Banjo Robinson — UX Case Study
Banjo Robinson is a child’s first pen-friend whose role is to get children to embrace literacy from an early age. He helps children to enjoy reading and writing and he’s also a cat!
The client brief
3 major areas of their website that needed to be looked into:
- Make sure that the potential new users understand how the product works
- Improve the collection of user details for the letter personalisation and make it engaging
- Enhance parent/guardian’s engagement so to make sure that they regularly fill in a Post Scriptum (or PS) message used for the letter personalisation
The key requirement was to increase the current conversion rate and have a higher percent of parents submitting the PS message.
While overlooking the whole project as a team member, my main role was:
- user interviews
- user research synthesis
- prototype testing
- implementation of the final Hi-Fi wireframes and prototype
I also actively participated in the Design Studio workshop and supported my team in generating valuable ideas for implementing the solution.
Our team used the following UX tools to implement the solution:
Screener Survey | User Interviews | Competitive Analysis | Affinity Mapping | User Persona | Storyboarding | User Journey | User Flow | Design Studio | Wireframing | Usability Testing.
Google Forms | Marvel | Adobe Photoshop | Figma | Google Slides.
UX Methodology and Planning
My team was formed of 4 members and used Scrum to update each other on the progress and work to do.
Kick-off meeting with the client
Following a quick analysis of the current website and the brief I went with my team to meet the client to gain more insight about the project.
- Gained a better understanding of the client infrastructure and its limitations
- Clarified their target audience and the type of users who would buy the service subscriptions
- Learned about their delivery plan for the subsequent upgrades
- Confirmed that they would prefer a mobile-first implementation, since the vast majority of their website traffic comes from mobile devices
- Further clarified the expected onboarding functionality and the importance of the Post-Scriptum (PS) messages that needs to be filled by the parents before receiving each letter
Since no user research was ever done and the client did not have any exposure to UX design before we decided to utilise the double-diamond process:
The scope was based on the brief, and then later reviewed through several iterations, after the client meeting and after the user research findings.
1. Discover: Research
Initial Usability Testing
It was curious to see people’s reaction when using the current version of Banjo Robinson website, both on the phone and on laptop, so a decision was taken to conduct an initial usability testing.
People’s behaviour was analysed and the observations were synthesised into an affinity map alongside with the interview outcome.
Banjo Robinson is a unique offering and does not have direct competitors, however we decided to investigate similar service offerings in non-direct competitors and we focused on 4 of them: Switch Fix, Kiwi Co, Butternut box, and Toucan Box.
- The key strengths of Banjo Robinson service is the rich personalisation and the fact that it is an educational product
- On the other hand, the current onboarding process is rather long and tedious, and it is made of a large number of steps
With my team I created a screener survey to collect information about the potential audience and find volunteers to interview.
32 people responded to our survey, and here are the most relevant questions and related stats:
- Would you consider a subscription-based present?
- Do you have children?
- Have you heard of Banjo Robinson — the PenPal subscription service for children?
9 people accepted to be interviewed. A list of registered users willing to be interviewed was also provided by Banjo Robinson’s Team.
- I prepared 2 sets of separate questions for registered and unregistered users
- I interviewed 4 users on the phone and in person, while my other teammates interviewed 5 more users
2. Define: Research Synthesis
The result was synthesised into an affinity map, where 9 insight groups emerged from the research.
We decided to concentrate on 5 main areas.
Users were confused for example by the Post Scriptum (PS) message, 5 out of 9 said that they could not figure out what was happening to the letters written by the child.
2. Data Collection
The main concern for users was security and data collection: 7 out of 9 interviewees were really uncomfortable to the idea of providing their child personal details.
Users also mentioned that they have already many commitments related to the kids education.
4. School Involvement
Users would be happier if the service was to be endorsed by schools.
There were also some suggestions that 2 users made about the product, and in particular with the educational offering.
Following up from our user research results we decided to create an archetype of our user in the form of a persona, Joanna.
Joanna, 38, London, Manager
Joanna is a manager at her local retail bank in Wimbledon. She lives with her husband, Peter, and their two children, Tom, aged 8 and Kelly, aged 5.
- Spend time with her kids
- Develop kids’ learning so that they can prepare for the next year at school
- Too much technology distracting kids
- Other educational commitments
- Not enough time for everything!
Joanna’s goals start to materialise when she meets her friend Bethany, who recommends Banjo Robinson as a possible way to achieve her objectives.
