I currently lead design on FusionWave, a digital signage platform that simplifies content creation and management for university recreation staff across North America. The following is a breakdown of my involvement in the product from day one to its current state.
In most university recreation departments there is someone responsible for creating, managing and updating what is displayed on their TV's. Whether that person is a Facility Coordinator, Marketing Director or Marketing Assistant, they often have a lot on their plate and not enough time to get it all done. That's where FusionWave comes in. We built this product to automate tedious tasks and make content creation intuitive for the less tech-savvy user.
In August 2020, a team of developers, stakeholders, a graphic designer, and myself took part in a virtual design sprint to explore this new product idea for our company. Near the end of the sprint, I compiled our top ideas into testable prototypes for further inquisition via zoom calls with a select group of clients. These calls helped us define the vision for the product and gauge the validity of the product concept.
Once the product had the official go-ahead, I began conducting regular user interviews with a group of clients in our user group. These clients were our "SIG" (Special Interest Group) for the remainder of the product launch. The insights from these conversations helped my team gain empathy for the end user by better understanding their wants and needs.
By conducting an audit of the many potential features our stakeholders brainstormed during a product kickoff workshop, I was able to identify some trends. One of the most profound trends was that all of their feature ideas could be supported through the implementation of a 3-panel grid. After testing this direction with the SIG and stakeholders, I coined what became the first product design principle for Wave, "structured flexibility", which aims to give users creative autonomy within constraints that maintain visual best practices.
Over the course of many months, I ideated through journey maps, user flows, sketches and prototypes for the admin CMS (Content Management System). Piece by piece, we added features on top of one another to arrive at the product we have today.
As the designs were progressing and more development resources were allocated to the product, I began meeting with the devs regularly. I hosted a "Dev/Design Connect" each Tuesday morning so that our teams could stay aligned as we built the rest of the product. In addition to our recurring meetings in the calendar, we also had impromptu calls whenever there was something to discuss. This sometimes meant adjusting designs so that they would work within the constraints they outlined or ideating new solutions together.
Up until June 2021, any thought regarding the visual identity of the product was minimal. The main reason being that the entire company was rebranding and I hadn't yet received the new brand package. As a result, it was up to me to decide the initial visual direction for the product.
To make the future transition as seamless as possible I chose to keep the visual identity of the CMS quite minimal. Once we received the branding assets, the design team and I ideated around its implementation in Wave and how we could maintain consistency across the rest of the products in our suite.
Keeping the components in the UI Kit up to date became a regular part of my process as we moved into higher fidelity designs.
Testing my designs with end users throughout all stages of the design process was integral to creating a delightful user experience. Almost every week I conducted some form of test with the support of the Business Analyst, Lead Developer, and a Junior Designer. In total, I conducted 81 tests in 2021, with each test taking our team one step closer to creating a brilliant product. We used Miro to collaboratively note-take and compile our key findings during each round of testing.
As we continued to build the product, it was important that we kept our persona's up to date to ensure we were always designing with the end user in mind. That is why I set it as an internal design goal to evaluate the accuracy of our key persona's quarterly by conducting additional user interviews.
In September 2021, we officially launched the product and started implementations for many schools. In the following months I got the pleasure of sitting in on product demos to hear the initial reactions of new clients and take note of their questions. To this date, new features are constantly being designed, tested and added to the product.
Of course, no project is successful without a team of talented collaborators, and I had the pleasure of working with some of the best!