Open memo
My first experience as product designer

Open memo
My first experience as product designer

Open memo
My first experience as product designer

When I get involved in a project I gradually lost the initial boundaries of my hiring position.
In a proactive team I do my best, focus on researching modern methods
and advocate for the better and feasible solution.

When I get involved in a project I gradually lost the initial boundaries of my hiring position.
In a proactive team I do my best, focus on researching modern methods and advocate for the better and feasible solution.

When I get involved in a project I gradually lost the initial boundaries of my hiring position.
In a proactive team I do my best, focus on researching modern methods
and advocate for the better and feasible solution.

When I get involved in a project I gradually lost the initial boundaries of my hiring position.
In a proactive team I do my best, focus on researching modern methods
and advocate for the better and feasible solution.

When I get involved in a project I gradually lost the initial boundaries of my hiring position.
In a proactive team I do my best, focus on researching modern methods and advocate for the better and feasible solution.

banner-open-memo

Problem

Problem

Problem

Problem

Open memo is a software as a service for team management.
It was born for banks employees and during his evolution collected inconsistency in UX and UI.

This evolution has come to a standstill because of the lack of an effective product strategy.

I have a complex but beautiful life: family management, work and training, hobbies and travels, things to balance all together.
In this scenario my job needs to stay flexible but also be a source of knowledge, energy and personal satisfaction (and yes, also money!).
I need a brand, and a strategy, to combine all these expectations.

I have a complex but beautiful life: family management, work and training, hobbies and travels, things to balance all together.
In this scenario my job needs to stay flexible but also be a source of knowledge, energy and personal satisfaction (and yes, also money!).
I need a brand, and a strategy, to combine all these expectations.

Solution

Solution

Solution

Solution

Be a user and provide a first heuristic evaluations together with UX benchmarks.
Organize the product strategy through the competitors analysis and the Jobs to be done perspective.
Select a set of features and test the user interest with a survey. Build a new UI, give specs for the Interaction design and the UX.

Craft a new identity.
Provide a partnership service to small-medium companies delivering 3 value propositions.
Say that with a new website and a stunning look.
Spread the messages using the blog and the social media.

Craft a new identity.
Provide a partnership service to small-medium companies delivering 3 value propositions.
Say that with a new website and a stunning look.
Spread the messages using the blog and the social media.

Frame the problems under the user perspective

Frame the problems under the user perspective

Looking behind at this project I realized that I was hired as a UX/UI designer and I acted like a product designer, gaining the trust and the compliments of the Softhrod team.

It all starts when Ruggero, CEO @Softhrod, ask me to try his team management product: open memo.

I use it for a week, taking a lot of notes and searching for UX and UI benchmarks. So, I combine my heuristic evaluation and visual benchmarks in a UX report where I offer one or more solutions for each problem I found. I frame each of them as a sort of user story for teaching the team to think as they were users and not just developers. For example: “As a user, I want to know the composition rules for a new password so that I can easily change the default one.”

I used the visual benchmarks also for teaching another lesson to the team: open to contaminations! A UX/UI problem can be solved taking the good around us (and probably it will save your time and money!).

So the Softhrod team as a first set of UX and UI improvements to work on.

Looking behind at this project I realized that I was hired as a UX/UI designer and I acted like a product designer, gaining the trust and the compliments of the Softhrod team.

It all starts when Ruggero, CEO @Softhrod, ask me to try his team management product: open memo.

I use it for a week, taking a lot of notes and searching for UX and UI benchmarks. So, I combine my heuristic evaluation and visual benchmarks in a UX report where a I offer one or more solutions for each problem I found. I frame each of them as a sort of user story for teaching the team to think as they were users and not just developers. For example: “As a user, I want to know the composition rules for a new password so that I can easily change the default one.”

I used the visual benchmarks also for teaching another lesson to the team: open to contaminations! A UX/UI problem can be solved taking the good around us (and probably it will save your time and money!).

So the Softhrod team as a first set of UX and UI improvements to work on.

ux-report

Research on the field

Research on the field

While the team was concentrated to build the first set of improvements, I took part to an onboarding session with real clients. And it was so exciting!
I took notes about what they say, their emotions and pains. Someone says: “I don’t understand the relation between me, my job and this tool!” and I also saw other people that pay poor attention to the speech.
Ruggero and his team made a good presentation (indeed at the end of the speech people appreciate the product) but I think that the customers should have been involved in a active way.

