Here are some recent work samples that capture the development and evolution of several products. These case studies illustrate how business solutions are achieved through collaboration and relying on the design thinking process. One note: because some of these projects are proprietary or remain in review, outcomes and results are only posted when available.
Case Study: Experience Design, Discovery
Designing The Future today
A major pharmaceutical brand was looking for a way to provide oncology patients who were in a course of treatment a means of communication that was more intuitive than traditional social platforms. The client asked about “a wearable, like a fit bit” that would allow patients to communicate their mood to a selected group of friends.
Without a formal budget for user research, I worked with my colleagues in the Medical Strategy team to gather insights based on secondary research that was available to us. Once that research was provided I was able to request a group meeting to conduct a brief discovery exercise.
Once the team was assembled I conducted a workshop with all stakeholders to help them articulate their needs.
We also spent time dedicated to understanding what technology and products excited them. Lastly we aligned their expectations to a product vision that would be acceptable within the regulations of the pharmaceutical industry.
With client and internal teams aligned I was now able to undertake a lightning round of research and conversations with the subject matter experts available to me.
I then did some sketches to highlight proposed core functionality and a phased product approach and reviewed them with our internal teams, including technology, account, art & copy and engagement strategy.
As I developed my product strategy, I was able to draw on in-market examples and also initial proof of concept work in progress that surfaced over the course of my on and offline research and conversations with colleagues in the technology industry.
Because this proposal was coming from an advertising agency known for campaign-driven creative work, it was critical for me to set expectations internally as well as with clients that this would be a phased, product-driven proposal. In order to do this I broke out the phases into clear iterative deliveries following the “Crawl, Walk, Run” methodology. This approach emphasizes a focus on existing data, improving current functionality and “honoring the progress” or keeping the features that work.
By designing 2-D prototypes that leveraged existing technology for our initial product stages, the client became more familiar with our concept and our iterative approach. Once familiar with the methodology, our ideas for future iterations of the product became more feasible. Level-setting with the familiar develops and strengthens working relationships.
I conducted research within the industry and in coordination with SMEs in the fields of voice, app design and predictive tech to gain a better understanding of what would be feasible to propose in a product that would come to market within the next 12-14 months.
Using this data I verified my projected functionality with all of our internal stakeholders and also identified benchmarks for each phase of development and production to measure adoption and performance of the product functionality.
The proposed third phase of the product (“Run”) would incorporate features that tested well from the Crawl/Walk phases and allow the development team to develop functionality based on the data points that were established in the earlier phases.
This plan was a means of demonstrating to the client that product functionality should be designed to support the technology as it evolves.
From a practical standpoint, this strategy would result in a light application that would eliminate the need for costly re-designs and provide user insights that would guide updates to existing functionality.
Case Study: Mobile Application Design, User Journeys
I was asked to design an iOS-specific application for an audience of Japanese Sales Representatives for a major pharma brand that would be used on site during an upcoming convention.
After gathering as many requirements as possible from the client through conversations I mapped out a stripped down experience that would leverage the familiar native iOS functionality as well as many shared resources as possible.
Because this would be a stand-alone application we did not need to account for Android and other functionality which allowed us to maintain the tight budget proposed.
The use case was also restricted to a sales representative from the brand that we would provide training for.
This training was provided in the form of a screencast of the prototype being used. Language requirements were specified as easy to translate English so I recommended modal windows with clear language.
After reviewing the user experience, a member of the creative team asked how the reps would know where the final photo went.
In another use case this would be redundant or seen as over-engineering an already established native functionality but I agreed with the team member’s concerns, taking into account the situation at the conference where people may be distracted and need a little help.
Functionality was added to allow the user to view the finished photo and return to the camera. I feel that this was a good example of interaction design that was need-based. The solution drew on very limited user testing, but enough to highlight a need that was legitimate.
Case Study: Responsive Design, Functional Annotations
Using a visual languaGE
On very short notice a client asked us to concept a landing page for a social campaign and wanted to include features that would tie back to social content. The creative team had an initial layout that was approved by the client but requested my assistance with mobile. An added complexity was that the team had presented functionality to the client before consulting UX.
This functionality involved hover states and features that would not translate to mobile devices clearly. During discussions with the account lead, it was agreed to a second presentation as part of the mobile delivery. During this presentation UX would provide clarity on how navigation differed on mobile and where we had improved upon the original functionality that had been discussed.
In order to reproduce the functionality that had been approved by the client on mobile, I looked to data on how the brands targeted demographic interacted with mobile and proposed an engagement strategy that relied on native gestures that users in the demographic were already accustomed to.
