During my time at Synthetix I had the opportunity to lead the design work of the company and take part in numerous projects within a highly skilled team of designers and developers. I have designed software and web-based products for a wide range of high-profile clients: well-known brands such as Boots, Virgin Trains, Toyota, YBS, Esure, Fortnum & Mason and National Express - just to name a few.
Among other things, my work focused mostly on researching, designing and prototyping solutions to improve the UX of products such as Intelligent BOT systems, Live Chats and Web Self-Service FAQs products.
For this MVP I worked as solo designer, but I've always also kept liaising with stakeholders, developers and marketing team during focus groups and planning sessions. This was a great way to keep other departments involved and to get some helpful feedback.
The real challenge was to design a scalable product, easy to implement within any type of industry. A product capable of guiding user choices just enough to achieve a more significant and effective user experience which could then translate into better conversion/customer satisfaction because of the reduction of margin for mistakes and doubts that make the users think!
Years of experience within the CX sector and consistent field researches within our industry have helped us identify issues and frictions within our line of products and investigate new solutions to create always a more efficient and scalable customer experience throughout the implementation of AI technologies.
By formulating hypothesis and looking into validating them throughout research, prototyping and testing, we came to the conclusion that our extensive set of tools could be better integrated and unified under one single intelligent product capable of offering a better experience by guiding the user all the way during the journey.
In order to be able to test our hypothesis I realised we needed to adopt a specific industry for the product journey. I choose the insurance industry for this case study.
Having had the opportunity in the past to work with Esure, one of our clients, and one of the biggest insurance company in the UK, our knowledge about their products and clients' needs became very handy for this project. Our Persona was a direct result of these researches.
I've designed a default user journey based on the insights I have collected during my field researches. Our hypothesis, in order to achive a better CX, were the following:
I applied the Information Architecture of the insurance industry as for the content of this MVP prototype. By focusing on one specific journey, I figured out the content I needed for prototype testing.
This is where I started sketching and wireframing our product - mobile first. The idea was to make sure the interface didn't look like a chat, but still maintained the conversational feeling of a chat. This was necessary in order for the BOT not to be confuse with the actual Live Chat tool integrated within the same platform amongst all the other available escalation options.
Also, because users needed to be guided throughout the journey, but at the same time have the ability of typing questions, or starting a chat whenever needed, we opted for a burger menu with options at the bottom right hand side of the screen that could be easily accessed by the user at all time during the journey.
After sketching wireframes and having a clearer idea of the product user flow, I started creating a digital prototype using Adobe XD. My priority at this stage was to make sure that the user was able to easily follow the flow of the BOT and potentially also find his way back to previous steps of the journey in order to change his path whenever needed.
That would have allowed in my opinion the user to be 100% in control of the journey, without though falling outside the BOT "hand-holding" process.
I was at this point ready to test my first prototype. 5 users were observed while completing specific tasks, and all sessions were recorded. I tested this early prototype in house with staff members from outside the dev and design teams.
Results were encouraging, but not perfect of course:
The main issue reported was that users would not understand how to "go back" in the journey. The action wasn't clear enough.
Based on the results of my first test, I have amended the design where needed. I also felt confident that the High-fidelity prototype would have helped tackle some of the previously recorded issues. The use of brighter colours, different iconography and branding styles gave the product a visually clearer and more appealing look and feel.
In order to make the "Go back" action even clearer, I also decided to add an arrow down icon next to the previous choice in order to help the user understand that by clicking, or even dragging down from the top, they could go back in the journey.
The prototype went through a couple rounds more of testing iterations. The results showed massive improvements each time. The product was very well received by the test users in terms of ease of use, clarity and look and feel. The issues recorded also from previous tests were at this point successfully overcame and the overall experience was validated - including integrated escalation options to FAQs Search and Live Chat tools.
I tested this last stage of the prototype on 8 people, in-house and outside the company - guerrilla testing type.
One last prototype testing was required before starting any development. Because within the team we couldn't agree on it, we decided to run an A/B testing around some of the Live Chat functionalities. This was extremely helpful for us in order to clarify small doubts we had regarding the chat interface on matters like where to place the "End chat" button and how to best allow the user to move in and out of the chat room during a live chat.
Based on test results, option B was far more successful than A:
The Intelligent BOT prototype was very well received by everyone else in the team, and also from some of the clients we have tested it with. The MVP is now destinated to become a product and it's currently being developed.