We're living through some of the most challenging times ever. How we live, work, and interact with one another has completely changed.
The team at Deloitte Digital approached us with a problem that everyone is experiencing in these unprecedented times. Due to COVID-19, our existence has been altered as we resort to physical distance to ensure safety. Many establishments that would normally operate face-to-face are now exclusively virtual, and by the looks of it, we can expect a future that is at least partially virtual.
This capstone project is the result of three months of hard work in partnership with Deloitte Digital. We were tasked with coming up with a solution to a prevalent issue, and carried out the project from initial research and ideation all the way through to a final high-fidelity product that solves the initial problem. This process included research, interviews, protoypes of various fidelities, usability tests, and a final design and presentation.
This project won us best in class as voted on by a panel of judges and a prize of $3,000 from Scotiabank's innovation fund.
Video created by my teammate Fahim Shahriar, you can find his work here
Market & Competitive Analysis
To kick off our research stage, we conducted a competitive analysis to determine what was already being done and to help us discover where there was opportunity. These are some of the companies that we looked into in order to better understand the competitive landscape.
There were a few important things that we noted from our competitive matrix. Firstly, none of the above products took all of the features into account. And second, we identified a clear opportunity space surrounding the "social aspect" (by this we meant the casual social interactions that happen in the office but are missing when working from home).
The formative research stage contained a three-part approach to research. First, a review of articles surrounding the problem area and market was compiled. Following this, five formal participant interviews were conducted with participants at Deloitte Digital and GHD. Using these findings we developed a user persona that addressed the major pain points and unmet needs of the problem space. For a full breakdown of our research see the PDF at the bottom of this page.
The following five themes emerged after conducting our interviews:
1. The ability to have social interactions
Participants expressed the importance of regular and consistent social interactions at and outside of work. Social interactions included relationship building between co-workers and clients, and include anything from bumping into one another in the hallway to organized social events such as trivia nights.
2. The pros and cons of structure
Participants realized benefits from work-from-home, including regular team meetings with defined outcomes and the ability to organize one's daily schedule around work (think folding laundry, for example). Contrarily, participant found several negative experiences as a result of structured work, such as fatigue from extensive meetings and the inability to voice themselves in structured online meetings.
3. Engagement with stakeholders
In the past, workers would have the opportunity to conduct workshops and other activities with stakeholders in person and using facilities within reach, such as whiteboarding. As a result of work-from-home, it has become increasingly difficult to involve stakeholders in the design process.
4. Constant availability
Immediate physical access to work as a result of work-from-home results in an overwhelmingly negative experience. Participants mentioned that it's difficult to distinguish times of work and personal time at home.
5. Essential tools
Participants used a variety of tools as necessary to complete their assigned work. Tools used seemed to be scattered and not easily accessible when they are needed. In addition, tools do not exist to better the facilitation of social interactions in a work-from-home environment.
Prioritized Pain Points
Design Interventions & opportunities
Using the prioritized pain points as described above, unmet needs emerged and presented opportunities for design interventions. Using the data collected, we listed a series of opportunities with their respective features.
A design team and client portal. Consultants can invite clients to join and collaborate
Features: the ability to share files and leave comments/feedback, ability to join live calls where files are presented centrally in an interactive “shared screen” mode where clients and consultants can make notes directly on files (screen drawing tool), ability to whiteboard while directly in calls to facilitate workshops, links to client zoom meetings, calendar invites and other team links, an indication of who is speaking.
Opt-in to a random generator that engages two individuals at random (filtered by specific teams, or the entire organization) into a quick conversation
Features: opt-in/opt-out option, voice only, the option to select from specific groups of people to randomly meet with (i.e. within your team, “office”, our the entire organization), both individuals are brought into the voice-only chat, option to “head back to work”, to close the meeting, the option to schedule a coffee chat for later.
A platform that streams the live event to a digital location where team members can join and chat with one another during the event
Features: team members can join a “room” where the event video and audio is being streamed, the volume is adjusted when team members want to discuss items, text chat available
Scheduled coffee chats that emulate having a coffee chat in person
Features: ability to view the schedule of both individuals and select an open slot to have a coffee chat, ability to hold client and contractor meetings in the coffee chat in an informal way to develop client and consultant relationship, option to filter in ambiance (sounds, background).
To keep from making this post too long, I won't include our user persona, mid-fidelity prototype designs, or usability testing results and user feedback in this page. If you're interested in any of that, see the PDF I've attached at the bottom 😃
Final Prototype Design
Client area, stakeholder workshops, and whiteboard
Water cooler bump-ins
We're really proud of what we were able to accomplish over a short period of a few months. However, just because the final designs are in, that doesn't mean our work is done. There are many features we'd love to implement in future versions of Flex. For one, we'd love to bring the coffeehouse into VR. This will create the most immersive experience possible, and will create a digital experience as identical to the real world experience as possible. We'd also love to spend more time refining our mental and physical well-being features. This includes popups that inform users when they should stand up and stretch, a meditation zone where users can listen to peaceful music and unwind for a bit, and more. Finally, we'd like to conduct more user testing to learn about what other features our users need, and what could be improved upon. It was an incredible three months, and we're so grateful to have had the opportunity to design and present a solution that brings about positive change in our new world.
Read the entire (43 page) case study by clicking on the icon below! This will open the PDF in a new tab.
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