Joanna’s journey is represented as follow:
3. Develop: Ideation Phase
A couple of days before the design studio workshop I woke up in the middle of the night, as if the solution was tapping on my shoulders.
Rather than staring at the ceiling and rolling on the bed trying to get back to sleep, I grabbed my notebook and started to quickly jot down my ideas.
I noted down 3 pages of potential solutions, one of which can be summarised as… it would be Banjo asking for the child details!
The main idea was that, by having Banjo Robinson dealing with the detail requests, we could immediately create a strong emotional bond between the user/parent and Banjo the character.
Design Studio Workshop
Excited by my intuition I went with my team to the client premises, where we conducted a fruitful Design Studio workshop.
The brainstorm session lasted two hours and saw a group of 10 attendees (4 of us from GA and 6 from team Banjo Robinson) actively participating to the workshop, going broad with a lot of ideas and potential solutions!
All ideas were then converged into the following 5 main points:
- The landing page would have a video that explains how the service works
- The payment process would be simplified
- Banjo Robinson character would be used at any given opportunity
- A chat-like implementation would be used to collect the child details and continuous feedback would be given to the service subscriber
- A greater emphasis would be given to the Post Scriptum message that users need to provide in order to keep their child or children engaged, including an email reminder to be sent a week in advance the delivery of the letter
The outcome was then synthesised in the “happy path” user flow, divided in 5 sections:
4. Deliver: Ideas Implementation
The proposed implementation started with sketching some paper wireframes and then turning them into a clickable prototype using Marvel.
The prototype was then tested with 9 users and the feedback received from each user iterated through the Mid-Fi prototype using Figma.
Usability test results:
All the user testing result were synthesised and implemented for subsequent iterations. Below is a small sample of comments collected from the users and how they were addressed:
“BUY NOW button feels rather aggressive…”
“There is no back button!”
This gave me the confidence that we were on the right track. The iterations helped us to get through to a more solid Mid-Fi prototype.
Mid-Fi and Hi-Fi prototypes
Changes that were made at this stage following the user testing sessions include:
An additional 3-month subscription package was added to the initial 2 packages. All are now are accessed through a carousel-type selector.
In every single screen the top navigation bar and back button were added, so to allow the user to access all the web site areas. In the payment screen, the shipping address was added for clarity.
The progress bar for the purchasing process gives feedback to the user. In the order summary a clear and concise message is given to the user about collecting details for personalising the letter to the child.
The data collection for the personalisation would display in a progressively disclosing form that would look like a chat.
The feedback received from the test users was very positive, and they say that this is an engaging experience. However several users wanted to make sure that they could both save and amend each detail value added. As the user enters the value and click next, the information is saved and can be re-edited after accessing the subsequent form field.
In the personalisation section, users were getting frustrated about the fact that the feedback wasn’t enough. A progress bar was added at the top of the “chat” so to keep the user informed.
Outcome Results & Next Steps
Despite the relatively short timeframe given for developing the solution all the requirements set in the client brief were implemented.
My team and I presented the work to the Banjo Robinson team, and their feedback was very positive. Following the presentation we debriefed two members of the client team. That allowed us to go more into the details of how our proposed solutions work and what the next steps to further improve the design could be.
With some additional time and further research and development, 3 other improvement could be implemented:
- A point based system for the PS, so that for those users that were effectively committing to write the Post Scriptum messages the reward should be granted after a certain amount of PS were posted
- An alternative and quick child personalisation form with a much more limited amount of details to provide to Banjo Robinson
- A tracking page to report the delivery progress from the time the user sign in, post the PS and receives the physical letter
I immediately realised that the short timeframe given would have been a big challenge. In fact, with my experience as a Scrum Master, I was well aware that a two-week sprint was rather a short time for implementing such a complex solution that touches large portions of the current client website.
My team and I formed a very cohesive and well rounded group. We worked on the different strengths that each individual could bring to the table.
I felt comfortable going out interviewing people, and by leading with empathy, I could easily pinpoint user’s frustrations and highlight their expectations.
It was exciting taking part in the Design Studio workshop, iterate with stakeholders, and see where their expectations were overlapping with those of their users. It was personally gratifying realising that, during the workshop, my ideas were positively acknowledged by the client.
As a team we managed to extract values from all research and design activities and put that value back into a solution that allowed us to achieve all the planned objectives.
Seeing the client enthusiastic reaction to our presentation and during the debrief was very rewarding and that has made me really looking forward to the next challenge!
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