Sometimes the hardest things to create are the tools for yourselves. That was the situation U.S. Cellular was facing when we were brought in to help them create a single intranet that would incorporate several disparate resources that already existed. We spent some time learning about their company culture and their priorities and learned that their ultimate goals was improved customer satisfaction. This intranet was a means to enable employees to give customers a better experience.
Client: U.S. Cellular | Company: MU/DAI | Role: Design Research Lead & Design Oversight
We spent our initial time learning about their company culture and their priorities through stakeholder interview. We interviewed a variety of department leads to understand their upcoming priorities and the unique needs of their department. This information helped us develop our goals and guides for the upcoming research we were to conduct with representative employees.
We spent two weeks visiting difference offices across three states to get different perspectives. We talked to customer service, tech support, accounting, retail and business development. At each location they invited us in and openly shared their processes and stories. We saw numerous workarounds and post-its with essential information to make they tools work for them. The resiliency of employees is always amazing to see as they will make any system work, usually because they don’t have a choice. But, we could and should do better for them, especially if customer satisfaction was on the line.
Our most important work on this project was taking what we learned in the field and helping the stakeholders build empathy for the different employees. In our research report we told the employee stories succinctly but passionately. We helped envision what it was like to be in customer service trying to keep a customer happy while frantically looking for the answer to their question. We built up compassion for the retail associate juggling systems, product packaging and customers questions.
As we began to explore how the intranet should be organized, we wanted to make sure our stakeholders felt included in the decision making process. We started our information architecture phase with an analysis of the current resources and the different categories of information. Then, we help a workshop with our stakeholders to develop logical groupings for these categories. Finally, we mapped both the existing experience and the proposed new information architecture.
As we moved into designs, we wanted to ensure that the client team could champion our designs when we weren’t in the room. We developed a design hierarchy and organized all of our design batches around it to reinforce the concept. When presenting our initial wireframes we referenced their existing resources so that they clearly understood where the content for each page currently resided. I worked with my teammate Diba Salimi to create the concepts and initial wireframes.
We moved from wireframes to visual design, working with another team member Patrick Futtner. We applied visual design to the keys screens and developed a style guide. The project wrapped for our team once the designs phase was complete and out stakeholders carried this forward with their implementation partner.