What's Happening at CAKE

I wrote a blog post for CAKE last week, about what the design team was doing. It's tough to be able to express what we're working on, especially when so much of it is hidden behind NDA's. 


We printed every single screen to examine the entire product at a whole from a birds eye view.

We printed every single screen to examine the entire product at a whole from a birds eye view.

These are the Designs You're Looking For.

originally published at getCAKE.com on June 22, 2016

Let me begin with this: I am excited.

I am super excited to share with you about what the Design Team at CAKE has been working on this year. We’ve been tinkering under the hood on some big changes to the CAKE platform.

It’s Time to Graduate.

We have a great platform. It is reliable and powerful. I often hear clients say that they love CAKE because they can trust the data. We are dependable and accountable, and we take that seriously.

However, our front-end framework is rigid from a design and usability perspective. While it was absolutely the right solution for us when we first implemented it, technology has shifted and we and our clients have grown. We need to graduate to a platform that is just as powerful, but also flexible and easy to integrate with.

Empower Everyone.

This year, we’ve been working closely across teams to move our entire Affiliate Portal onto a new front-end framework relying solely on API calls. While the design will be updated, what I’m really excited about is all of the possibilities that open up with this undertaking.

  1. We are enabling our product managers, designers, and developers to create innovative new features at a much faster rate.
  2. We will be able to deploy changes to our UI much faster. Faster deployment means more iterations, and more opportunities to work hand-in-hand with clients.
  3. Our QA teams will encounter less bugs and will be able to quickly fix issues that arise.
  4. Clients will be able to leverage our APIs to innovate and add personalized features to their specific instances.

These huge changes for CAKE will open the door for more exciting opportunities and possibilities.

Design Systems are Foundational.

Let’s take a moment to think about legos. There are so many things that we can build with them! Death Stars! Imperial Star Destroyers! Ewok Villages! Imagine what it would be like if you had to shape and mold each individual lego that goes into an X-Wing Fighter. How much extra planning and effort would that add to your vision and build?

Photo Credit: Tom Hoyle via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Tom Hoyle via Compfight cc

In reality, instead of dreaming up each individual piece of the fighter, you use pre-built pieces that are already designed to work with one-another, and quickly assemble the complete X-Wing Fighter. You already know that each piece works with the others and that they will all fit together perfectly.

That is precisely how we’re designing the new Affiliate Portal. The Design Team has been focusing on all of the building blocks that create the CAKE interface. We’re looking at icons, buttons, forms, reports, wizards, and cards. We’re ensuring consistency in the Affiliate Portal; both in the visual display and in the user experience.

Example Atoms that we will be using in our New Affiliate Portal

Example Atoms that we will be using in our New Affiliate Portal

Keep It Simple, Silly.

We’re simplifying the interface, and the number of steps to achieve a task. We’re bundling actions and settings into easy to use buttons and menus. Instead of looking all over the screen to find the add, remove, or download CSV button, we’re bundling them where they make sense. We’ve looked at the most common tasks in the Affiliate Portal, and have made those tasks easier to accomplish, and fixed any places where users might get lost.

When looking at an offer for example, Affiliates might want an easier-to-digest breakdown of information. How successful is it? What verticals can the offer be used in? Where can I publish this offer? The design team has been interviewing users and are focusing on serving up the most important information first.

Our Offer Cards are changing, but all of the important information is still available upfront.

Our Offer Cards are changing, but all of the important information is still available upfront.

There are some big things afoot at CAKE. We’ve been diligently setting the foundation and building blocks to open ourselves up to even more innovation and possibilities. It is an exciting time to be at CAKE, and to be a member of CAKE’s Design Team, and I’m excited to share with you some of the things that we’re working on, and towards.