I observed that almost all of them had no knowledge of some words or concept and a warm-up session (maybe playing with illustrated cards) could have helped us to level their know and raise their interest.
This was an important take away.


I organized all the information collected in the meeting in the empathy map, an effective instrument for creating the persona models.

While the team was concentrated to build the first set of improvements, I took part to an onboarding session with real clients. And it was so exciting!
I took notes about what they say, their emotions and pains. Someone says: “I don’t understand the relation between me, my job and this tool!” and I also saw other people that pay poor attention to the speech.
Ruggero and his team made a good presentation (indeed at the end of the speech people appreciate the product) but I think that the customers should have been involved in a active way.

I observed that almost all of them had no knowledge of some words or concept and a warm-up session (maybe playing with illustrated cards) could have helped us to level their know and raise their interest.
This was an important take away.


I organized all the information collected in the meeting in the empathy map, an effective instrument for creating the persona models.

empathy-map

The business strategy challenge

The business strategy challenge

Until that moment, no one gave me the same trust and motivation of Ruggero.
Open memo had a urgent problem: it was at a standstill because of the lack of a product strategy. How might we reach more customer? What's interesting for them? How can we position in the market?

Ruggero tried to manage the strategy in the past, but in a more conventional way.
I made researches and found the amazing world of Jobs to be done (JTBD) that reframes the customer experience under a new perspective.
A customer doesn't need features, he needs solutions that help him progress toward a “new me”. So -in the case of open memo- stop talking about agenda, reporting, cloud storage! Focus on the customer needs of changing his daily routine, forgetting about the stress, confusion and delays.
We must help the user to easily gain targets and give the right value to time and his personal life.

So me and Ruggero used the Value proposition canvas to identify a customer segment and map the user jobs (functional, social, emotional), pains and gains.

Until that moment, no one gave me the same trust and motivation of Ruggero.
Open memo had a urgent problem: it was at a standstill because of the lack of a product strategy. How might we reach more customer? What's interesting for them? How can we position in the market?

Ruggero tried to manage the strategy in the past, but in a more conventional way.
I made researches and found the amazing world of Jobs to be done (JTBD) that reframes the customer experience under a new perspective.
A customer doesn't need features, he needs solutions that help him progress toward a “new me”. So -in the case of open memo- stop talking about agenda, reporting, cloud storage! Focus on the customer needs of changing his daily routine, forgetting about the stress, confusion and delays.
We must help the user to easily gain targets and give the right value to time and his personal life.

So me and Ruggero used the Value proposition canvas to identify a customer segment and map the user jobs (functional, social, emotional), pains and gains.

In addition to that I analyzed 3 competitors -very different from each other- with the goal of understanding how they talk to customers (voice, tone, recurrent words and concepts) and finding our way to promote open memo.

After we elaborated all the information, we came up with the value propositions and a set of possible new improvements.

In addition to that I analyzed 3 competitors -very different from each other- with the goal of understanding how they talk to customers (voice, tone, recurrent words and concepts) and finding our way to promote open memo.

After we elaborated all the information, we came up with the value propositions and a set of possible new improvements.

Verify the goodness of our ideas of improvement

Verify the goodness of our ideas of improvement

Do you want a fast and cheap method for validating your ideas or collecting suggestions? Use a survey!

It's not so easy to write a good survey:

  • define the learning goals
  • create balance between quantitative and qualitative questions
  • find the right priority (so the survey will be useful even if partially completed)
  • be clear, concise and don’t make too questions
  • test before deliver it
  • take case of analysis phase

We submitted the survey just to a few selected people because of two reasons: first, we wanted to be sure to have a number of answers we can manage, then we wanted to ask the opinion of creative people or professionals in our customer segment.

The survey has been a success! All the people replied and most of them gave us additional info with the final open ended question.
The solution have been organized in the product backlog and the team moved on.

Do you want a fast and cheap method for validating your ideas or collecting suggestions? Use a survey!

It's not so easy to write a good survey:

  • define the learning goals
  • create balance between quantitative and qualitative questions
  • find the right priority (so the survey will be useful even if partially completed)
  • be clear, concise and don’t make too questions
  • test before deliver it
  • take case of analysis phase

We submitted the survey just to a few selected people because of two reasons: first, we wanted to be sure to have a number of answers we can manage, then we wanted to ask the opinion of creative people or professionals in the our customer segment.

