UI & UX DESIGN

Connect

The Project

FUNCTION – Lead UX/UI Designer

CLIENT – French Investment Bank

TIMING – May 2018 to May 2020

TYPE – Intranet Responsive Desktop Website

TOOLS – Sketch, Sketch Measure, GitLab, Trello

Connect - Colors

The first social network developed internally by the bank for its employees.

Connect is a social platform that aims to connect employees around communities and topics, in order to share discussions and knowledge.

This project was designed within a French investment bank.

All data are here anonymized.

PROCESS

The idea

The idea for this project was born during an internal ideation campaign organized at the end of 2017.

The aim of the campaign was to identify needs and services to improve the daily lives of employees, with the target of digital transformation of the bank.

After selection by a jury and the support of an internal sponsor,

a budget has been allocated to create a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of the product in a “Digital Factory“.

A core team was set up for the realization, where the Designer plays a vital role in the success of the project.

Other essential satellite participants accompany us:

  • A panel of first users (early adopters), about ten at the beginning and then quickly more than a hundred.
  • Members of the Communication, Human Resources and Legal departments.

The conception

Before the start of the Agile development sprints, we performed the conception and design of the solution, over a period of about 6 months (in part-time).

Co-construction workshops (Design Thinking) allowed us to define the scope of the project in MVP mode, according to the budget and the timing:

  • Personas
  • Storymapping & User Journey Map
  • Knowing all of the technical aspects (target platform, front & back-end technologies, simple access via SSO…)

We planned 2 workshops with all the core team, satellites and early adopters to refine the needs and global functionalities, and then many more specific exchange points per functionality, in smaller committees.

Members of Human Resources, Communication and Legal checked the tool’s compliance and its respect for the company’s ethics.

A crucial subject had to be addressed concerning data confidentiality, content moderation and GDPR.

The sprints

Once the development started, demos were regularly planned during the sprints.

An open format with free access to share the progress of the project with transparency and receive a maximum of feedback.

The frequency of one week-long sprints made it possible to maintain a regular deployment of new functionalities, to quickly test the tool and to proceed with the interface evolutions in iterative mode.

This requires a good cohesion of the core team and a respect for the rhythm of the Agile methodology.
The Scrum Master must be as precise as a clock!

A beta was launched in early 2019 to expand the circle of early adopters (already 400 members after this launch).

At the same time, an internal newsletter Connect was created.

It is an additional communication relay to make the tool known and encourage testing, and to communicate some key indicators that are expanding to generate interest and boost adoption.

The official production launch took place in May 2020.

DESIGN

The workflow

During the design period I ran a methodical workflow: benchmark & inspiration, wireframing then interface mockup.

It’s interesting to have this margin for the design phases, because often we have little design and creation time between the start of the development sprints and the delivery of the final interface elements.

We opted for a 3-column layout, very close to the social networking tools of the moment.

This feature already used by most of us is therefore familiar and reassuring. It will facilitate the adoption of this new tool.

A UI Kit has been created under Sketch, in a shared library in order to work more easily in a collaborative way.

The bank’s guidelines are the graphic base, with the addition of specific codes needed for the tool and the creation of an identity logotype. The mockups are subject to validation by the Communication department.

During the sprints, a close contact is established with the developers in order to control the front-end integration and refine the interaction design.

The evolution

Over time new ideas have emerged to add functionality and innovation to Connect :

  • Job Shadowing : Organization of “Live my life” sessions, to discover other jobs and make people discover their own.
  • Survey : Creation of surveys.
  • Private Communities : Creation of private communities.
  • Session : Creation of invitations for events.
  • Admin Panel : Administration screens and indicators.
  • And many other ambitions such as Gamification…

I had to call on a second Designer to help me and parallelise the UX and UI creation of some of these modules.

My role was to continue to design the major evolutions and supervise the team on the planning aspects, as well as the overall consistency of the user experience and graphic codes.

The user experience

An adapted and unified user experience is one of the keys to success in order to guarantee the adoption of these new tools and uses.

As a Designer it is important to always be focused on our target audience, who is our product aimed at and why?

In our case, it is all the bank’s employees, people of different generations with varying levels of appetence for new uses on digital interfaces.

The tool must be accessible and provide fluidity of use.

Even if a “simple” and well thought-out UX can dispense us with a user guide, it is relevant to accompany new users through the change.

For example, by organizing acculturation sessions in person or online, or by disseminating tips on the tool in a dedicated community.

This is where the Community Manager comes in, an indispensable role to play in moderating and animating this type of tool on a daily basis.

OUTCOME

Champagne!

A collaborative success!

This is a great achievement that went off without a hitch.

It is partly thanks to a smooth collaboration between all the stakeholders and overall motivation for this innovative project in an investment bank.

It’s a real pleasure to have been able to witness the genesis of the project during the ideation campaign in 2017, until it goes into production in 2020.

Co-constructing and shaping all these ideas by creating a digital experience that perfectly meets the initial demand is one of the Designer’s objectives.

An experience that is now used and appreciated every day by the collaborators, that’s a great reward.

What we can observe is that there is a huge potential and expectation to have this kind of innovative and unifying tools.

The feedback is very positive, after 16 months of use:

  • 180 communities created
  • 2700 posts
  • 4750 users logged on at least once

A very good start!

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