Con Edison, one of the largest energy providers in the United States, provides a wide range of energy-related products and services for over 3.4 million customers in the New York metropolitan area. While their service is a lifeline for many New Yorkers, their decade old website proved to be hurting the customer experience by making it difficult for users to complete key tasks. Our agency, POSSIBLE, partnered with the digital customer experience team at Con Edison to define the path towards a simpler, smarter, and stylish new digital experience.
Everything starts with the user, so we started by conducting interviews with Con Edison customers to understand their pain points and what they wanted the next generation Con Edison website to do for them.
Customers avoided the public website at all costs. They found little value in a cluttered site that wasn't tailored to their personal needs–whether they rented, owned, or ran a business. They wanted easy access to key tasks they had to complete on a regular basis.
Research found customers were going other places during electric and gas outages. Many didn't know Con Edison offered a way to look up reported outages in their area.
A new customer-centric experience needed to not only strengthen the brand by focusing on customer needs, but it also needed to provide features and content that anticipated the evolving customer needs. To understand how customers thought about content, I worked with our strategy team to implement user testing. Using content from the legacy website, we asked customers to do a card sorting activity–group pieces of content and label categories as if it were a navigational drop down menu. Results of the open card sort were analyzed, highlighting areas of agreement, weakness, and overlap in both categories and labels. These results helped us make informed decisions on how we structured primary navigation, categorized content, and chunked similar information.
Our interviews with stakeholders exposed the need for content to be easily findable, regardless of what type of customer you are. Customers shouldn't need to dig to locate a key business form or revert to searching Google for a particular page on ConEd.com. Stakeholders wanted the digital experience to be self-service. Customer service representatives are overwhelmed with many of the same questions and to cut down on the number of calls to the call center would be a huge win for Con Edison and customers. Con Edison also wanted to become known as the energy advisor of the future–helping customers save energy and money.
In short, we needed to anticipate customer needs, intercepting with valuable information and surprising with innovation. Simply.
Using insights gained from user and stakeholder interviews, content research, and user testing, I lead my UX team in the creation of a unique sitemap, navigational structure, and a set of modules and templates that were used as a planning tools for the web architecture and design. But we didn't just think about current state, the sitemap, navigation, and wireframes we built took into consideration future state content and user experience, providing a scalable architecture and strategy to accommodate new programs & initiatives.
Based on the legacy content that needed to be ported over, new content that needed to be created to support new initiatives, and some additional value add ideas, our team built out 60 unique modules and 8 page templates.
The new template and module-based system created a standard structure and consistent design vocabulary that provides the flexibility to easily evolve as content changes over time. Each independent modular component–much like a building block–can easily be reused, combined, or customized to support changes in content and services–saving valuable time and effort.
As the lead UX, I worked closely with the subject matter experts inside Con Edison to fully understand the business rules we would need to accommodate in the new account and transactional forms on ConEd.com. Through weekly review sessions, my team helped bring these key areas to life.
After creating some initial wireframe prototypes, we implemented one-on-one testing with 19 customers to evaluate find-ability of key content, understand how customers would use desktop and mobile websites differently, and their hierarchy of needs as a Con Edison customer. To understand how customers segment content, we presented participants with cut outs of key features and asked them structure their own account dashboard based on their needs. In a follow up task, we presented the customer with a key task they needed to complete on a mobile website prototype.
Based on our testing with customers, some of our key learnings and changes included:
Customers ultimately wanted to understand the story behind their bill and energy consumption, linking how much they are being billed to how much they have used. Because our pages were built using individual modules, we easily moved a bill analysis module directly under the bill balance module–providing more context for customers.
Navigation of the prototype was a challenge due to conflicting navigation models and unclear hierarchies of information. We did more research on secondary mobile navigation patterns, best practices, and even gorilla tested a variety of navigations. Experimenting helped us land on a flexible overflow navigation model. If more pages need to be added in the future, our structure can support it.
Creating an online account is thought to be a part of starting service, and the design of the two separate flows causes confusion. We became very cognizant of the language we were utilizing. We worked with our content strategist to define clear and concise terminology. Login/Register were intentionally combined to a single link to negate the confusion between starting service and creating an online account and "set up new service" is used as an alternative to "start service."
As I oversaw my team build out wireframes for the experience (in Sketch), I concurrently provided guidance for visual designers as they created all the front end page designs, worked with a business analyst to finalize the complex business rules, and held on-going meetings with the front end and back end engineers to make sure all the pieces were coming together as we defined. To manage various lines of feedback, I used a shared Google Excel document to track front end development issues, visual design needs, changes to business rules, and client feedback. This was a lifeline for our project as things move very quickly when working in agile!
