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How can we bring a small company’s legacy lead management and data mapping systems into the present?   



Unity

Unity was first envisioned as a way to bring standardization and centralize information that was passed between calling agents at TechnologyAdvice, a technology marketing company. The goal was to move from a legacy system built in PHP to a fully Javascript app designed to integrate with external tools like Salesforce and Five9 and improve visibility into business performance. 


Role

I was the only designer on this internal dev team and conducted all research, IA, UX design, visual design, user testing, and QA testing for the product. I collaborated with a team of around eight front and back end developers and worked directly with our CTO and product manger.  

Over the course of two years I worked on many different features intended for users in different job roles including account managers, executives, and call center agents. This case study shows a few of those features and the general process that was used across the board. 



Understanding the Problem

One of our developers had created an in-house lead management system to help meet the needs of the inbound lead generation side of the business. While this system addressed many of the users’ basic needs it also left many gaps. As a result, agents, called Tech Advisors, had a large amount of influence into what their individual process looked like on a day-to-day and call-to-call basis. It became hard to define success and hard to replicate it when bringing on new team mates. Managers tried to work around these gaps by creating spreadsheets, but this often resulted in information being copied and pasted up to five times and no one knowing what information was accurate.

Unity was started with the goal of bringing standardization and scalability to the Tech Advisor team and their managers.  

Research and Inspiration

Working on this product was unique because I had direct access to users who were literally working down the hall. I would often pull up a chair and observe silently, ask questions, and conduct interviews and polls. The goal was to have users show me their existing workflows in the most natural environments. 

From user interviews and observation we narrowed down on the key features that would drive impact for the organization. These features included: 

  • dialing integration
  • call queues
  • reminder queues
  • the ability to add multiple projects to lead
  • quick access to lead contact information and interaction history
  • a standardized way to keep notes
  • dynamic information filling and limiting of copy/paste 

During this phase I also performed a landscape analysis to understand what strengths and weaknesses our team had and what products were on already the market. There were many options for creating to-do lists, contact lists, and dialers, but none that would provide the data security the company felt it needed.

Iterative Design

The next step in the process was creating hand drawn wireframes. These light prototypes were taken to users, managers, developers, and executives for feedback and testing. From these wireframes we developed an understanding of how to present information in ways that would allow users to move quickly and effectively through their daily tasks.

After hand drawn wireframes I created clickable wireframes in UX Pin to study how users would flow throughout the app. Once changes were made the next step was visual design. I designed the look and feel for what Unity would become, taking it from blank boxes to fully fleshed out components.

I recruited employees to participate in both in person and remote usability tests and designed scenarios for each participant to walk through. Through this process I learned how to position users for success when testing and how important it was to allow the user to drive the test.

Developers were also involved with each iteration. Once we felt that we were in a good place to start adding more development resources, I created user stories and worked with the team to estimated the project.



 

MVP Results &
What We Learned

During Beta and MVP I helped create training and played the lead role in collecting user feedback and filtering bugs to the dev team. During the intial roll out we heard that:

  • Users enjoyed having more insight into the leads and an easier interface to use. 
  • The agents were better able to plan out their day and move more quickly through calls.
  • Agents were frustrated with the lack of flexibility in the workflow that managers had wanted. 
  • We needed to create better reporting systems so managers could understand the impact of the new system. 

Over a quarter we tested out new features and different workflows. After looking at the amount of work it would take to continue building out this tool and the direction the business was going, we decided to move a lot of the process  into Salesforce and refocus the product team on different use cases. The lead management section of Unity was eventually retired.

Unity for Data Mapping and Management

After the LMS was retired, the dev team decided to focus on integrating with Salesforce as much as possible focus on automating things that Salesforce wasn't designed to handle. I lead the design effort again, this time working with the Account Management team. They needed tools to reduce the redundancy in their work so they could focus on supporting our clients.

Over several months I conducted discovery interviews and tested designs with this team. I also worked closely with both our front and backend developers as what I designed had deep ties to the data that drives the company. I designed tools that allowed users to map complex information, manage files, track leads, and even basic email template editing and previews. Being in constant communication with the end users throughout the process made a huge difference in the end result. The MVP of this product was released in 2017.
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