DESIGN / PRODUCT / UX — February 2021

Tradedesk MEA Product Design


Tradedesk MEA connects commodity buyers to suppliers, provides exclusive access to comprehensive trade data, intelligence and insights and aggregates investment and trade opportunities across African and GCC markets to facilitate safer, smarter and more profitable cross-border trade.

Tradedesk MEA Landing page Preview


Facilitating trade and cross-border transactions in unfamiliar markets without local presence or partners is incredibly difficult due to many factors. Inefficiencies like the paucity of accurate market insights and difficulties in facilitating cross-border payments limit the flow of cross-border trade between Africa and the GCC and create unfavourable differences in pricing across such trades.

However, it is increasingly important that cross-border trade flows easily as they give businesses easier access to a larger market and more competitive prices.

This is where Tradedesk MEA comes in.


Create a one-stop platform that connects commodity buyers to suppliers, aggregates comprehensive market, investment and trade data and provides vital business insights.

Roles and Responsibilities

Product Design, Visual Design, User Experience Design, User Research and Product Development.

Users and Audience

The Tradedesk MEA platform is designed for the following categories of users;

  • Suppliers & Buyers [Producers / manufacturers / aggregators etc]
  • Economic development organizations [agencies, trade bodies, associations, chambers etc]
  • Investors & consulting companies [Market research, trade advisory, FDI advisory]

These users need to be able to accomplish the following:


  • Get direct access to verified suppliers and commodities they supply
  • Compare offers from multiple suppliers to identify the best deals
  • Gain valuable insights from multiple supply chain, market trend data and policy information sources


  • Get direct access to verified buyers and their commodity demands
  • Publish and promote available commodities on the platform
  • Get matched to ideal buyers
  • Get offers from multiple buyers to identify the best deals
  • Gain valuable insights from multiple supply chain, market trend data and policy information sources

Investors & Consultants

  • Access a wide ecosystem of businesses, investment and trade opportunities in various markets enabling them to make strategic business decisions without the need for a physical presence
  • Gain valuable insights from multiple supply chain, market trend data and policy information sources

Scope and Constraints

The platform needed to do the following:

  • Automate data aggregation and indexing tender and procurement opportunities, news and insights, from multiple sources
  • Filter data along specified categories including; country or region, per sector, per date, etc
  • Allow keyword search across all data provided on the platform
  • Allow users to subscribe to opportunity alerts per country, sector, or service type
  • Provide access to news and insights aggregating selected sectors and sector summaries, consumer demographics mapping, economic news, top trade and investment opportunities, tender opportunities, policy watch, etc.
  • Provide real-time access to a trading community populated with verified buyers, sellers and commodities
  • Provide access to periodically updated commodity sourcing, availability information and pricing data
  • Allow users (buyers and sellers) to post opportunities and apply to opportunities
  • Allow users to view profiles of community members, organizations and contact details
  • Allow users to contact organizations on the platform


Process flow used in the design of the Tradedesk MEA platform


I started by researching competing products in the same industry or providing similar services as Tradedesk MEA, checking and comparing their feature sets and trying to identify the design rationale behind how they were presented.

  • Persona 1 (50+ years old) — Peter Morrison
    Peter is an Operations Manager at a manufacturing company in Europe that processes cocoa bean into chocolate and has recently experienced a dramatic increase in demand for their chocolates.

    Pain points
  • Needs to find additional suppliers on extremely short notice
  • Time-sensitivity of need will not allow for extensive vetting and sampling of the supplier before committing to a supply contract
  • Persona 2 (24-36+ years old) — Rebecca Eze
    Rebecca is a Sales Manager for an Agriculture Supply company in Nigeria that produces and aggregates key agro commodities for sale.

    Pain points
  • Local demand is not sufficient for company stock
  • Stands the risk of widespread waste of harvested commodities if she cannot find buyers fast.

  • Persona 3 (40+ years old) — Mubarak Mohammed
    Mubarak is a Portfolio Manager at an International Investment Firm that is looking to expand its portfolio by identifying and investing in opportunities in emerging markets in Africa and the GCC.

    Pain points
  • Mubarak is sceptical about the risk of investing in emerging markets
  • He cannot very few sources of accurate market insights or business profiling in these markets of interest
  • Struggles to find viable opportunities in emerging markets and industries

User Flow

Tradedesk MEA product user flow


Screens from the final design

Here are some screens from the final product.

The Market Intelligence dashboard aggregates news content, market updates, analysis, reports and other useful content sources, all categorized appropriately with keyword search enabled.

Product Marketplace dashboard aggregating products from the network of key commodity suppliers signed up to the platform. Buyers can filter searches using product names, sector, country of supply and keywords.

Product Detail Card — Once buyers find what they’re looking for, they can compare product details and prices from multiple suppliers and select what they consider to be the best fit.

Custom Offer Card — Buyers can make a request for a custom order after selecting their desired product. They can input more specifics regarding the order so suppliers can fulfil to their exact specifications.

The Supplier Directory aggregates registered suppliers on the platform. Suppliers can be ‘verified’ or lose verification if they violate platform policies. This incentivizes supplier accountability and guarantees buyers trust in the platform.

The Supplier Details page is accessed by clicking on any supplier with all key business and product information regarding said supplier and allows for buyers to immediately request for a custom order if they identify a desired product.

The Tender Notices and Bids dashboard aggregates and profiles thousands of opportunities globally and allows users to filter searches using notice types, sector, country or region, and notice status. It also has an advanced search feature that further filters searches along tender amount, bidding type, posting start & end date as well as a simple keyword search.

The Tender Details page carries all pertinent information regarding a selected tender and gives users access to the source of the tender for bidding opportunities.

A high-fidelity prototype was created using Figma

A live version of the Tradedesk MEA platform is available at 

Next steps?

  • Continuous user research 
  • Feature expansion
  • Improving the user flow

Future Features

  • Negotiation functionality
  • Facilitating escrow payment for transactions 
  • Adding intelligent capabilities allowing the platform to automatically match products to suppliers based on their purchase history.


Defining clear user personas helped with better understanding user needs and designing features that provided direct solutions to their most critical pain points. Also, seeking constant user feedback helped as we were moving from design to deployment very quickly; having live users interact with the platform and test features extensively.

Designing the platform has been challenging yet rewarding. The process of designing a UX that is, in essence, digitizing and simplifying important processes in cross-border trade has deepened my understanding of the unique challenges in the space and the possibility of developing more simple solutions to plug these gaps and introduce more efficiency in the sector.