Read about examples of how I applied research, strategy, and human-centered design to design problems at startups and Fortune 500 companies alike.
No Matter What We Call Them - Users/Leads/Audience/Prospects - they are humans. Humans have to use web sites or apps to do their job or accomplish some task or goal that hopefully leads them to feel good. Recently, I led the user experience team at CA Technologies in the redesign of ca.com. I joined right at the start of the redesign the huge corporate website. Almost immediately, I set about turning the web property into a member of the CA sales team, focusing on providing the needed information and functionality for prospects to qualify them as CA leads.
With the help of many teams, I led the UX and content strategy of ca.com to tell people why they should do business with CA and why they need to consider CA's products. Here are the actions I did to bring a human-centered digital strategy to life on ca.com
Identified the primary personas of the web site as members of enterprise software decision-making teams. I used past internal research, product team customer research, industry research, and the existing web site survey to identify the common personas. Then, using this same research, identified the questions that these personas have during the sales process and how they typically find answers. I found that they look at specific content types. For example, the business decision maker personas relied on videos, events, and case studies while the IT decision makers found answers in spec sheets, feature lists, and product comparisons.
Looked at past user research to find their pain points in their current website experience. The research had showed that there was a clear path to purchase, so with the help of my content strategist, we audited the website and found the large content gaps where the website was not meeting the users' needs on their buyer's journey.
Engaged the analytics team to work with my content strategist and find the current content performance by type to identify opportunities for web site optimization. My team member wanted to learn more about data analysis, so I asked our analytics agency to mentor her on a large content analysis of the current product content on ca.com. She did so with gusto and found three insights that enabled me to further validate and set strategy for the ca.com redesign. These three insights also provided the needed data to sway product marketing team members towards the new website strategy.
Based on the information, I felt confident that if we provided these content types and the needed information to support a buyer's journey for the website audiences, the website could work hard to qualify leads and drive revenue for the company. My KPIs were focused on engagement. The marketing teams drove traffic to the website, but I could make sure that once a user got to CA.com, they would find what they needed, no matter the phase of their journey.
I also extended the strategy to ensure that the website design matched current user behavior on all digital platforms by focusing design to be mobile-first, every page could work as a landing page, structuring the page design to match the marketing funnel with clear calls to action, and ensuring the corporate SEO strategy keywords were present in all copy.
The new design of CA.com web site and pages reflect that journey in a way that makes marketers happy too - all the way down the funnel to sales.
To measure the results of this UX strategy, I asked the analytics agency to focus on three measurements before and after the launch to determine whether or not the strategy worked: bounce rate, engagement by way of asset downloads, and an increase in visits to product pages.
I also engaged a usability testing agency to benchmark
Here's what they reported 90 days after launch - success!
- 63% increase in total asset downloads, with a 31% increase in case studies, which is a direct result of filling a content gap in the buyer's journey
- 4 percentage point decrease in bounce rate
- Double-digit increases in visits to key product pages
- 2X increase in key usability metrics like task completion and satisfaction
Google taught us that it's a safe bet we'll find what we need when we do. Apple taught us that any web site better look and feel amazing on a 4 inch screen. This means that a person's introduction to a corporate web site may not be the home page on a large beautiful monitor, but whatever page Google determines on a handheld device. As a result, that entrance to the corporate site (and the brand) better be inviting. This design ethos of "any page is a landing page" was the foundation for the recent redesign of the Infomatica web site.
I led the UX activities in collaboration with business stakeholders. I wanted make sure a person's entrance, landing, and path on infomatica.com was welcoming by asking two questions:
- Who are the users?
- What does success look like for them?
To answer this question, I looked at industry analysis on the buyer's journey, interviewed customer representatives and stakeholders to identify key user problems and current solutions, reviewed behavioral data from the website, and conducted workshops with key stakeholders to focus on user success.
As a results of this work, I was able to understand the full user journey - how most of the audience came to the site, not through the home page, but any page was their landing page and then chart out their path from first step to task completion.
From this data and strategy, I created an information architecture and page designs that did a few things: each page told the user where they were, what they could do while they were on the page, and showed them clear next steps to achieve that success. The result was a fresh corporate website that greeted people with varying goals, welcomed them in, and made them comfortable enough to engage, no matter their entry point.
