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IxD during a Design Thinking Sprint

This article is a review of an individual study project. The time to complete the project was only two weeks (part-time without a team). I delivered a interactive prototype of an MVP. It was a new web-platform designed for Human Resources.

During all the recent studies projects I have a concern with time. Because I used to plan the sprints during I worked as a Product Owner. Also because I knew that if I can improve my time management, I can go further in designs and take care of the details we usually couldn’t. Time seems never enough. But compare with the other recent studies projects, this one was really generous. Also, I developed it from scratch, with the sole need of being a desktop app, with all the freedoms. I realized that I had the time and freedom to do whatever I want. I saw in this project an opportunity to design interactions(IxD) inside the two weeks sprint, without neglecting any stages of Design Thinking.

The two final prototypes

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In an imaginary scenario, there is a 3-year SME enterprise that sells online sustainable clothe name it Chennai. They don’t have an HR manager, her C.E.O., Valentina, takes charge personally. Claudia is employed, and she has her opinion about the benefits she receives. (read more about the Personas creation on Appendix -1-).

I delivered the two prototypes made in Principle, so the testers can interact with it like it was a real product.

How Claudia interact with “Benefitsio” app

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If she wants to get one of the benefits, she can see the information in a list for each benefit. The list has a step by step instruction to obtain it, with text and links to slack channels. (The page can be integrated with the slack of the startup!)

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If she doesn’t feel comfortable with a benefit she can complain about it. She can rank it with emotions, and send an optional review. By default, these reviews are anonymous so the employees feel free to express what they think.

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From a button in the dashboard, Claudia can suggest a benefit to be included. If she wants to recommend a determined company she can add a link with more information. Her recommendation is anonymous by default too, but if she wants she can include her name.
If she is navigating the web and saw an idea that likes to recommend it, (as a pet nursery for example 🐈), she can use a chrome extension that opens a widget to send the suggestion directly from that web.

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How the employer manage the benefits

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She sees a dot notification every time she receives a new suggestion. She can approved or archived it(if it’s not approved) dragging to the stack she wants. Each stack is a preview of the folder. When she drags a suggestion, automatically it’s approved and moved to the correspondent folder.

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The interaction remains in each flow step. Dragging in to the right to continue with the suggestion, or to the left to discard it. As a Kanban board, she can move from column to column, stack to stack, or folder to folder. For example, Valentina has two suggestions approved. She can move the “Pet in the office” idea to the active stack, so it’s available for the employees. Is mandatory complete extra information to activate a benefit, like the step by step to obtain that benefit. So, when she activates a benefit a pop up will ask to complete the missing information.

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Valentina has approved a benefit that fits with Claudia’s needs.

The concept arises from research.

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I decide to work with Benefits management because I want an area I can explore and propose a new solution. The benefits in small start-ups are administered informally with direct dealings. Companies downplay it. But while a company going through big changes, the benefits could be very useful for “employee engagement”. Benefits management it’s a non-existent area in small companies, and there is no software related.

Managers are familiar with workflows such as Kanban

The smaller companies don’t usually have an H.R. The management of benefits is done directly by the CEO. But the most surprising was that the tools they use to manage these benefits were software that was designed for very different tasks. They write task related to maintaining benefits in Kanban boards: Asana or Trello, they even write down in Jira!

During I did comparative research, I have found some tools that are useful for getting feedback from employees such as the Leo chatbot, Office Vibe or Honestly.

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Factorial is the only H.R. web platform that includes benefit management. But with a very different approach, rather tax. The small companies are not so interested in tax saving, because the amount with few employees is insignificant.

What do Startups need?

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The benefits are valuable for the company. The benefits are a way to help and thank the employee, to improve their work experience. Helps besides to create an organizational culture, where everyone shares the same values. And they must be diverse since employees value different benefits.

C.E.O.

Growing startups need to reward their employees with personalized perks to generate an organizational culture to align with their brand.

Employees

Employees of successful startups need to select perks because they deserved a useful reward that helps their own life without ulterior motives.

At the end of the research, I started to draft the first ideas for the app. It was a kanban board that helps the Managers administrate the benefits the company give, to help find the ones that are aligned with their brand but also are useful for their employees.

