Client: Wuxi Broadcast & TV Group
Date: 2015 - Present
Online: See App Store
On this page, I try not to emphasize the design process as I usually do, but to elaborate the thinking process on how I solved the problems and what were the pitfalls and tricks to solve them. I will show you how I see the whole picture of this problem and how to dissect it into small pieces. It is of course not a “one skill solves all problems” technique, however I do hope this could bring you some alternatives for your future problem solving skills. Without further ado, let us jump right in!
I functioned as a User Experience Designer and Project Manager from time to time, specifically, I did the following:
Age-Responsive design: Our product implements age responsive design, that is, for people in different age, they have the choice of customizing different features.
Artificial Intelligent supported: Our product is set to be AI supported in the next release.
A city should care everyone who live in
Mobile arises! With smart phones getting popular and popular in China, people are experiencing an innovation that changes fundamental of their life. According to iiMedia Research, the amount of people who uses smart phone has reached 655 million, covered 50% of the population, and till 2018, nearly 66% of the population is projected to be covered. The following table may give you a sense of such changes:
Now a question is advanced, what can we do for people live in Wuxi who has a smart phone?
Ahhh, this is a typical designer question that we have to ask ourselves when we are facing design challenges. A simple solution to answer ourselves about what we can do is to ask them directly and feel the pain that they feel: so we decided to walk on the street and ask them directly on what they think and feel for the status quo.
"I have trouble to pay my electricity bills. I do not have a car and I have to walk and take a bus and spend 2 hours each month to just pay for it and get bill details. My legs are not as functional as I was young (laugh), I think I need a feature through which I could pay my bills easily."
“I like reading news and it makes me knowledgeable. Current news apps are designed for national news or international news, but no good apps for local news. Can you believe that?”
"I wish I can collect promotions and coupons in a much easier way, and I think a lot of people need it."
We received hundreds of user feedback by simply asking them on the street, and it provided us a rough mind of what we can do next. It is a good start, but not enough. So we also designed online surveys and detailed face to face interviews. We analyzed almost every single piece of the feedback and we found the following facts:
Great, now that we had so many data at hand and did a preliminary analysis on it, we can have a clear goal for which our system should be targeted:
Mindmapping is a great skill to help designer analyze and distill key information hidden in the research and layout all the information in a structural way. I did not translate all the Chinese version mindmapping here but instead show you some of my mindmaps:
Here I took just one single function out to fully analyze it and show you how our design works. This function is called one click pay, which means you can just click one button to pay your bills within app, with extra security features, of course.
We walked through the old fashion way to pay electricity bills, which we created the following scenario:
It seems not complex so far, just some routine process when you need to use a certain service. However, it is not only the electricity bills that he needs to pay: He needs to repeat all the steps to pay his water bills, gas bills, phone bills, insurance bills etc. Even worse, for some services, there is even no way for him to pay electronically. What a disaster.
This is where our reimagination begins: How about we establish a system and provide different services to Wang with just one time set up? Would it be convenient for him to pay various bills by just clicking the button once without downloading all the apps and creating all the accounts, which cannot be even remembered.
Yes we do, thanks to China’s Real-ID Policy, under which a user needs to use his real ID to register any services. Since our user Wang has a phone, and consequently has a phone number with his Real ID registered with phone company, we can easily use phone number as an anchor to hook all other services under his name. Without compromising the security and privacy, we also came up an idea of using incoming voice or SMS to confirm the payment. Incoming voice and SMS are all free in China so it would not have any extra cost. Below is a simplified recreation of such pattern.
One goal for almost all usable designs is to streamline certain kind of process, and ours is no exception. How to intuitively measure such improvement is a challenge for me. In order to be more specific (of course I cannot simply feel it is simplified), I calculated clicks for a certain most frequently used tasks on the old version app and did the same on the new one. Here is the comparison I got for most frequently used features on our front end product:
This app is Chinese language only and currently available on iOS and Andriod platform. Please search Smart Wuxi in the store. Also Wireless Suzhou is a sister app created under the similar system and design.
Before we released our product, we had a little over 1 million users. After we released our new design, we had around 43% new user acquisition increase and 36% positive feedback increase within the first 180 days. Below is a diagram showing how it was trending between Year 2015 to Year 2016.
"I LOVE the new design as I can customize what I need! It is my daily app now!"
"Wow, cannot ask for more."
Through the whole project, I sometimes feel hard on how to create deeper relationship between our product and users. I do not see our product as a single product, rather I see our product as a nexus between users and the services / information they want to reach: a natual connection binds each side. I tried to solve this problem by always thinking from user's perspective and analyzing their natural conversations with me to see if I can find some unfound or ignored.