Big Data Does Not Mean More Data
Dell's Social Media Team, a leader in harnessing that data, sought to invent a new way to measure one important nugget of social media conversation for a marketing purpose: assign a number to social advocacy on a specific topic and then let product managers and marketers drill down to why that number was the way it was, essentially lifting the veil on all social conversation on a topic.
I was the new UX lead on the project and the design challenge seemed insurmountable. Not only was this a new metric and algorithm, but there were over 1000 topics and billions of posts that needed to be accessible for any time in the past. Plus, each of those topics were talked about over many media channels by many people with huge ranges of sentiment.
To get started 0n the UX, I focused on the questions the product marketers and managers would want to know the answers to:
- What are people saying about my product?
- Where are they saying them?
From there, I created an "App Map" of all the screens, a navigational model that let the user select a topic and then dig deeper, and a simple Big Data Dashboard UI that allowed product managers to "drill down" to the layers below the SNA measure and get the answers to their questions. The first generation of this product won a Forrester award and was featured at Dell World.
Consumer sites have had Click to Chat functionality for years, but this feature is just coming onto the scene for large enterprise/B2B sites. Buyer’s Journey Research showed that key buyer personas – the IT Decision Maker – preferred electronic communication when reaching out to a company. Emails were already operationally in place so executive leadership gave Digital Marketing the green light for a Click-to-Chat pilot across 12 products. I took the reins to lead the design and launch of this needed touch point in the buyer’s journey.
IT had the platform and technology in place, but we needed a very friendly user experience that showed the face behind the chat, illuminated the pre-sales team’s expertise, and ultimately led to sales accepted opportunities. To achieve these goals, I took the following steps:
- Reviewed competitor and consumer Click to Chat and analyzed the experience to find what worked and what didn’t to inform strategy
- Reviewed and analyzed customer journey research for click to chat and buyer’s journey best practices
- Created a strategy document that illustrated the ideal user experience
- Defined the key metrics that would show CA how Click-to-Chat qualified leads and led to sales-accepted opportunities
- Managed the analytics agency, data intelligence, and IT to complete all necessary attribution steps across measurement systems
- Led the UX design, business analyst, and visual designer in defining the user experience for Click to Chat
- Kick-started the operational process for a team of six customer service reps to use existing scripts to address questions received through chat
- Engaged with IT and the production team to launch the product across 12 products on Salesforce/Live Agent platform with correct attribution fields in place
Six months later, the results were in for Click to Chat:
- The Click to Chat program has yielded a total of 1,900 leads and over 75 sales accepted opportunities in 6 months
- A 7-fold increase in conversion rates for net new leads to sales accepted opportunities from non-chat ones
- A decrease of 62 days in sales cycle time
When I joined an adventure travel company’s marketing team as a contractor, I needed to create an integrated marketing strategy and plan for the family travel product line. In analyzing the current marketing, I learned that their family travel business was solid at 20% of the bookings, but not keeping up with the 30% annual market growth. My goal was to create the first integrated marketing plan for this product line, and also help the company take advantage of the opportunity to grow the family travel business.
I analyzed the current marketing program and found that the audience definition was lacking, marketing efforts had been ad-hoc, there were no coordinated sales enablement efforts, and the product portfolio was limited to five destinations. These were gaps that could be filled with clear audience definition and targeting, a strong integrated marketing strategy, extending the product portfolio, and educating sales on consistent messaging.
I started with the audience definition by looking at market and industry research, competitor information, interviewing the sales team, and mining CRM data. I found two segments that could drive family travel growth: Generation X Parents and Boomer Grandparents. They both desired benefits that the travel company could deliver – excellent service, shared activities, and desirable destinations. However, the Generation X Parents segment would require additional and costly awareness efforts since they were net:new audience, while the company could use existing marketing efforts to reach their current audience of Boomers.
In doing this analysis, I realized that there was a gap in the family travel product portfolio. There were only five products where there could be more simply by adding family-focused itineraries to destinations that the company already offered. I raised this opportunity to my managing director and she worked with the VP of sales and his team to expand the portfolio from 5 to 11 family trips.
