On October 3, 2016 our product and engineering teams released a new version of the OLX mobile app for iOS and Android. This new version not only contained performance improvements but also included new features and new interface
Creating a completely new experience is no easy task. With almost ten years of legacy design and development, we had to find a process to help us make sense and prioritize what we needed to do.
The goal of design research is not to do research for it’s own sake. The point is to make sure everyone working towards the goal is benefitting from a collective understanding of the problem. It doesn’t matter how much research you do if the people who have acquired the most knowledge write a report and move on.
Erika Hall in her amazing talk emphasised the importance of doing research early in the project to help set direction. Though OLX is no stranger to UX, I’m the first one to admit that our research processes we’re in need of an overhaul.
Our newly re-formed UX research team became crucial in laying down the ground work for the rest of the project. We needed to get a clearer picture of where we are and how our users see our apps. We started with interview, lots and lots of interviews. We grabbed as much info from what parts of the apps they used, how they used the apps to their motivations behind using OLX.
While our interviewers tried to fish as much information from our users, the rest of the team stayed in another room observing the session. This not only allowed us to grab even more insights from multiple observers but was crucial in making sure the entire team was on the same page and easing collaboration later on.
After two weeks of interviews, we’d amass enough information to begin analysis. Instead of relying purely on one team to piece together a recommendation we invited people from our engineering, product and design teams to help us create a customer journey map based on their observations.
This design artifact allowed us to find pain points in our old customer experience giving us clarity on which areas we needed to prioritize and create immediate design solutions. It became the main guide for us to ground our ideas during our following ideation sessions.
In most cases before, this would be the only time when the engineers and designers would be involved in the UX process. This would usually end up in long ideation sessions and a battle of opinions.
Having gone through most of the interview and analysis together as a team , ideations we’re a lot swifter and more agile this time around. Instead of battling ideas, the team was now building on each other’s ideas.
It was within these ideation sessions that we we’re able focus on three feature themes for the next legs of of our design and development sprints. These are the Interest feed, A quicker faster Sellform and better user Profiles.
Iterations Iterations Iterations…
These is where a huge bulk of our time as UI designers we’re spent, iterations. All in-all we probably had three iterations of varying complexity.
A couple of things I learned from this face was finding the right fidelity for and designing for those in-between experiences. There we’re often these small little details that happened in between screens, micro-interactions you can say that normally we’d just gloss over in our prototypes but ended up becoming crucial detail.
Something that became apparently clear as well in this stage was the importance of aligning after every testing day. After every test we’d gather up in a room and discuss what we all saw, this helped us build and testiterations faster so because we discussed findings right away and it also helped create transparency.
Aligned we stand
In the end we we’re able to release a new version of the mobile apps (iOS and Android) within 1 or two months (I can’t really remember) which was pretty fast. These we’re almost complete overhalls of processes and we we’re able to go through development pretty quick mostly because we aligned things well at the start.
If its one big learning I got from this project was starting things right with everyone aligned on the right things helps make the project smoother and faster.