The following is a short case study on “Creator”, a cloud-based content management system I built at Mashgin, where we make visual self-checkout kiosks that use computer vision to see items so you don’t have to scan barcodes.
In the years since launch, it has given location managers the ability to customize their menus in ways they were unable to in the past. This empowers them to make frequent changes, tailoring the menu to customer needs rather than just “using the default”.
Mashgin Creator is a tool for operators to build and manage their menus, from items to discounts, schedules, and more.
Mashgin customers have been able to easily edit their checkout items in the cloud since we first launched in 2016. But when we began to design our mobile and in-person ordering app, we realized customers would need an easy way to design more complex menus, with custom item options, photos, nested categories, scheduling, and more. This is where the idea for Creator came in.
Creator is what they call in the industry a “CMS”, or content management system. Any software tool used to manage content of any type could apply.
In the food service industry, a CMS is used to manage their menu items, pricing, discounts, taxes, etc. The scope could be anywhere from an individual cafe to a nationwide chain of stores.
Most existing CMS software for food service was cumbersome to use and poorly designed. It was really just a simple layer on top of a database, allowing users to edit basic item information. Some software didn’t even allow for real-time syncing of data — any changes are “submitted” and someone behind the scenes has to deploy them to the menu.
The output of these menus is very simple: it’s just items in some nested menus, each with its own data like price, type, options, etc. But the work and consideration that has to go into building each menu is anything but simple.
It was clear that our customers needed something much better.
Designing the app
Believing that all the existing tools weren’t very good, we chose not to base the core design off of any other examples or prior work. Creator would be rethought from the ground up based on the needs and jobs of its users.Continue reading “Creating Creator”