I created a messaging strategy and creative direction to resonate the Boomer Grandparents. During my research, I found that Boomer Grandparents wanted to take their families on trips to celebrate milestones and show their grandchildren places they’d visited in their formative years. I created the campaign theme of“Show Them The World” to capture that benefit. I also asked the marketing manager to find consistent imagery we could use across media that showed families engaging in activities. I engaged the editor to ensure that all messaging points would encapsulate this theme and include the proof points desirable to this audience.
From this strategy, I laid out an integrated marketing plan that worked in three ways. First, it was an omni-channel plan across digital advertising, search, content marketing, web site, e-mail and social. Second, it would be truly integrated by showcasing the messaging strategy and creative direction consistently at each touch point. Finally, there were two calls to action to accommodate the typical traveler path to purchase:
1) Drive awareness of family travel trips by asking the audience to download the brochure
2) Consider specific destinations and trips by asking them to download a specific trip itinerary
Finally, I enabled the sales team, which operated by region. I put together training materials and hosted several lunch and learns to give them an overview of the new strategy and enable them to consistently sell more family trips.
This campaign was a large success and accomplished the integrated marketing campaign goals as well as growing the family travel business. Here are some of the results
- 38% increase in YoY bookings
- $2000 net increase in average booking value
- 50% increase in family travel revenue
The year following this campaign, I added a content marketing plan and nurture campaign to keep the success going.
Caregivers of children who've been diagnosed with ADHD are typically moms. They are moms who want their families to be happy and healthy, which is incredibly difficult when there child suffers from a chronic disease. As product director at Akili Interactive, I am tasked with helping these moms answer the question, "is my child getting better?" in a time-saving, actionable, and helpful manner. My job is to research, design and define, plan, and deliver a valuable, engaging, and easy to use digital products that helps them monitor the symptoms of their child's disease. I worked on these products sine the beginning, when they were only an idea to complement Akili's revolutionary digital video game treatment.
- Conducted literature reviews and key opinion leader research to understand the disease state and clinical workflows, including problem areas to explore further
- Surveyed and interviewed healthcare providers, caregivers, and teachers to understand how they currently monitor their child's ADHD symptoms.
- Consolidated and synthesized all user research into personas to drive a user-centered design process.
- Generated insights from data about most valuable features and app engagement that lead to a phased roadmap including a beta test to prove out product and design hypotheses.
- Designed the entire user experience of the MVP app starting with sketches and prototypes, which I placed in front of users to gauge whether or not the product was going in the right direction. Because of my background, I was playing a dual role at the start up.
- Hired a behavioral economist to audit the UX for opportunities of more engagement in product usage. Delivered an engagement strategy that confirmed current designs and defined additional product requirements as a result.
- Engaged user research agency for usability testing of clickable prototypes to iterate and refine design. A point of pride in the results - the satisfaction, comprehension, and value scores for specific screens and flows were consistently above 4.5/5, where 5 was extremely satisfied.
- Defined validated product requirements and worked with a design agency and engineering teams to create software requirements for product backlog in support of continuous development.
- Worked daily with engineering team to provide priority and guidance on user and business value of feature sets and requirements.
- Developed beta test KPIs to measure engagement, value, and usability.
- Created launch and learnings plan to ensure that KPIs were measured and managed to demonstrate value and users had several channels of user feedback and support.
In May 2018, launched Fengo and Fengo for Teachers into beta test for iPhones.
Here's some of the user feedback we received during testing:
“I was glad I could provide feedback. This week I am wishing I had something to track behavior better as I feel all over the place!”
“I'm really grateful that someone is working on something so encompassing--that makes it easier for parents like us. This is a helpful tool for someone like my husband and I who need the support.”
“My thanks also to the team for their efforts to develop programs to help the ADHD children of the world.”
A common adage in healthcare is that physicians won’t do anything that takes time, they adverse to new technologies, and that it’s about “not interrupting” their current workflows. As director of product at a digital health company, I led the discovery work for a new ecosystem of products for a patient’s care team, include products for healthcare providers, or doctors.
I needed to understand if these adages were true or if they were old tales that could prevent much-needed innovation in the healthcare space. To get started on research and discovery, I believed the on-site visits were the best method to uncover a physician’s natural environment. I also wanted to conduct face-to-face interviews in the setting where they and their office staff were most comfortable. The insights from this research would drive not only product design choices, but could also inform design of the entire customer journey.
