Continual release improvements and innovation

Part 5 of how I’ve introduced and helped to institutionalise UX strategy, research, and design at St John New Zealand


(“Minimum viable” project phase story below - full story in draft, but always ready to tell it over a cuppa)

It took a year and a half to get to this point, but we’re now onto our third major release including features and screens seen on this wall to be released mid-2019.

Gathering post-release design insights, be it from passive tools (e.g. conversion funnel tracking, form analysers, or site recordings) to continual usability testing and routinely monitoring the market for emergent opportunities to stay ahead of “the other sharks in the ocean”.

The work is never done though because there will always things that we got wrong or hadn’t expected, such as how simply removing the days of the week from our course search results lists resulted in our customer support call centre representatives from finding it easier to rely on physical calendars when trying to book weekend courses for customers over the phone. We still need to iterate and it’s also still largely up to me to discover these gaps through post-release user research and usability testing.

Guerilla or contextual usability testing will always be a passion for me; there’s almost no greater feeling that watching people use your product or service and seeing both their moments of excitement and frustration. I’m also actively monitoring and measuring our live website metrics and recordings from Hotjar which has enabled me to passively learn more about how people are using the site and what I need to look out for in my next moderated usability test.

Guerilla or contextual usability testing will always be a passion for me; there’s almost no greater feeling that watching people use your product or service and seeing both their moments of excitement and frustration. I’m also actively monitoring and measuring our live website metrics and recordings from Hotjar which has enabled me to passively learn more about how people are using the site and what I need to look out for in my next moderated usability test.

We’re still refining our team processes too; most notably how those of us with more of a customer and design focused background collaborate with the technical and business analysts in defining the scope, criteria, and constraints of our upcoming releases.

Our design sprints are getting more refined and collaborative as well; being able to get representatives from each department (e.g. finance, call centre, managers, me as the voice of the customer) into the room to work through the next set of problems we want to solve for our internal or external users. How might we enable customers to cancel their bookings or reschedule it for a later date?

And last but never least, going back to square one with each new business unit to understand what their users’ and customers’ needs are and what we can do to solve those pains using the digital transformation framework we’ve created together

And after nearly two years at St John NZ so far, I’m still teaching best practices and tweaking my own methods as I learn what works best for my audience and the needs at hand such as streamlining our customer journey mapping processes for each new business unit that we look to on-board into our digital transformation programme to start this whole journey over again.