The survey has been a success! All the people replied and most of them gave us additional info with the final open ended question.
The solution have been organized in the product backlog and the team moved on.

survey

The restyling: the last but not the least

The restyling: the last but not the least

A lot of companies approaches the product design as a mere restyling and it’s the first thing they commit to a designer. A good UI can make a product more pleasant, but won’t solve the problem of usability and customer expectations.

I moved to the restyling only when I had a good knowledge on the product and according to the Softhrod priorities.
I use a lot of paper sketches and wireframe to understand how to reorganize pages, what to add and what to throw away.

Then I tried to figure out the UI patterns, make the design more consistent and simplify the cognitive load. For example: considering that open memo has pages with a complex layout, I thought to highlight actions with the higher rate of clicks and keep the others “low profile”, like the add tag functionality.

Every feedback was listened and evaluated, so the restyling become even more powerful. Drawing the UI in Sketch is one of the exciting steps because I can feel so close to the target!

A lot of companies approaches the product design as a mere restyling and it’s the first thing they commit to a designer. A good UI can make a product more pleasant, but won’t solve the problem of usability and customer expectations.

I moved to the restyling only when I had a good knowledge on the product and according to the Softhrod priorities.
I use a lot of paper sketches and wireframe to understand how to reorganize pages, what to add and what to throw away.

Then I tried to figure out the UI patterns, make the design more consistent and simplify the cognitive load. For example: considering that open memo has pages with a complex layout, I thought to highlight actions with the higher rate of clicks and keep the others “low profile”, like the add tag functionality.

Every feedback was listened and evaluated, so the restyling become even more powerful. Drawing the UI in Sketch is one of the exciting steps because I can feel so close to the target!

 

And what happened when UI was ready? While the Softhrod team organized his work on my visuals, I took care of interaction design (IxD).

I addressed four topics:

  • Motion design
  • Voice
  • Macro interactions
  • Micro interactions

The idea defined in the JTBD, the customer progress, must be conveyed with the motion design principles. For example in open memo we have sliding panel for editing contents: when user opens them, they must follow a left to right direction and ease-in timing function of 0.3 seconds. These rules give the idea of efficiency of the software.

The product has even a voice, that’s the copy we can find in field labels, modal windows, buttons and so on. Open memo must adopt a human to human voice, using clear and commonly spoken language. This rule must be followed both in other digital products, like emails and presentations, and also in person for the customer support or onboarding.

Then we have the micro interactions that define the behaviour and the look for page loading, error pages, system feedbacks, fields in error and custom components.
In this chapter I also defined the hover and click state for buttons, cards, lists and so on.

 

 

And what happened when UI was ready? While the Softhrod team organized his work on my visuals, I took care of interaction design (IxD).

I addressed four topics:

  • Motion design
  • Voice
  • Macro interactions
  • Micro interactions

The idea defined in the JTBD, the customer progress, must be conveyed with the motion design principles. For example in open memo we have sliding panel for editing contents: when user opens them, they must follow a left to right direction and ease-in timing function of 0.3 seconds. These rules give the idea of efficiency of the software.

The product has even a voice, that’s the copy we can find in field labels, modal windows, buttons and so on. Open memo must adopt a human to human voice, using clear and commonly spoken language. This rule must be followed both in other digital products, like emails and presentations, and also in person for the customer support or onboarding.

Then we have the macro interactions that define the behaviour and UX/UI for page loading, error pages, system feedbacks, fields error and custom components.
In micro interactions instead I defined the motions of states hover and click for different kind of buttons and UI elements, like cards or lists.

Conclusions

Conclusions

In this few months of cooperation with Ruggero and the team of Softhrod I had fun and learned a lot of things becoming a product designer.

I think that working on a product is not easy: maybe it’s like having a son, something that grows with you and requires a effort, patient and love.

In this few months of cooperation with Ruggero and the team of Softhrod I had fun and learned a lot of things becoming a product designer.

I think that working on a product is not easy: maybe it’s like having a son, something that grows with you and requires a effort, patient and love.

Ready to cooperate?
Let's make great things together!

Ready to cooperate?
Let's make great things together!

Ready to cooperate?
Let's make great things together!

Read my Blog
or visit my LinkedIn and Instagram profiles

Read my Blog
or visit my LinkedIn and Instagram profiles

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© 2019 Marianna De Caro