For the last year we’ve been redesigning Which? Reviews and Advice. From the beginning we made it our mission to understand users and provide an experience that truly supports their needs and exceeds their expectations.
We are involving our users throughout the design process to ensure that we:
- make the right thing
- make it in the right way
- travel in the right direction
1. Making the right thing
To find out what we should build, we started by talking to users, lots of our users. We wanted to find out how people go about choosing products; what difficulties they encounter; where we are currently serving them well and where we could serve them better.
User centred decision making
To really get under the hood and understand those behaviours and needs, we undertook a comprehensive user research project involving diary studies and one to one interviews with people who were in the process of choosing.
From the insights we gathered, we were able to create an experience map showing the path people take to choosing, owning and buying products, and the needs they have along the way.
By looking at areas in the journey where people have a significant need, this enabled us to see how we currently support people, and where there are gaps to fill.
Using the experience map we ran a 3-day immersive workshop, where people from across Which? could put themselves in the shoes of our users, and uncover opportunities where we could help people the most. We came up with lots of opportunities and ideas, and then identified those opportunity spaces where Which? could truly add value.
After many rounds of ideation and prioritisation, we arrived at a clear vision and a roadmap for Reviews and Advice.
2. Making it the right way
Once we had agreed what we were building, we had to make sure that we delivered something that works well.
From talking to members, we uncovered insights about the overall experience people expect from Which?. We used these insights to generate a set of experience principles. These principles are used throughout to guide all of our decisions and keep us focussed on the customer.
Having talked to users early, we wanted to involve users often, testing our ideas at every opportunity. Working in two-week sprints, we had get the balance between speed of delivery and quality. This presented us with a number of challenges: How can we remain nimble whilst getting solid user feedback? What fidelity should our prototypes be? How often should we test?
To stay nimble we had to build prototypes quickly and have a rapid turn around in user feedback. We couldn’t wait two weeks for a report, so we tested with fewer people, involved the whole team in the testing, and gave a debrief the next day to capture the most pressing changes. Rather than rework the prototype, we often made those changes directly in design, working together to sketch and implement quickly.
Get the right fidelity
We built prototypes in a number of ways, from clickable wireframes to working prototypes. Both routes had benefits and drawbacks: clickable wireframes enabled us to test early and change direction relatively cheaply, whereas the built prototypes provided feedback on the visual aesthetic and interactions.
Make time to test and iterate
At first we tried to run user research in every sprint. We found that this left little time to implement changes. So we adapted our approach and set up tests as and when we needed to, giving us enough time to recruit, build the prototype and test a range of features in one session.
3. Travelling in the right direction
Now that we have released the new design in a few key areas of the site it’s just the beginning of the story. We are getting great feedback from our users, in quantities large enough to identify where we can add most value in our future iterations.
Find out what we have learned so far and how we are iterating on the new Reviews design.
So what next?
We’re listening to our users and observing behaviour via Google Analytics and our Voice of the Consumer surveys. We’re working away quietly in the background, making improvements based on what our users have been telling us and will be releasing these incrementally in the next few months.
You can also see the new design for yourself at http://www.which.co.uk/tv-and-home-entertainment
Share your experience
We’re really interested to know if you have had similar experiences, and share ideas about user centred design an agile development environment.