Ben
UX designer

Axis Workshops Redesign

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The Project

This was a 3 week design sprint embedded within the General Assembly UX Design Immersive course that I was enrolled in.

Our client was Axis Workshops — a platform that encourages collaboration and efficient decision making within facilitated workshops.

The Brief

The brief changed over the course of the project. At first we were sent a brief with the aim to make the platform more intuitive, but after further discussions Axis decided to focus on redesigning the platform themselves, whilst we worked solely on the registration process.

However, after tackling this for a week, users stated that our registration designs were intuitive and easy to use, so we were given the green light to design more of the platform.

Key Info

Survey participants - 155

User Interviews - 15

Design Iterations - 9

Usability Tests - 35

Skills used - interviewing, usability testing, competitive analysis, affinity mapping, experience mapping, persona creation, user journeys, paper prototypes, wireframing, UI design, digital prototyping, iterative design

We hit our brief by examining the results from our user research and implementing solutions - of the 9 users who tested both the original product and our redesign, all 9 reported the new design as being clearer, more intuitive, and faster.

Key learnings - the key takeaway from this project was that a lack of structure can damage your progress. Because our brief changed, we didn't necessarily have as much time on each part of the project as we would've liked. I think 'plan for any outcome' is a good mantra to have moving forward.

First steps...

We had a call with several members of the Axis team to get a better feel for the difficulties they had been facing with their product. They explained that the registration was something that users were not interacting with well, so asked us to look into it for them.

Axis shared their data with us so we could further analyse why we needed to redesign the registration. We noticed that there was a 65% drop off rate during the registration process— i.e. 65% of users failed to complete it.

We decided that usability tests were required to gain real, human insights into why the registration was perhaps falling short. After testing the current product on 8 users, the frustration centred around it taking too long; users felt they were inputting unnecessary information, and they felt slightly confused about when they were actually going to be ‘registered’. One particular user stated

“you have to do lots of work for them before they have anything to offer you”.

Whilst this was very useful, we felt that we needed some further insights from people who hadn't used the Axis product. Learning general concerns with registration processes would help add more weight to our design decisions.

So we created a survey. 150 people responded, with 97% stating that they wanted to complete a registration process in under 2 minutes. In addition, 68% of participants cited ‘inputting unnecessary information’ as their main reason for frustration during a registration process. Participants also overwhelmingly stated that being able to sign up with Google was a preference.

Design

Once we’d gathered insights from the users on their pain points with the lengthy signup process, we felt that it was time to move onto the design stage. 8 tests and 150 survey respondents seemed sufficient to start sketching some potential solutions.

With our early sketches, we decided to place the password and the email inputs on the same page, solving the problem of the lengthy, split-up registration process. After 3 user tests on the left hand model, we were told that it made sense but they would like to see a 3rd party sign in and something other than 'get started free'.

Redesigning Axis Workshops

As users reported that this generally made sense we were able to move into mid-fidelity. We tested the mid-fi version on 6 users. The next issue arose once they had clicked ‘sign up’ they were taken to an email verification page. One user immediately made a helpful suggestion to add the option of a ‘shortcut’ selection of email providers.

Redesigning Axis Workshops

This was also received very well, which allowed us to move onto our high fidelity design — all information was input at the same time, we removed the necessity of filling out a survey or any other information that users found unintuitive and confusing, and included the option to sign in with Google. 

Redesigning Axis Workshops

New direction...

After the high fidelity designs went down well with a new set of users, we spoke to the client and stated that we felt we had largely solved the problems that we had identified. We therefore agreed to broaden our scope. By this stage we were more pressed for time, however we were still able to conduct 8 further usability tests in order to understand pain points outside of the registration process.

The key findings from these centred largely around terminology and navigation. Users found the current designs somewhat unintuitive because they didn’t understand the language on the page, they were unsure of where exactly to look, and what exactly to interact with. Indeed, this was evident in one user’s struggle:

“This page is very overwhelming, I’m not too sure where I’m supposed to be looking”

The issue was split between the homepage and the landing page. So we began by analysing the homepage, then moved onto the landing page after.

Homepage Design

Of course, being the first page a user observes when they visit the site, it's imperative that this page has good UX.

We tested it with 12 people. Users were generally confused by what exactly the value proposition was, so one immediate conclusion was that we needed to simplify and demonstrate what Axis have to offer. Users also found the navigation somewhat difficult.

At present there are 3 buttons in the top right hand corner of the site, but users found these unintuitive.

"where do I log in?"

After several iterations and myriad tests, we were informed that 'sign in' and 'sign up' was the clearest option.

After several iterations and myriad tests, we were informed that 'sign in' and 'sign up' was the clearest option.

A senior member of Axis told us that one of their main business goals was to enable effective decision making by letting everyone have their say:

“we’ve all been in a room where the extroverted or obnoxious people speak up the most, and the introverted expert is stuck at the back of the room, unable to get a word in”

Bearing this in mind as well as taking onboard the user feedback that the terminology on the homepage was confusing, we amended the wording on the top of the page. 5 users also mentioned that their current homepage video doesn't showcase what the product actually does, so we implemented a run through of the product to clarify the MVP.

Redesigning Axis Workshops

Landing Page Design

As previously stated, once users had suggested that they were content with our designs on the homepage, the logical next step was working on the landing page.

This was the most difficult part of the project as users repeatedly stated that they did not understand where they were or what they were supposed to do.

We attempted to create a dashboard which would simplify the product. By inserting a side navigation, we thought that users would understand where they were. On the navigation, we wanted to help users create workshop templates.

Redesigning Axis Workshops

This was all well and good, but despite the navigation being clearer, 12 users claimed that they simply did not know what the product was offering them. Our solution was a 'soft' onboarding - users would be taken through the product step by step.

Once we'd tested this, we were delighted to see that users were starting to understand more.

Once we'd tested this, we were delighted to see that users were starting to understand more.

Our final design of the dashboard

Our final design of the dashboard

What else did I learn?

Personally I learned a great deal about the importance of deep-diving into a product yourself. It might seem an obvious thing to say, as every designer needs to do this to improve a product. However, I have always taken what I considered to be the most ‘user-centric’ approach, which has resulted in me listening to users and trying to implement their suggestions/fix their pain points. In reality I was perhaps not engaging with the product enough myself, and understanding how I myself interacted with it. It’s a fine line, and whilst I will always put the user first — that is the whole point of UX after all — I now recognise how important it is that I understand a product in its entirety. If I am slightly in the dark as to what is trying to be achieved, how can I design solutions?