Alice W. Leung


Open-sourced Supplier Database

Research, Wireframes, Prototyping

Researcher/Creator: A. Leung

Project Overview


Today’s consumer world has incorporated the concept of Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) in their everyday buying process. Consumers now have access to all types of information on different products and/or services in real time. There are online ratings, reviews, demos, tutorials, comparisons, and many other useful tips floating around the internet.


For industrial and manufacturing companies, materials cost as part of procurement activities is one of the major expenses. They are constantly trying to reduce their overhead costs by finding second source of suppliers to improve customer service, reduce price per unit or to reduce lead-times.


Companies typically find suppliers through word-of-mouth or through buyer’s experience. They go through trial and error with different suppliers, and if they encountered bad suppliers, it usually results in wasting a lot of money and resources on non-conforming materials, bad customer service, or long lead-times.


Idea to explore

What we would like to research

By creating an anonymous crowdsourcing review system for the industry, both manufacturers and suppliers would be given the freedom and access to choose who they want to do business with.

Idea #1

Reduce materials and/or any related logistics costs by allowing manufacturers to search for a more reliable and more affordable supplier.

Idea #2

Increase business sales by allowing suppliers to expand their customer base through searching of different end product manufacturers.

Research Questions

Research Questions

Crowdsourcing, ZMOT, B2B, B2C, and Challenges
What is crowdsourcing?

Goal to gather wanted information from a group of people with:

  • Different background
  • Different skillsets

Homogeneous vs. Heterogeneous Crowd:

  • Complex problems
  • Creative projects with small repetitive tasks

Why is ZMOT possible?

ZMOT is possible because consumers today have access to all types of information such as:

  • Online Ratings & Reviews (i.e. Yelp, Glassdoor)
  • Demos & Tutorials (i.e. Youtube, Vimeo)
  • Comparisons (i.e. Kayak, Google Shopping)

Potential Challenges with B2B crowdsourcing

ZMOT is possible because consumers today have access to all types of information such as:

  • Available time for employees to make contributions
  • Amount of users reduced
  • Anonymity may be compromised
  • Interests in making contributions on behalf of companies

Existing challenges with B2C crowdsourcing

Recruiting & Retaining Users

  • Require users to contribute info if authority is present in the company.
  • Pay users as an incentive to contribute
  • Ask for any volunteers

User Contributions

  • Evaluate product
  • Review/rate companies
  • Share new articles
  • Link websites to other uses

Evaluating users & their contributions

  • Limit/block malicious users
  • Detect malicious users by flagging
  • Prohibit by banning

Unique Features

Conceptual Ideas

What is unique about our system?

Our very powerful and unique feature of our website is the discussion boards built into a crowdsourcing review systems. Not only can users review companies, but they can also discuss any industry-related questions that can act as THE spot for resource exchange.

  • General Questions
  • Technical Discussion
  • Advertisement & Promotions
  • Services & Hiring



Low-Fidelity Wireframes

The initial layout of this anonymous crowdsourcing supplier database was created using Axure RP. This was an initial concept to show the information that would be included within this database system.


High-Fidelity Prototype

Visit the prototype ->
High-Fidelity Prototype

Usability Testing and other design factors were not part of this research project. The main purpose of this prototype is to pitch the idea of an open-sourced supplier database for the stakeholders to consider the potential positive impact that it could create for existing industries.



  1. Lecinski, J. (2011). Winning the zero moment of truth. [Mountain View, Calif.]: Google.
  2. Crowdsourcing. (2016). Wikipedia. Retrieved 14 May 2016, from
  3. Estelles-Arolas,E.& Gonzalez-Ladron-de-Guevara,F. (2012). Towards an integrated crowdsourcing definition. Journal Of Information Science, 38(2), 189-200.
  4. Jeff, H. The Rise of Crowdsourcing. In Wired Magazine, 2006.
  5. Doan, A., Ramakrishnan, R. and Halevy, A. Crowdsourcing systems on the World-Wide Web.Communications of the ACM 54, 4 (2011), 86.
  6. Mohammed Al Sukaini, A., Zhang, J. and Zghair Albazooni, A. Crowdsourcing in User- Generated Content Communities: Impact of Online Networks on Perception and Intended Behaviors of Crowd Engagement. IJBA 6, 3 (2015).
  7. Kosonen, M. and Henttonen, K. Cheer the crowd? Facilitating user participation in idea crowdsourcing. International Journal of Technology Marketing 10, 1 (2015), 95.

Recent Works