It doesn't stop after a new website launches. With a completely new architecture and re-defined content governance, we needed to provide the Con Edison team with the proper education and information on how to maintain what we created. You can read about my knowledge sharing session in my blog post "UX Knowledge Share."
Project 1Hotels (Starwood Capital) Digital Booking Experience
Role User Experience Designer with POSSIBLE
Create a world class hotel website that allows user to seamlessly research and book hotel rooms, cabanas, and activities before they reach the hotel, purchase items and find their way around with ease while they are present at the hotel, and are reminded of their unique experience and want to return after their stay.
Our internal UX team conducted several months of research on the hotel industry and target users to identify key pain points as well as opportunities in the industry. As a deliverable, we provided the client with a comparative/competitive report analyzing both current hotel and non-hotel websites, apps, and in-person experiences.
We worked closely with the client to host a variety of hands-on working sessions and individual interviews with key stakeholders to understand their business needs. The information we gained from our sessions guided us in building a feature list for a global brand site as well as individual properties for the hotel brand.
With a deep understanding of the key touch points in the user journey and our feature list, we used a mobile-first approach to created a full set of tech-focused annotated wireframes. Before development began, we did gorilla testing with users to validate usability on both paper and mobile prototypes. Our UX team worked with our technology partners to define all website functionalities and interactions. Visual designers and content strategists brought the vision to life and helped shape a site where customers can now book anything from hotel rooms, room service, cabanas, and on- and off-site activities and services.
WINNER: Gold - Communicator Award 2015 (Hotel & Lodging)
Project iPhone App Experience
Client Lead Dog
Role Senior User Experience & Visual Design Consultant
Define, create, and build a native iPhone application for people playing league sports in New York City.
There are thousands of intramural league sports teams across the country–from the common summer softball leagues to the more obscure (and quite entertaining) cornhole teams. The weekly games are meant to be a fun way to meet new people, play a competitive sport, and, of course, have a drink or two along the way.
In the lean research we conducted, we identified several key participants pain points:
Our research also helped us identify 2 distinct user types who we would be targeting our product for.
We used the identified users and the participant pain points to drive the ideation of our feature set list. To define exactly what we wanted the users to be able to do, we create two sets of user stories, one for the Managing Players and one for the Players.
Working in agile fashion, I worked one-on-one with an iOS engineer to iterate on key flows, screens, and detailed interactions.
Project Nook (by Barnes & Noble) Product Re-imagining
Role User Experience Designer with POSSIBLE
Re-imagine the Nook experience.
Working with a small internal team, we visited several Barnes and Noble stores throughout New York City to do lean research on:
We identified a handful of key user types which we interviewed to understand:
Using the user research we conducted, we analyzed the findings across user types and discovered some key ares of opportunity:
So, how might we help readers discover and enjoy Nook ebooks easily and without confusion? Our proposal to Nook focused on making Nook a community rather than strictly a product.
Project iPhone App Experience
Client Campus Job
Role Senior User Experience Consultant
Conceptualize and design a Campus Job application for iPhone.
Campus Job is a growing startup that connects college students with part-time, entry-level, or internship job opportunities. With a website up and running, they company looked to expand to a mobile app to target their college user base.
Over the course of 2 months I worked closely with Campus Job to define an MVP iPhone application. Together we defined a key feature set based on their user needs. Working through several rounds of feedback with key stakeholders, I built and delivered a full set of annotated wireframes for the engineering team, visual designs for app screens, an app style guide, and all app assets for development.
The app is currently in development and testing.
Project WhatIf Branding Series
Client Motivate Design
Role Senior User Experience Consultant
Create a visual identity system for a series of innovation techniques created by UX design firm, Motivate Design.
The first in the series of the techniques, the What If Technique, seeks to stop people from saying "it can't be done" and encourages them to solve problems in creative ways by engaging in constructive problem solving and collaboration to identify tangible ways to improve their challenge.
My design pillars focused on several key areas:
Using these pillars, I took to paper to ideate on a handful of concepts, digitize them, refine a handful, and present them back to the company.
To learn what art means to different people in 140 characters.
Art means something unique to each of us, but the invitation to participate in art has never been extended. In fact, the art world can feel like an elitist club—exclusionary and intimidating. Meanwhile, social media is transforming every pillar of culture, from shared encyclopedias to citizen journalism. ART140 extended this trend to revolutionize the experience of art. By harnessing the power of Twitter, we invited people from all walks of life to express what specific works of art mean to them. We broke down the wall that separated the art world from the people who appreciate art but are too intimidated to express their own interpretation.
Insights from Experiment