The TU Go service puts your phone number in the cloud so you can use it on any device using Wi-Fi, to contact any phone number. Log in to the app on iOS, Android, or desktop using a compatible browser, and you can call, text and view your communication history without the need for network coverage, or even your own phone. TU Go is available from O2 in the UK and from Movistar and Vivo in LATAM and has well over 1M users per month running 44M sessions.
I led the team of 3 designers tasked with designing the web client for the TU Go service. A fresh design approach was needed to exploit the affordances of greater screen estate and richer input methods of the desktop context. The design also had to accommodate the limitations of delivering functionality within in a web browser. With very basic personas and an MVP spec supplied by Product and just a 2 week window to deliver design to a Development kick-off, generating a robust framework design was a tough challenge. Rather than applying a rigid design process and using specific tools, I’m a strong advocate for using whatever methods move things along. In this spirit, there was as much innovation in design process as in the design itself.
The initial UX framework design process was characterised by deep and wide exploration of the design window to ensure that we encountered the obstacles and opportunities there and designed for them. It also ensured that designs were considered and evaluated as openly and objectively as possible and that the team developed the ability and vocabulary to discuss why certain designs worked and others didn’t - always important when presenting design solutions to stakeholders, but particularly so when they are remote - the Product and Development teams we were working with were spread between Tel Aviv, Barcelona and Madrid.
The first artefacts the design team produced included:
• Outline usage contexts to contextualise design
• Design Principles to focus concepting
• Use Cases to exercise the designs
Worked up UX frameworks were collated with description and discussion in a review presentation for the Product team with 2 recommended candidates - a conservative approach along the lines of the tablet client and a more radical approach tailored to the affordances of the desktop browser. Description and discussions of the alternatives ensured Product stakeholders were assured that we had explored the design window thoroughly and deeply enough to come up with robust solutions and ensured the design team were able to address alternative suggestions from the Product team with authority and confidence.
With limited time and wanting to avoid getting bogged down with designing at too high a level of visual fidelity, we constructed paper prototypes of the 2 candidate designs - quick to produce and easy to change - and made stop-motion videos of the key use cases for each candidate to bring the designs to life for the remote Product and Development teams. The Product team agreed with the Design team and the more radical approach was selected as the way forward.
One of the paper prototypes...
With a framework selected, we then moved to delivering detailed interaction and visual design specifications as part of the agile team working with remote developers. We invested time with developers to define the most expedient means of specifying design what the criteria should be to determine whether a user story was ready to be taken into a sprint - the ‘Definition of Ready’ to facilitate delivery. User testing with an early implementation achieved a 98.75% task completion rate and got very positive feedback from users.