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The Bacon Dilemma
For a recent job interview, I was given a challenge: Solve a real-life user-experience problem that does not involve software or the internet.
I decided TESCO's unhelpful bacon packet
was primed for some problem-solving.
Etch is a visionary blockchain startup developing a revolutionary 'realtime payment platform'. In other words, you get paid instantly while you work, instead of invoicing once a month. Neat!
Over 4 weeks I lead a UX design sprint for ETCH to create a researched and tested high-fidelity, clickable prototype. It was to be a mobile app for employees to receive payment and manage finances, including an ETCH card.
Discover & Define
After a kickoff meeting with the founders of ETCH and analysis of the brief, I sketched a reserach strategy and began discovery.
Initial user research consisted of 5 interviews, contextual inquiry and user journeys.
From these I generated key user-base demographics (age, economic background, family status etc.), attitudinal and behavioural insights, and user challenges (most were unfamiliar with and worried by the word 'cryptocurrency'). I put this package of research into the form of primary and secondary personas, which were crucial in empathising with the users during the project.
From competitive analysis and stakeholder meetings, we prioritised features into a backlog.
An initial challenge was to come up with a design that could integrate the realtime payment model that ETCH had invented and also the more conventional single-transaction card payment model that the user would need to use ETCH out in the world. Here is the basic design problem as I expressed to myself at the beginning of this phase.
I tested two flows via a low-fidelity prototype with users (5 tests) and made some great steps. Here you can see a couple of changes between the 'incoming pay stream' screens.
By the time I tested the mid-fidelity prototype, I was starting to zero in on simple, usable designs and flows, as you can see on the next round of screens to the right - more positive feedback also started to appear, which was encouraging!
The two initial flows had also been crafted down as far as possible, leading to a maximum 5-step process to completing both tasks which were
1) Primary User needs to check he is being paid the right amount on day 1 of a new on-site job.
2) Primary User activates a wage-splitting paystream to send money overseas to family member with 2nd ETCH card.
Here are the screen flows for our primary user's 2 tasks, 1) Checking he is being paid the correct amount on day 1 of a new job and 2) Activating a pay stream to a dependent family member abroad.
The big challenges for this project primarily revolved around integrating the blockchain elements into a familiar banking-app structure. The gap in education users may have in relation to cryptocurrency can be overcome by simplifying descriptions and omitting unnecessary technical details. Also interesting was the design problem of how to have 2 different payment models in the same app, something I overcame by changing the Information Architecture at Mid-Fidelity. All in all this was a fascinating and fun project, and the CEO was happy with the work, he even was kind enough to give me a recommendation:
"Nick joined ETCH to lead a design sprint which helped push a key project for our business. He's not only a skilled designer, but a great team member. He integrated with the rest of the team in no time and added a lot of value to the project he was working in - reliable, communicative, and being able to see the bigger picture at all times. I would definitely count on Nick for future projects of this kind."
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