After internal white board sessions we came up with an intuitive way to include the social content feed that we felt would drive engagement while maintaining the spirit of the materials presented to the client.
To assist the account lead and client with better understanding how the proposed page would work on mobile vs. desktop, I included annotations for each feature to provide clarity.
Case Study: Content Strategy
Here are some examples of how I have been able to use UX principles to engage clients and teams during different phases of the product life cycle.
PROBLEM STATEMENT #1: How might we structure editorial content to allow the user to easily navigate through the experience?
A travel start up had been partnering with a visual design agency to design the look and feel of their site but they did not have a firm structure for the content for the site. With such stunning visuals and engrossing story-telling it was critical to design an information architecture that allowed the types of content to maintain their unique voice while also being flat enough to maximize findability. Conducting informal card sorts and in-person white board sessions with the client allowed me to provide recommendations based on the priority they assigned to content types in a way that satisfied their business needs as well as supported their editorial vision. Once the high-level structure was agreed upon, I created a site map that I used to focus our continuing conversations.
PROBLEM STATEMENT #2: How might we incorporate Products into our existing IA for launch?
Mid-way through the development process for our 1.0 release, the client came back to us with a challenge. After internal discussions they had decided to pivot from a purely editorial focus and asked for guidance on how to include their bespoke travel packages and destination bookings. They had work-shopped a revised site map that would create as many as 4 new pages and 4 new sub-pages.
In my role as client contact and product lead I needed to diplomatically solve the client’s needs while also following the design strategy that we had presented at the initial hand off from the design agency.
In order to do this I created a series of low-fidelity annotated wire frames that proposed consolidating the 4 new pages and 4 sub-pages into two top-level pages with CTAs that opened a modal window with data capture. This proposal allowed for contextual functionality based on the user’s location within the site’s content that would drive users to either sign up for more information or drive them to the product subscription flow. After discussing internally the client agreed to this approach and thanked us for understanding the goals of their pivot while maintaining the voice of the brand through an emphasis on their editorial content.
The client was able to leverage these wireframes and the product strategy we provided based on competitive and comparative research into a successful negotiation with their senior leadership that allowed us to continue developing the flatter, more accessible architecture we stood behind while incorporating the new functionality required in order to satisfy the client’s business needs.
Very light usability testing was conducted using our prototyped UI and the findings bore out our recommendations. We had satisfied our MVP requirements and the client was pleased with the solution from a business as well as creative, in this case editorial POV.
Case Study: Mobile Application Design
Here are some examples of how I have been able to use UX principles to engage clients and teams during different phases of the product life cycle in my career. The Gardener mobile application was my final project for the General Assembly UX Design class.
PROBLEM STATEMENT #1: How might we connect gardeners with each other in an easily accessed app?
I conducted comparative and competitive research on desktop and mobile in the gardening, plant care and horticulture space. Because there is crossover into several different market segments, research was also conducted in home care, hobby and the health and wellness spaces. User interviews were conducted in-person and surveys were sent via email.
Once this data was collected and synthesized, it provided unique insights. Some users cited a need for verifiable advice, others cited decision fatigue when searching for the solution to their issues and nearly all of them expressed frustration with the lack of images and consolidated information available.
PROBLEM STATEMENT #2: How might we provide guidance and provide an incentive for users to contribute?
Mid-way through our second round of usability testing, one of the test subjects completed their tasks with the prototype, she asked simply “what’s in it for me?”.
The insights we received at this stage of the process were repeatable and obviated the need to review the stated business and user goals for the project. In order to make the most of this “pivot” the team pursued parallel paths:
Re-evaluate how the user journey can be optimized to drive full engagement and align to business goals
Research and validate the findings on a “badge” or rewards program for users in order to answer the questions we had received during usability testing.
But there were questions around the viability of a badge or rating system. I researched findings from several studies of the badging system and related HCI studies. Once this analysis was complete, the findings were clear:
“Independent research cited the importance of group identification, status/affirmation and reputation as key components of user engagement through a badge system. This system is a proven method for reinforcing users’ sense of belonging and community”
And with those words, the FLAIR program was born!
- For each post that a user completes, they receive a piece of flair
- With each response to a fellow gardener, the user receives an additional piece of flair.
With this exciting new feature in place we conducted additional usability testing. With each round of testing our iterative design methodology allowed us to optimize the user experience and provide a more robust engagement with the application.
From here I was able to move into wireframes and develop the high-fidelity prototype for the Gardener app.