How we redesigned the Vipps homepage and transformed how we work
In the end of 2021 we took on the challenge of redesigning the homepage of one of Norway’s most popular apps, and it turned out to be a bigger success than we could have ever imagined. Not only did we create a sleek and modern design that our users and merchants love, but we also transformed the way we work as a company.
But why would we want to take on the risk of redesigning a homepage that was used and loved that much? We were already rated as the most loved brand in Norway, and no users were complaining.
The north star vision
To understand how we managed to get an initiative like this prioritised we need to look at one of the key roles of design in Vipps. Designers are unique in their ability to look ahead and visualise a north star vision. We do that by asking questions like: «What future needs could we solve for our users?» and «What could it look like?». This is a powerful tool to create internal understanding, direction and excitement. In this work it became apparent that two big shifts were underway:
- We are moving from a peer-to-peer focused app to an app that is equally peer-to-business focused.
- As we expand internationally, we recognise the need to accommodate the diverse needs of local markets.
Designers want to experiment and learn fast. But in Vipps, we experienced a lot of resistance to do structural changes in the app. We spent so much time trying to make the perfect solution, and the way our organisation was rigged — even small changes required a lot of work. We had a tendency to build too much before validating what we built, and things were moving too slow.
To get started on making a future proof homepage we took the North Star vision and future challenges and actively used it get everyone onboard. We took a comprehensive approach to our redesign by hosting multiple workshops that gathered input from each product team. This allowed us to develop a solution that works for the whole organization and addresses any potential pain points. We had deep dives into the technical details with engineers to ensure that we could build and maintain it. After a bit of technical wrestling, we agreed on principles that was crucial to make the design work. The most important principles was:
- Every team must be able to add modules to the homepage
- We need to control the order and content without new app releases.
Usable by everyone, everywhere
Inclusive/universal design is a fundamental part of our design prosess, and we are super proud of the national and international awards we have received for our work in this area: DogA Innovation Award for Inclusive Design and IAUD International Design Award. Inclusive design is never “done”, and we are continuously working to make our app even more accessible. In this initiative we looked specifically at hand ergonomics, and moved the most used functions closer to the bottom to make them easier to reach. Every time we do changes like this we test the design with blind users to make sure it is easy to use for everyone, no matter their abilities.
Our users span every age and demographic in Norway and we are always thinking about how we can help everyone be part of the digital society, and make sure no one is left behind. Given our broad user base, many of whom are less tech-savvy, we knew that redesigning our app carried a significant risk of negative feedback. To minimise the risks, we used a couple of key strategies. For starters, we had been gradually moving the most frequently used functions down the page for several years, guided by a earlier north star vision. Additionally, we conducted extensive user testing, although we acknowledge that at our scale, complete certainty is impossible. We were nervous as we began gradually rolling out the redesigned app in early 2022, knowing that such changes can be risky. However, our fears were unfounded — the transition was incredibly smooth, without any major issues or pushback from users. Our north star strategy had paid off.
A new way of working
The new homepage that you see to the right in the picture above is internally referred to as the «modular home page», and the old «monolithic home page» is no more. This reflects our new way of thinking about design and how we work with product development in Vipps. Designing a great user experience is just the beginning. To truly unlock our company’s potential, we need to use design to empower every team and role within the organisation. This new framework for how to think of and work with the app is now integrated into every team and is a key part of scaling internationally. Growth and scaling is exciting but can have a negative effects on speed and autonomy. By setting clear and simple rules aimed at enabling teams, our new framework lets us maintain speed and autonomy, all while ensuring a coherent user experience.
Designing a great user experience is just the beginning. To truly unlock our company’s potential, we need to use design to empower every team and role within the organization.
Our redesign of the homepage is just the beginning of our efforts to improve the user experience and drive innovation. After shifting our focus to enabling teams to experiment fast and autonomously; Vipps teams have been running more experiments on the homepage in the last year, than in the entire history of the app. We’re already planning to use the same framework to redesign the rest of the app. By taking an experimental approach and being willing to take risks, we’ve discovered new ways to innovate and drive progress, which has transformed the way we work as a company.
Vipps teams have been running more experiments on the homepage in the last year, than in the entire history of the app.
We’re excited to see what the future holds for Vipps MobilePay as we continue to expand globally. Our redesigned homepage and the innovative design process that drove it have given us a new perspective on what’s possible. By empowering every team and role across our organization to experiment and learn autonomously, we’re confident that we can continue to unlock new value and potential for all our users. This is just the beginning of our journey, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us. So, buckle up, and join us as we rocket towards a wallet for everyone with Vipps MobilePay 🚀