The Design of both dashboard

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I had to build an MVP, to devise the app I listed the tasks I ought to include. I did a MoSCoW technique to decide, from a list of tasks I got from the interviews, which ones must be included.

I recognize I have two different users, so I include 3 main tasks for each role (detail of other tasks in the appendix -3-).

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I made a user flow to detect the main views by which to start working. First I drew hand sketches that I could test and change fast. Then I moved to the computer, with the help of the Sketch app, to design more in detail. I ran usability tests to validate the most critic design desitions.

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Employees Dashboard

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The star-ranking looks like a public review. The users got concerned about their privacy. And the dislike was too aggressive. I change the review to an emotion rank, I add the anonymous as default, and all the inputs as optional.

From the wireframe to the final design, I redesign the card layout so the main tasks could be seen with the naked eye.

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Employers Dashboard

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The proposal seemed very complex at the beginning. Most of the iterations of the design were made with a more finished quality. First I included one column of the Kanban board per page. On the top, I included a floating bar to navigate between the different pages. The bar should look like a timeline. Also, a Button let the user switch from one column to multiple columns. This design was very unintuitive for the user.

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I added a little preview of the other columns on each side. I wanted to help the user realize that a single page was part of different steps. I changed the bar from floating to a fixed one, that looks more like tab navigation. The users started to understand the flow, but they didn’t imagine they can drag and drop the cards between the columns.

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I tried other different solutions. But in the end, the prototype needed two main changes. I modified the tab navigation to an aside navigation with folders (that reminds to email software) and I add stacks cards to indicate the next and forward step.

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The users interacted intuitively with the final solution.

Next Steps

Roadmap

  • Work more in UI (Aesthetically and functionally).
  • Test deeper the interaction, focus on usability.
  • Design Stories in the backlog related to Vote & Label benefits.
  • Full integration with Slack.
  • And the flow to create users.

For Next 6 month

  • Filters and summary of similar perks requested
  • Company “areas” to apply for custom benefits only for them
  • Integrate with email services.
  • Rewards (not only perks)
  • Add more roles for management.

Conclusions of the projects

Appendix

UX personas.

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Goals

  • Align organizational culture with the values of the company.
  • Have a happy environment that encourages personal development.
  • Employees feel rewarded and proud to work harder.

Pains

  • Not all employees feel motivated by the same benefits.
  • Employees get discouraged when you reward only one of the team.

“My startup is like a family, we change the destiny of our employees impacting in their life. We want everyone to feel part of a company that is changing the world.”

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Goals

  • Get what I deserve, without having to claim it.
  • Select the perks I need, and get support for that.
  • Have interesting benefits that help my work life without take away valuable time at home.

Pains

  • The benefits seem to not be honest, are behind a goal of the CEO, and do not respond to what I want or need.

“I was a fundamental piece in the development. And they compensate me with a taco Tuesday that I really do not know if it interests me. While my boss has lunch at the restaurants she wants.”

Perks, and Rewards

This is a list of what the interviewees talked about when they said benefits.

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  • Discounts with other companies
  • Internal company events
  • Beer, Coffee. Free meals.
  • Extra money ( Bonuses and prizes)
  • Travels payed
  • Uber Free
  • We work (worldwide co-working space free)
  • Events, seminars, congresses, courses.
  • Classes in the company. (like English’s classes)
  • Day offs
  • Home office
  • Hardware, software, and elements to work
  • Healthcare
  • Pet nursery

Should & Could Features

Should

  • Vote the new perks
  • Read rules and join it
  • Add custom labels related to company goals
  • Give benefits as one-time reward
  • See suggested perks
  • Promote benefits with team on Slack

Could

  • Login with my user, and filter only my benefits
  • See other employees ideas and vote for it.
  • Create new employee
  • Create company areas to apply custom benefits
  • Send survey.
  • Statistics from ranks and surveys
  • Summary of similar perks requested
  • Filter
  • Give benefits for birthday
  • Deactivate a perk

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Escucharas muchas historias interesantes sobre mi. Ready to be a great Product Designer in your company.

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