Putting the client’s needs first
Managing the customer experience has, in recent years, become a real point of competition. The number of different channels and touchpoints between organizations and their customers has multiplied significantly. The larger the project or the more ongoing projects there are, the more important it is to ensure the consistency of the customer experience with systematic work and different processes. Changing needs, multiple channels in simultaneous use and different situations in which a certain service is used make things even more complex. How can you keep it together, when services are designed and developed in different teams simultaneously? To tackle this challenge, we combined our forces with Hellon to work as a framework agreement partner for HSL from early 2017 to the summer of 2018. During this time, we took part in the following projects:
- HSL’s travel card service (control of the card[s], checking the card balance, viewing card information, purchasing card balance online)
- Reittiopas and matka.fi – national routing guide services
- Improving Reittiopas after its official release (02/2017)
- Investigating and designing the walking and cycling services for Reittiopas
- The improvement and usability testing of the city bike service
- Working on the next version of HSL.fi’s new concept
- Improving the functionality of the current hsl.fi site and unifying it with Reittiopas
- Auditing and improving the content of different services with customer-oriented methods
- Application for mobility research (a white label research project in cooperation with the Transport system planning department)
All of the services we've been working on with HSL are centered around the needs of the customer. A customer doesn’t need to use HSL services per se but to move from one place to another via public transport. Digital services step into the picture when a customer wants to find out how to get somewhere, check a timetable or buy a ticket. Constant improvement, collecting customer understanding and handling and analyzing customer feedback are crucial aspects of good service design. Functionalities that receive a lot of feedback or sites that come up in searches most often are examples of potential targets for development.
Building bridges between interest groups
Since early 2017 our team has worked closely with designing multiple digital services for HSL. Our work has included everything from holistic service design to concept design and from user experience design to visual design and user interfaces. The majority of the projects have focused on the constant development of existing services (for example the further development of Reittiopas and the city bike service, the renewal of hsl.fi, and campaign sites), but with some projects, we have created the service all the way from the concept level.
At the core of all our design work at HSL has been including different interest groups as much as possible, listening to the client’s needs and securing the coherence of the customer experience in digital services. The operational environment offers some challenges because HSL services affect a large group of people and services related to public transportation provoke a lot of feelings and opinions. One good way of hearing out interest groups is to involve users in the planning process.
To develop the walking and cycling guiding routes of Reittiopas we included opinions from interest groups to better determine our most crucial goals. We used workshops, background surveys, and interviews. We then went forward with our observations by producing user stories to back up our concept design. Additionally, we have done some further concept design and planning, which can be seen in future Reittiopas functionalities in 2018.
In a traffic planning project that researches the way customers use public transport we have designed and created a web survey as a data acquisition tool. In the survey, we have used user tests to create a survey prototype and later validate and test the actual application.
In addition to projects, we have worked in order to implement consistent design practices by creating UI and UX libraries for HSL. Designing a good user interface requires consistency and predictability. The user needs to be able to trust that similar elements function in the same manner in different situations and that the same things are performed with the same elements in different places. The UI Library answers to these needs, whereas in the UX Library we have included all user interface elements used in different services and applications in a clean and coherent manner.
We also began working towards a more holistic content design approach in the fall of 2017: our service design lead and content designer started working with HSL’s communications team in order to consult and facilitate the auditing of the current content, as well as educate them on creating more customer-oriented material. The goal is to find more suitable processes and ways of working to tackle the problems with content design and management and create an editorial staff within HSL to take care of the content of their digital channels to ensure that the content is up-to-date, the tone of voice is consistent, and the content develops and evolves together with the service itself.
Our team of designers works closely with HSL’s other design partners, and with the technological solutions department of HSL. In HSL projects we have supported client representatives working in different roles, e.g. concept owners, product owners, and business owners. We have helped them prioritize and write user stories, define fragments of wholes, and facilitate discussions between development teams so that the use of different models of agile development has been possible in different project teams. Frantic has acted as a bridge-builder between design and technical development.
The work of a change agent never ends
Our cooperation with HSL has greatly improved our client’s everyday activities in a very short time. Our role can be described as one of a change agent, because we have integrated many operations models into our client’s everyday process that greatly improve the organization’s activity, especially in the long run. Prototype validation created results that couldn’t have been produced otherwise. Content has been given top priority, and the client has understood its importance in the customer experience. People from different departments of the organization communicate and work together more, and everyone works towards the same goal. Agile planning has been embedded into work practices and also brought in as a part of Scrum development. Most importantly, choices are no longer made with technique or process in mind, but the customer is always the basis of all decision-making.
Methods and technologies in a nutshell
- Analysing and defining user needs and business goals
- Determining user stories
- Co-design/co-creation workshops
- Designing customer journeys
- Concept modeling and auditing
- Conceptual prototyping and UX prototyping: from paper versions to clickable digital and fully functioning HTML prototypes
- Prototype validation with users using different interview methods (digital surveys, interest group interviews, hallway testing)
- User recruitment through different channels
- Information structure outlining
- Creating a user experience / user interface library
- Usability testing: user testing and expert testing, heuristic analysis
- Content auditing
- Angular application development
- Prioritising functionality
- Digital service design
- The coaching of design methods
- The implementation of agile development practices
- Concept design
- User experience design
- User interface design
- Visual design
- Content design
- Technical planning and execution