What if we could take the manual process of customer onboarding and automate it to put the process in the hands of our customers? How would that look different for new versus existing customers? How would we guide them so they know how to make complex integrations? Can we leverage work done with Payments & Account Management and incorporate that into a holistic product experience starting with onboarding?
Avero was beginning to understand the relevance of design and the importance of involving design thinking in our overall product strategy. In the past, considering the company had been around for 20 years, the product experience had layers of manual processes and the ability to think about it as a clean slate was never a reality. But, now there was a window of opportunity with COVID that would allow us to maintain our infrastructure and protect the integrity of our core offering but still have room for development and progress. I set out to bring give that vision life and bring it all together - from onboarding, to global navigation, to data insights, to product experience.
Build a product experience strategy to pave the path to a free product offering and new product onboarding process with modernized navigation.
This was a little different project than the others I have outlined. I didn’t yet have a dedicated team, I didn’t have developers, and I didn’t have a clear project brief. In fact, this all started with a conversation between myself and the senior leadership team in which they conveyed a desire for things to be done differently and for us to push the envelope of innovation. So, I set out to think at a high level about the direction of our product experience and design strategy as it relates the future of Avero.
When I begin to dig into it, the best place to start was getting a perspective of the current product experience and map out the future vision as it relates to the existing framework. I worked side-by-side with the VP of Product as he had done some thinking around the installation process, and also with the Director of Engineering who was thinking about our Account Management system with the team that was revamping the billing process. The work that was done in these two areas informed how I was thinking about the overall product experience and I started to tie things together.
Through my research and discovery, there was one glaring area that I saw as a quick win that would allow me to get development efforts allocated to the enhancements and immediate value to the customer. And that was exposed through a diagram of our existing “Settings” menu. Confusing, convoluted, inconsistent - it was an easy sell to all key stakeholders, but I did it in stages.
I broke down the existing structure, used that as a guiding document to expose inadequacies. I then met with the core executive team to walk them through the tiered product experiences and how we needed to address settings and navigation in a more robust way. Then I began to refine the UI and the enhancements that would be made - first proposing a iterative approach to development that would be able to be addressed by the existing resources we had.
One of the reasons I dove in head first into this project and was able to show the importance was because COVID had forced the business to deliver a free product tier that would allow existing customers to continue to use our product in a scaled back, free way. The company had furloughed all but 7 people and when I was brought back on, I was told that we had a new tier and they had made the decisions just to hide all other functionality. As you can imagine, from a UX perspective this experience was excruciating. Just a peeled down, empty navigation - with limited features, no communication and no uniformity. My heart sank. So, the work I was doing around the overall product experience strategy allowed me to address the issue of the tier product experience that would still allow the user experience to be robust and interesting enough to engage our users to use our product in the way it was intended as well as bring value worth paying for.
We are now to the point that we are looking forward, beginning to hire more engineers again, building new features rather than just maintaining, and the road has been paved for this work to take shape. I have moved forward with planning for a design team structure (ask me more about this) and scale that will allow us to execute on this product strategy. I have completely converted the product development teams to collaborate using Figma, Miro, Confluence, and Jira. I have integrated a Design QA process for the first time that will allow for some accountability and scale in the design and development efforts. And, we are now ready to execute against this vision. Stay tuned, because if this happens - we can only hope that we come out of this difficult time during COVID and bring restaurants and hotels around the world the data and insights they need to recover and thrive!
*Please note that all assets are intentionally less visible/details as this is a strategic project. Please get in touch with me to discuss details and understand the extent of this project and the responsibilities that I had.