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Kainos work platform

An online platform to improve working & company connection while retaining culture and values

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Desktop app
UX designer
Methods & tools
user research and analysis / UI design & prototyping / usability testing

The brief 

working with Kanios my team was tasked with solving the issues of encouraging interaction, collaboration, learning and culture, without adding additional meetings to staffs already busy schedules.

Quite the challenge!

The hypothesis

We began by creating an initial hypothesis for what we thought could be solutions. Discussing ideas for apps and tools that could be used to help online collaboration and interaction. However this brief require a bit more insider information to get an initial grasp of the problems it entailed. We had a discussion with the brief creator, Damien, a lead UX consultant within the company, which gave us a better understanding of the types of interaction tools the company current uses. This included the likes of whatspp, slack, team, zoom and yammer.
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Understanding the problem

To try and understand the problem we were trying to solve, we needed to gain more information about how the companies employees worked day to day and what tools they used. We began by discussing this with creator, Damien, a lead UX consultant within the company. We learned that they use tools such as :

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User interviews

The problem was still not clear, so we dove into user interviews to deepen our understanding of the employees daily habits and interactions. We were given access to three employees for our interviews, the questions asked were:
  1. Talk us through your average workday at kainos
  2. how many teams do you work with? and how many work in your team? / how do they vary in size?
  3. If you have an issue / problem how do you know who to talk to?
  4. how would you describe the working culture at kainos
  5. tell us how you conduct off project thinking while working online? how do you think this could be made easier?
  6. how do new staff learn while working online
  7. are there any challenges with working from home? if so how could it be improved?
  8. tell us how team projects are structured? how do you collaborate?
  9. how do you informally connect with co-workers while being online?
  10. how is projects tracked and recorded e.g. progress and contribution

Key findings

From the interviews we learned some of the key challenges faced by employees include:

  • losing touch with collegues at the end of a project, as they would not see each other in the office afterwards.

  • Not being able to keep track of a projects progress, especially if it was an extensivley large project, such as an NHS app

  • Difficulty in getting feedback from senior collegues as this was primarily done at the end of the year

  • Having more of a sendatry lifestyle, creating more of a need for a work / life balance

  • A need for isolation support

  • Running into people to discuss problems and ideas - water cooler moments - as best ideas happen in natural unforced environments, often away from work or desks.

Affinity mapping

After the compare and contrast of our interview answers, me and issac created an affinty map of the various answers. This helped us to categorise and better understand the answers of the interviews. This allowed us to pick out key insights in that would determine the direction of our design process.
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After the compare and contrast of our interview answers, me and issac created an affinty map of the various answers. This helped us to categorise and better understand the answers of the interviews. This allowed us to pick out key insights in that would determine the direction of our design process.
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user personas

After conducting the interviews I set about creating two user personas based on our findings. Having got information from a senior designer and one who began their career at kanios I felt it was important to highlight how these two personas would view the same situation.
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Having reviewed our research, as a team we believed the best way to answer the brief was through a worked based social media style platform. The concept of this way to create an environment that would tackle the key insights of our research, such as:
  • allowing staff to track and monitor the progress of their projects
  • socialise and interact with teams and other co-workers
  • be able to use the platform as a learning tool by searching for and sharing videos on how to tackle problems
  • making it easier to give and receive feedback on projects

The initial wireframes, done by jade, give an indication of how the key features of the app would look and work.
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Lo-Fidelity designs

Working together on figma, we started by creating so lo-fi prototypes of how we wanted our pages to look. Key features we felt were needed included an ability to change their status when available or working, access to projects and the ability to search for videos.

To help keep the UI familiar to staff, we explored using kainos company colours within the design.
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Hi-fidelity designs

Having come to an agreement on how we wanted the pages to look and what information we needed to include on each page, we began creating higher fidelity mock up’s we could then test with users.

In the users own profile we added the feature of including feedback, so that collegues can offer it fresh throughout the year as projects finish rather than at the end of the year.
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Video overlay

The final part of our product would be a video overlay, in which users can live stream and record their screens while they work on a problem, so that others can learn how it’s done.

Usability Tests

Now that we had completed our Hi-fidelity prototype it was time to test our the design. We used the same 3 candidates that we had previously interviewed to run the test. Each candidate was given 4 tasks to complete. We conducted a primarily observational study of how they used and interacted with the pages. Each task was timed and scored.

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We found the tests to be a confident success and received positive feedback from each of the candidates, with each offering an insight into if and how they would use it, such as integrating the tool with outlook calendars to help managing deliverables and meetings. Also offering feedback on what needs to be considered such as kainos brand guidelines and AA/ AAA accessibility for text and colours. However for the purposes of user testing these elements are not of immediate concern.

After completing the tasks we asked all of the candidates to score their experience of using the product on a usability scale. When averaged these results scored an 84, coming in well above the bench mark of 68, reassuring the clean and effective design of this product.

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One of the most challenging aspects of this brief was working out what the problem that required solving was. As most people moved to a new and unfamiliar way of working, we had to work out how to make their new home setting feel as if they were back in the office, while still working online. The concept of this alone creates challenges and hypocrisies.

Once we had an idea of the problem we were trying to solve, we created a hypothesis of ideas we felt could solve our issue. This however presented another problem as we discovered that any initial ideas we believed could work, were in one way or other, used or attempted by kainos, before or throughout the pandemic. Upon reflection this was unsurprising considering the scale of the company and how quickly they had to adapt to a new way of working.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this brief was trying to work out how to translate kainos’ strong company culture into a digital product. However I feel we answered the brief in a strong manner, through our research we were able to gain valuable insights into the employees working lives and challenges, extracting key findings that could be applied to our design.

By offering a platform in which employees can connect, learn and share skills, information and feedback, we have reduced the need for employees to use multiple tools and platforms for projects, while also preventing the addition of extra meetings.

I felt that the most rewarding stage of this project came from the usability testing. Having received positive feedback from employees of the company of its functionality and design, along with confirmation of its personal value to an employees day to day activities, gave a feeling of success to the project.

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