To help their users make informed decisions about their investment funds Friends Provident International made the decision to develop a mobile 'fund tracker' application for financial advisers and individual investors. The app provides access to the latest fund prices and historical fund data and allows users to search and filter information according to their current policies and future plans.Having developed an initial proof of concept demo site, FPI wanted to gain expert observations and best practice recommendations on the app’s front-end design, navigation and user interactions, which would be used to guide development of the application.
To ensure FPI could gather as many actionable recommendations as possible in a short period of time, Box UK’s User Experience (UX) consultants conducted a 1-day workshop at the organisation’s offices. In order to get the most from the face-to-face contact the UX team spent time prior to the visit reviewing the proposed user interface for the app and mapping out the proposed Information Architecture (IA). Insights from an earlier Discovery workshop were also analysed, and combined with competitor research and industry best practice observations to provide notes that could be used to guide discussion.
The workshop involved members of FPI’s internal development team, and was broken down into 2 sessions looking at the site’s IA and user interface separately, to ensure that the users’ needs for each were considered independently and not clouded by other considerations.
Having identified some unnecessary complexity in a number of the key user journeys, the IA session focused on getting the developers to focus on the user requirements in addition to business requirements, by talking through the user needs, motivations and constraints as identified in the previous Discovery workshop. A new site structure was created using a low-fidelity card-sorting exercise, ensuring everybody could contribute to and agree on the final IA.For the user interface session the sketchboard approach was employed; this is a low-fidelity, collaborative and rapid way of generating and refining ideas, which perfectly suited the workshop’s time constraints and need for developer buy-in on the designs.
The collaborative workshop ensured that key IA and interface decisions for the application were agreed upon prior to development commencing, and by including developers in the design process FPI achieved buy-in and also got their team to really consider the user needs.
By rapidly iterating and refining ideas the client was able to take away expert recommendations for improvement that very day, covering various aspects of the app's design and structure including the visual hierarchy of content, form elements and navigation menus.