Micro but Mighty
UX/UI may be micro compared to Customer Experience (CX). But it certainly is a mighty tool in design. After all, you may risk delivering a subpar CX unless you delight customers across all micro moments that add up to their overall experience with a brand or a product.
On this page:
Project showcase where I was the Product Design Lead who led the end-to-end creation of a now nationally adopted platform for creating customer-centric promotional materials.
My design motto is simple: Approach every challenge as a learner.
A learner who stays curious to question the Why in everything, who looks for invisible problems that most have been habituated to accept as just the way things work, who willingly immerses oneself to feel the frustrating reality of the issues — all in order to envision and create better experiences for others.
CREATING A CENTRAL PLATFORM FOR CURATING AND TAILORING PROMOTIONAL COMMUNICATIONS WITH CUSTOMERS
Note. Due to NDA purposes, all information and artifacts presented in this case study will remain brand agnostic. Certain components on images will be blurred to de-identify brand. All content presented here reflects activities I had personally contributed to to elevate Company X and its businesses between February 2019 to January 2020.
INITIAL EXPLORATION & RESEARCH
We began by setting up a core project team comprised of a Business Analyst, Technology Director, Technical Architect, Project Manager, and Product Design Lead.
As the Product Design Lead, I saw an opportunity for us to use Design Thinking to guide our process. As a first step, I recommended conducting interviews with Account Managers so we could empathize with their needs and get a better understanding of the key problems we had to solve.
In collaboration with the Business Analyst, the following goals for their interviews were established:
Understand how Account Managers were engaging with their customers
Identify the list of assets and set of tools Account Managers used to facilitate their conversations with customers
Identify any pain points Account Managers had with the existing process and tools
Gather feedback from Account Managers on what they thought would make their job easier
Company X is a major U.S. pharmaceutical company. Its Market Access team is looking for ways to optimize how they engage with payers, health plans, and pharmacy committees.
How might we support Company X's Account Managers with tools to provide targeted and relevant messaging to diverse customer segments?
A centralized platform that provides Account Managers with access to a wide collection of promotional resources that they can use to build tailored communication materials for engaging different customers. It was also built with a dashboard to track data on usage to inform future development of assets and messaging. A training program was also developed to help get Account Managers onboarded and started.
The platform has now been adopted by all national Account Managers (~100 users) within Company X. It remains to be the central hub for personalizing content for customers, enabling Market Access strategies. Other teams within Company X (e.g. field sales reps) are currently hoping to adopt the platform for optimizing engagement with physicians.
We conducted 36 stakeholder interviews in total. Following the interviews, we analyzed and distilled the following insights:
INTERVIEW INSIGHT #1
There were multiple platforms Account Managers used to access communication assets, but they were all working independently, making it very confusing and inefficient to utilize.
INTERVIEW INSIGHT #2
Account Managers were frustrated that existing platforms only acted as libraries of assets, and there was no way they could tailor their presentation materials based on their audience and their engagement points.
INTERVIEW INSIGHT #3
Existing platforms did not allow resources to be downloaded. This means that Account Managers could only engage with customers in environments where they would have stable internet access. This was seen as inconvenient and limiting.
INTERVIEW INSIGHT #4
Some assets on the existing platforms were outdated but still available for use. This was problematic because presenting any expired assets would be noncompliant, and could put Company X at risk for violating regulatory policies.
INTERVIEW INSIGHT #5
Account Managers hoped to be able to present to their audience from different devices, including both laptops and iPads. However, the existing tools did not provide this flexibility
INTERVIEW INSIGHT #6
Most Account Managers were in charge of various brands under the ride range of Company X’s portfolios, and therefore typically had to access different assets for different customers. However, the existing platforms did not provide any categorization of assets, so Account Managers often had to sort and locate assets they needed.
FRAMING KEY PROBLEMS
Using the qualitative data from the interviews, we defined the guiding principles for the ideal solution to address the key problems identified.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #1
The solution should centralize all available compliant-only assets and act as a one-stop shop where Account Managers can access, customize, and download their promotional materials.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #2
The solution should enable the functionality of customization so Account Managers can build their own presentations leveraging existing assets to tailor their engagement with different groups of audiences.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #3
The solution should notify Account Managers of new assets available as well as warn them about assets that are about to expire, so they could stay informed of what assets they could use for their engagement with customers.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #4
The solution should support adoption through positive user experience with seamless integration with Company X’s existing systems, intuitive UI, and flexibility of access with different devices (laptops, mobile phones, iPads).
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #5
The solution should have multi-file support (.ppt, .xls, image, video, PDF), as well as online/offline support.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE #6
The solution should have a filtering system so Account Managers could quickly access assets that would be relevant for their different brands and customers.
We then began to ideate by asking How Might We questions. The project team held a series of workshops and invited multidisciplinary team members to join our creative forces to solution. We decided the solution should be a single platform that could holistically accomplish the list of guiding principles. We started off with sketching user flows on whiteboards and then documenting them digitally so everyone understood what to work towards. I then defined the sitemap for the platform and evaluated it via tree tests with potential users.
WIREFRAMING, PROTOTYPING, & TESTING
After some refinement to the information architecture, I moved onto wireframing and prototyping to bring the solution to life. I started off by creating some low-fidelity wireframes to gather initial feedback from both our internal tech team and the Account Managers. I then built a design system for use in the higher-fidelity wireframes. I did so using Sketch and Zeplin so our development team could access the shared library of reusable components and build them out for the final solution accordingly. Because Company X has an established style guide, I was able to leverage it to build the design system.
Together with the Business Analyst, we defined the use cases for which we should test our prototypes with. We conducted remote moderated usability testing with the same 36 participants of our initial discovery interviews. We received great feedback, and many partipants were delighted to see their needs being answered.
After making a few tweaks to the solution, I created a detailed functional specifications document and passed it onto the Development team to build out the platform while providing oversight support.
TRAINING & ROLL-OUT
I also collaborated with the client project Sponsor to create a training program and an in-person training session for Account Managers to ensure the smooth roll-out of the platform.
RESULTS & KEY TAKEAWAYS
Since the platform launched, over 100 nation-wide Account Managers of Company X had adopted and consistently used the it. It was regarded by Company X senior leadership as a very successful product that helped to enable their Market Access Strategic Imperatives.
Design Thinking is key to framing the right problems to solve and the creation of effective products. The systematic approach really provided great guidance for our design process, and helped keep everyone on track to deliver such a big and innovative product.
The best designs come from multidisciplinary collaboration. The ideation workshops were arguably my favorite part of the entire design process. As a Product Design Lead, I learned a lot from my colleagues about the business rules, data integration, and technical requirements that had to be taken into consideration to shape our solution. They also benefited a lot from me as I constantly pushed the boundaries and asked everyone to think bigger and differently to innovate.
Strategic implementation is crucial for bringing the solution to life. The design process does not stop after wireframing, prototyping, or even the build. Strategizing a rollout communications and training plan is essential for setting the product up for success, so users feel empowered and confident to use and adopt the product. Also, keep asking for and gathering feedback because Design Thinking is a never-ending cycle. Iterative improvements to the product can ensure optimization of user experience and thus the longevity of the creative solution as the business continues to evolve.