18F is a strategy and design agency that partners with federal agencies to build digital services and technology products that improve the user experience of U.S. Federal government agencies. This was work with the Federalist team improving a compliant web publishing and hosting service. My role was as a service design intern with 18F, working with the Federalist team.
Objective: Increase sales, increase customer understanding of the Federalist product from the sales website and identifying user issues and bugs, prior to launch. Additional research was conducted in order to inform the customer journey maps and a service design map for Federalist sales.
Challenges: Working with a team and partners based primarily in different time zones made scheduling and communication not easy. Delays in user interviews occurring due to difficult recruiting and Federal Government research restrictions. Negotiation needing to happen with the business owner of the Federalist product, in order to balance UX design, marketing and engineering. Prior to my involvement there had been limited design and research done with this team.
Process: 1. worked with the Federalist team in order to identify the vision, philosophy and values, as well as the direction and decision-making process, 2. followed market and user research to inform the product requirements, 3. create personas to define the motivations and behaviors of the users, 4. created a customer service journey map plot the use of a service overtime and identify the user "touchpoints", and 5. the creation of a service blueprint providing guidance on how service is provided through different channels.
More detailed personas were developed, based on actual customer interviews.
Research reports were quickly synthesized and included design recommendations and with detailed user satisfaction and pain points.
Team meetings to talk about the new role of design and research, within the team.
The website was redesigned, with additional iterations of design based on research findings.
Reflection: with this experience I learned more about the role of a user researcher and the importance of being an advocate on behalf of the user, while dealing with pushback. It challenged me to work harder and make compromises because not all things found in research can be acted upon (sometimes due to engineering constraints, regulations/laws or related issues). I learned that it's important as a user researcher to maintain a healthy relationship product owner and try to work hard on communication to avoid any misunderstandings. There is a way of expressing research feedback in a positive fashion, to avoid any issues with defensive behavior or misunderstandings with the product owner or manager.
Date: 2018 • Client: 18F (within United States General Services Administration G.S.A.) • Tools: Google Drive, GitHub, Sketch, OmniGraffle, Mural, InVision, OptimalSort