proactive approach to fleet coordination.

Disclaimer: Due to non-disclosure agreements, I am limited in the amount of work I can show. 


Interaction Design

Visual Design


Design Audit


September 2019 - February 2020


1 Designer (Me)

1 Researcher

1 Product Manager

5 Developers




Adobe Creative Suite




Shipper operations stall without the exact number of necessary railcars in their yards, emphasizing the pivotal role of precise railcar management.

Goods stuck at a production plant can result in delayed revenue, product spoilage, or expensive plant shutdowns.

Yardmasters tasked with planning and ordering railcars require a solution to fulfill incoming orders without causing congestion on the railroad tracks with an excess of railcars.

Global Icon.png
Center Gradient Transparent


Man Thinking.png

Provide a customizable yard scheduler tool with integrated validations, empowering Yardmasters to easily plan railcar movements. 

Fulfillment Planner provides Yardmasters with a tailored view of their railyard, enabling users to drag orders and railcars to designated loading spots. Users can apply specific rules to each location, regulating product and railcar types for precise order fulfillment. Additionally, each plan can generate shift-specific switchlists for efficient railcar movements to and from the facility.

My role involved active participation in project research and translating our findings into intuitive designs that aligned with the existing product experience. 


Discover. Ideate. Prototype. Test. Repeat.

It's always tempting to jump straight into designs when faced with a new project. This feeling becomes amplified with external factors such as commercial promises and simplified project scopes. However, beginning the project with thorough research is crucial for making well-informed design decisions.


At the project's initiation, the product and commercial teams offered introductory insights into the Yardmaster's workflow. However, this information fell short of providing a comprehensive understanding of the user's desires and requirements. Through a series of phone calls and a site visit, we gathered vital information that formed the foundation for my subsequent designs.

Some of the main pain points:

Building a yard plan from scratch every day because there is no "roll-over" system for railcars from shift to shift. 

Manual validations between loading spots, railcar types, and quantities are a heavy mental burden. 

Duplicative work to build a yard-plan and then create a switchlist.

No built-in warnings to prevent ordering a car to a loading spot that is down for repairs. 

Lack of visual cues makes it difficult for anyone besides the Yardmaster to understand yard operations.



A significant challenge arose in diagramming the existing user workflow. Initially, we assumed Yardmasters followed a linear process, but in reality, users navigated through Steps A-Z in various permutations, adding complexity to the workflow.

User Story Map.png

This discovery sparked ideation sessions as we aimed to chart a flexible yet comprehensible workflow. 

The mapping process uncovered the need for an additional inbox-type module, enabling users to execute global actions on each plan created. 

Process Diagram.png

With the workflow established, I started white-boarding potential mockups. My emphasis was on enabling flexible interactions, allowing users to step into any stage of the railcar-planning process and complete their tasks. After several iterations, I felt confident that the designs effectively captured the primary workflow.

Pink Earth


Next came prototyping. Integrating this product into an existing software platform imposed constraints on my design palette. Because I could utilize only a few colors, I relied on strategic component placement, font weights, and intentional color usage to convey interaction hierarchy. 

Overall progression of the design from sketches to customer prototype.


User Testing Icon.png

Main Findings:

  1. Additional Feature Request
         In addition to placing orders, users wanted to black-out loading zones,
         add comments, and other tasks.

  2. Validation Differentiation
         Users wanted to set which parameters would trigger warnings versus errors. 
         Interactable objects should also dynamically filter based on selection criteria. 

The UX Research Lead and I presented the initial designs to internal experts and customers, inviting them to engage in real-life scenarios within the prototype. This interactive process unveiled several insights, providing a deeper understanding of the user's task flow.



I iterated on my designs, incorporating newly requested features into the prototype. The user initiates by creating a new plan or selecting an existing one. Upon opening the Planner, users can seamlessly drag and drop either railcars or orders onto preconfigured loading spots. The system validates the order-car-spot combination, ensuring that railcars from the previous shift roll over to the current plan. Users can add comments and subsequently publish completed schedules, triggering an auto-generation of a switch list to be sent to the railroad.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the user's workflow, I diagrammed every possible interaction to provide engineering with a clear map of expected behavior. 

Engineering Notes.png
Pink Earth


A flexible planning tool to assign and validate railcars, orders, and loading-spots with roll-over data and export functionalities. 

I collaborated with engineering to address challenges arising from tech-stack limitations and conducted a design audit post the MVP release. The product garnered positive feedback both internally and externally, resulting in new customer acquisitions and achieving 54% of the targeted revenue within a single quarter post-release.

This experience underscored the significance of intentional project scoping. What initially seemed like a straightforward design problem evolved into a multi-faceted tool with features that the customer hadn't anticipated at the project's outset. Moving forward, I recognize the importance of insisting on a clear definition of the project scope in collaboration with the commercial and product teams. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of the customer's needs before embarking on the design process, avoiding the pitfalls of delivering a product that only meets 70% of their requirements.



bottom of page