Over the summer, I had the amazing opportunity of interning with Q2 - a financial software company dedicated to providing digital banking solutions to financial institutions. At the start of the internship I was presented with a very open-ended project: research, design, and test a universal notification center that would record all communication between the Financial Institution and the user. I worked with a team of developers, a product owner, QA, UX designers, and UX researchers to understand the project fully and get feedback on my work. I did this by conducting a workshopping exercise at the beginning of the internship and design reviews with the team throughout the process.
The Q2 banking app uses a lot of different avenues to communicate with users (system notifications, tooltips, alerts, messages, chat, phone calls, etc.) which manifest in different areas of the app and are not all recorded for the user to reference later. So how can we display all of the communication in one place allowing users to access it without overwhelming them? Also, is a universal notification system something that users would consider valuable in the first place?
I started the summer by creating a timeline and backwards planning from important dates - usability testing that was scheduled 1.5 months into the internship and the final presentation scheduled during the last week of the internship. This allowed me to set a timeline for each key research method and make sure I had enough time to finish the design and prototype. The diagram below illustrates the UX process I took.
The first stage of my project involved understanding the problem space: why was this universal notification center something that I was tasked to work on? Would actual users find this feature valuable? Does any existing research exist at Q2 about this new feature? What are all the different use cases for notifications and existing avenues of communication between the Financial Institution and the user?
To answer these questions, I started off with conducting a flowchart workshop with the team to understand existing avenues of communication between the FI's and the users. Simultaneously, I conducted stakeholder interviews to understand the context behind the project.
To further understand if this new feature would prove valuable to actual users and to understand user's communication experiences with their banks, I conducted generative interviews with 6 participants with the intent of testing the hypothesis that:
Users need a centralized location to access the multiple touch points of communication between themselves and the FI
I also hoped to answer these research questions:
1. Do users have any pain points when communicating with companies (banking and non-banking)?
2. Will users find value in a universal notification center that allows them to see their history of communication with their FI?
Affinity mapping and analyzing the responses, I discovered repeating patterns that I then visualized onto a journey map. Click here to see the interactive journey map I created. Hover over the pain points for more information.
I found that all users expressed interest in a universal notification center but in reality (when probed) they could not come up with situations where they had to refer back to information sent to them by their FI. Their primary pain points revolved around communicating with customer service representatives in situations of conflict with the FI. Therefore, I added a case tracking/management system to my designs.
The pain points I discovered are as follows:
Sketching allowed rapid iteration of ideas and brainstorming with my UX design mentor.
After completing the sketching iterations, I mocked up low-fidelity designs and began the process of reviewing the designs cross-functionally. This consisted of reviewing the designs during design studio and setting up meetings with the back office UX team to ensure the consumer user workflow would make sense on the back-office side with the customer service representatives. With each meeting, I prepared questions and made the necessary changes based off of the feedback, resulting in multiple iterations of the low-fidelity designs.
Reviewing low-fidelity designs with stakeholders and the team led to a much easier experience creating high-fidelity designs. A sample of the designs can be viewed below. After creating the designs, I mocked up a working prototype in Axure to begin the next stage of the project: usabilty testing.
While working on the prototype, I collaborated with the UX Researchers to prepare the testing script and make sure I would be prepared for the testing day. The UX Researcher tested the prototype on 6 participants while I observed and asked clarifying questions. The testing was a massive success, with an overall completion rate of 97.2%, SEQ average of 6.7/7, and SUS score of 97.5/100.
All 6 participants loved having access to a recording and transcript of their phone call with Customer Service Representatives. Two of the participants specifically mentioned that this was a very unique feature not currently offered by their banks.
At the end of the internship, I presented my findings and recommendations to the entire company, including the Chairman, CEO, and VP's of Q2.
To view the full detailed report,