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IBM Bluemine (Internal Market Intelligence Portal) Redesign

Role: UX Researcher

Background

The internal facing product is an application that allows 125K+ IBMers to access market intelligence and make strategic decisions that impact the business. An internal satisfaction survey found discrepancy between what 'content' the users 'found' and what they 'hoped to find' by using the application. In spite of this, it showed that our users recognized bluemine's potential, yet struggled to maximize on the value seen in it.

My Role

I was one of the 4 UX Researchers (UXR) on this project. Overall, the team comprised of developers, designers and project managers. The team was divided into Squads, each focusing on a specific set of functionalities like search. I was responsible for conducting generative interviews and usability tests. I also synthesized and presented research to the different squads. As the project neared its release date, I also helped in conducting design audit to align all the design team output from different squads.

Design Process

Note: Because this platform is internal-facing, only high-level design process is disclosed here. 

Understanding the User need

The UXR team conducted a series of generative interviews with existing users to uncover various pain points and workarounds they used to address them. The key issues identified were navigation and search, disorganized content, report usefulness and an overwhelming user interface.

Based on this research, the team developed the central vision for the redesign project. Also, the team developed two 'user personas' -

  • IBMer, who looks for supporting evidences and data to build assets for stakeholders

  • A content publisher, who creates and publishes market-relevant analysis and other assets which can be further leveraged by IBM'ers.

Competitive Research

I looked across the web for examples of other market intelligence portals of companies. Also, we looked at various examples of how search results are presented by various websites. I also found some great examples of navigation used by similar portals. I collated my research and presented to the team.

Competitive Research.png
Generative User Interviews (for identifying user expectations from different functions)

I developed the protocols and conducted interviews for testing different functionalities like search, content publishing and content sharing. Most of the interviews were conducted remotely via video conferencing, as our sponsor users were spread across the globe. This provided us with wide coverage and feedback from different demographics and psychographics.

I, along with the team, synthesized the findings and developed insights which were passed onto the respective squads.

Usability tests (for feedback on prototypes)

I developed the interview protocols and we conducted interviews with a set of static images which made a prototype. We used Invision to build these prototypes.

UXR Synthesis.png

These interviews helped us validate our proof of concepts for features like search results, filters and bookmarking. We recorded our analysis in presentation deck, while, presenting our findings with appropriate annotations.

A/B Tests (for Navigation)

We conducted A/B tests to test the navigation system for content publishing process. The team created 2 prototypes for navigation - Top and Bottom. Then, we developed the appropriate interview protocol.

We conducted interviews with 6 publishers and identified the "Top" navigation to be more useful. Also, some components from Bottom navigation, which were found to helpful by the users, were also incorporated in the navigation.

 

Overall, we conducted 14+ rounds of user interviews - generative and usability tests combined. We continued to do so after launching the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) to continue aligning with user expectations and identify gaps. which the product teams can resolve.

Business Impact

  • This project impacted 125,000+ users across the organization.

  • After the launch of MVP, users acknowledged the improved UI and ease of functioning in the portal.

  • Various senior executives applauded the research effort in tandem with design and development.

  • Our Redesign project team got "Best of MD&I" internal team award for this work.

Tools​

  • InVision (Prototyping & Testing)

  • Mural (Collaboration)

  • Github (Project Management)

  • Microsoft Office

Skills

  • Design Thinking

  • Requirement Gathering

  • User Personas

  • Generative Interviews

  • Usability Testing

  • A/B Testing

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