One of my main responsibilities at Synthetix was to explore solutions which would improve the experience of our users with our line of B2C products such as Live chat systems, intelligent forms and web self-service FAQs tools.
For this project I was the only product designer. I decided for a lean approach and collaborated with stakeholders, product manager and developers during focus groups and planning sessions in order to ensure outcomes were agreed and all departments involved understood our aims and directions.
Main challenges were to find a way to offer a more scalable, engaging and effective CX solution with a product capable of guiding user choices just enough to achieve better conversion and customer satisfaction while possibly reducing those margins for mistakes and doubts, without compromising though on the freedom of the user in controlling his/her interaction with the system.
Thanks to our experience within the customer service sector, extended field researches, interviews and user testing with our current line of products (ChatBots and FAQs tool mostly), we came to the consideration that our set of tools could be better integrated with each other and unified under one single intelligent tool. A solution capable of offering a better experience by guiding the users all the way during their journey while also enabling escalation to different communication platforms if needed.
Based on this assumptions we started a competitor analysis which helped us identify potential solutions and areas for improvement.
In order to be able to test our assumptions I decided to adopt the insurance industry as my work bench for this specific study. In fact, having had the opportunity previously to work closely with Esure as one of our clients, I had a good understanding of the insurance industry in terms of products and clients' needs. Our Persona was in fact a direct result of these researches and came extremely handy for the purpose of this exercise.
Based on our assumptions, I've designed a default user flow which we thought it could be then customised and enriched with more conversational interactions in order to make the experience more personal and unique. Our main hypothesis in order to achieve our outcomes were the following:
This is where I started sketching and wireframing our product - mobile first. The idea was to make sure the interface didn't look like a chat - as generally BOT tend to resemble, but still maintained the conversational feeling of a chat. This was necessary in order for the BOT not to be confuse with the actual Live Chat tool integrated within the same platform amongst all the other available escalation options.
Also, because users needed to be guided throughout the journey, but at the same time have the ability of typing questions, or starting a chat whenever needed, I opted for a burger menu with options at the bottom right hand side of the screen (close to the user thumb) which could be easily accessed at all time during the journey.
After sketching wireframes and having a clearer idea of the user flow, I started creating a digital prototype with Adobe XD. My priority at this stage was to make sure that the user was able to easily follow the flow of the BOT and potentially also find his way back to previous steps of the journey in order to change his path whenever needed.
That would have allowed in our opinion the user to be 100% in control of the journey, without though falling outside the BOT "hand-holding" process.
I decided to start prototype testing at a early stage to make sure my design decisions were safe enough before proceding to the next stage. 5 users were observed while completing specific tasks. I tested this early prototype in house with staff members from outside the dev and design teams.
Results were very encouraging, but not perfect of course:
The main issue reported was that users would not immidiately understand how to "go back" in the journey. The action wasn't clear enough.
Based on the results of my first tests, I amended the design where needed. I also felt confident that the High-fidelity prototype would have helped tackle some of the previously recorded issues. The use of brighter colours, different iconography and branding styles gave the product a visually clearer and more appealing look and feel.
In order to make the "Go back" action even clearer, I also decided to add an arrow down icon next to the previous choice in order to help the user understand that by clicking, or even dragging down from the top, they could go back in the journey.
The prototype went through a couple rounds more of testing iterations. The results showed massive improvements each time. The product was very well received by the test users in terms of ease of use, clarity and look and feel. The issues recorded also from previous tests were at this point successfully overcame and the overall experience was validated - including integrated escalation options to FAQs Search and Live Chat tools.
I tested this last stage of the prototype on 10 more people, in-house and outside the company - guerrilla testing type.
I then felt more testing was required around some of the Live Chat new features before sign off the project. This was extremely helpful in order to clarify some doubts we had regarding the new chat interface on matters like where to place the "End chat" button and how, and if allow the user to move in and out of the chat room during a live chat session.
Based on test results, option B resulted far more successful than option A:
This Intelligent BOT Assistant prototype was very well received by everyone in the team and also from some of the clients we have show it to. The prototype, which was tested ultimately on 30 people in total and took about 5 weeks to be delivered, it's currently being developed as we speak.