Minimum Viable Product
When I started Control the purpose of the product was to give our primary personas — small-medium business owners — the information they need when it is most needed, regardless of their location or device.
Why mobile first? Because mobile is immediacy. If a business is getting attacked by a fraudster, for example, every second a cyber criminal’s behavior is left unabated will incur greater losses and more time and effort spent to deal with the aftermath of the fraud.
My initial product was an Android app integrated with Stripe, that could perform basic connect and view functions, as well as enable the user to perform time-sensitive actions.
Goal : Redesign the Entire UX
Catalyst for Redesign
For the first year, I experimented with numerous features and integrations. My designers also experimented with a variety of designs, colors, and layouts. After I acquired Pay Pad (a competing iOS product) and started building our desktop app, we realized the need to have a harmonized design across our web, iOS and Android apps.
I realized we needed to to take moment to step back and look at the entire product suite holistically.
Usability or ROI
There were two perspectives when redesigning: usability and business goals.
The usability perspective is to rigorously defend the logic behind a design element and produce a product that provides a frictionless experience (UX).
From a business perspective, redesigns can be long processes with no immediate ROI. Depending on your budget and priority, you’ll need to find a median between the two opposing sides of the design spectrum: quick improvements versus a complete overhaul of a product.
Designing Around Data is Hard
The Control product involved complex transactional data that had to be organized and presented in a logical and accessible manner. Usability and clarity remained on the forefront of our attention. For example, we were very specific about how all the information was displayed via various form factors.
Ensuring the integrity of an analytics product involving real-time transactional data requires setting up complex testing environments that can simulate a production environment and populate the app interfaces with realistic data.
Products Aren't Built in Vacuums
By early 2016 Control's back-end services weren't scaling in proportion to the volume of data we were processing and needed to be completed re-architected by our back-end engineers for risk of collapsing.
Like many startups, we weren't redesigning our products in a vacuum free of distraction; we were building new product, supporting legacy code, and managing operations simultaneously.
Approach : Agile Design & Creative Communication
Beyond kanbans, stand-ups, scrums and backlog grooming- ongoing communication & flexibility was key. My product design process could involve spontaneous wire-framing on the whiteboard to discuss the UI treatment of data extrapolation to a time-series graph, to ad-hoc chatter on Slack soliciting feedback from the engineers on capabilities or limitations of the various APIs.
Key to harmonizing our design was establishing a Control universal styleguide that would be applied across every touch point of the user experience across web. mobile, and tie back to all aspects of our marketing messaging. Once we had our "brand bible" and interaction guidelines established we work towards creating the seamless user experience we were endeavoring for.