- Understand treatment context to see the environment and materials present
- Observe and understand the diagnosis, prescription, and monitoring workflows for doctors with their patients to see how they currently accomplished their goals and what the pain points were along the way
- Review and gain feedback on low-fidelity design concepts in order to find most valuable and most confusing information in order to iterate on the designs
- Designed a research protocol that outlined the participant description and screening criteria, recruiting method, research procedures, test materials, and data collection methods
- Engaged an outside vendor to facilitate visits
- Worked with cross-functional team to create and review all test materials, data collection methods, and release documentation
- Conducted on-site interviews with colleague and summarized data at end of each session
- Showed the doctors wireframes of product concepts and asked them to mark and rank desired functionality using qualitative methods
- Analyzed data and looked for patterns and insights to share with stakeholders
- Generated a report with insights and recommended next steps for product and customer journey design for executive stakeholders
- Revealed minimum viable product (MVP) opportunities to intersect with a doctors’ existing practices instead of disrupting them
- Created personas of the Healthcare Provider and Office Staff to share with the product and marketing teams
- Generated a list of pain points and made recommendations on priority items to solve for in the product roadmap to solve for the product team
- Identified the most valuable patient information and desirable designs for doctors to iterate on in next version of product designs
- Found out that doctors and their staff are people too - they’ve been beaten up by technology and IT infrastructure investments over the years, but they have a bent for innovation because it’s best for the patient.
We strive for engaging products, but what does engagement truly mean? It means that our users develop a habit of using the product over time. Nir Eyal, the author of the book, “Hooked: Creating Habit-Forming Products” defines habit-forming products as those that essentially allow people to “do what they fundamentally want to do.” Habit-forming doesn’t mean that every app needs to be gamified like Candy Crush or addictive like Facebook. Habit-forming products users accomplish their goals in such a meaningful and rewarding way that people want to come back again and again to use it
As Director of Product Management at a healthcare startup, I led the design and launch of an app that served moms of kids who have been diagnosed with ADHD. The two products I designed and launched helped moms monitor their child’s progress on a treatment program so they could have better conversations with their pediatrician. Because we were a lean start up at the time, I played three roles in the product development: user researcher, ux designer, and product manager. To create a habit-forming product, I applied existing models from Silicon Valley to form the product strategy
Finding the Core Action: According to the Greylock Partners Hierarchy of Engagement, creation of a habit is the first step in fostering ongoing and self-perpetuating product retention. To do so, I needed to find one core action that could be the habit - what was the one meaningful behavior that Moms would do on a daily basis? I answered this question by conducting user interviews and surveys to identify this core action.
My research showed that while physicians prefer symptom assessments and tracking, Moms wanted to focus on their child’s positive abilities, which is progress on their overall behaviors at home and school. The core action that was the foundation of the habit was daily behavior tracking for home and school by parents and teachers.
Applying the “Hooked” Model to Push Design and Feature Set Further: The book, Hooked: How to create Habit forming products” outlines a model for how to create habit forming products. I reviewed the model and through - what can this product do better than others in these areas of habit formation? I had heard about “gamification”, but after reading this book, realized that’s another word for rewards, which is in this model. Mom didn’t want badges and points, she wanted to help her child. I reviewed the the proposed feature set and innovated on the UX design to make sure the app included elements of this model throughout the UX.
Determining the MVP I created a roadmap that had a first release of an MVP specifically with a habit creation goal. Any other features that did not add to creating the habit were phased in later releases. The MVP strategy to deliver a first release of the most valuable habit-forming product that was also minimally viable.
Results: Habit created and value delivered! (But less frequently than daily)
The first release app launched into a private beta test with over 100 users and the results are confidential, but nonetheless promising and show consistent engagement over time. Most importantly, the team learned Mom found value in the core action, enough to do it multiple times per week - on a regular and consistent basis - over the course of the beta test. The team also learned about small tweaks to the design that could improve the experience, optimizations that could only be found with consistent usage.
A large percentage of users created a habit (Facebook, the most addictive app is at 50%)
Majority of users find the app more satisfying than their current methods of tracking behavior and symptoms
Users strongly believed app allows them to have meaningful conversations with their doctor, which was the core value proposition