Projects & Deliverablesback to top
In the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to spend 12 weeks with the UX team from Blackbaud, the world-leading software provider for nonprofit organizations, at Austin TX. As an intern, I was fortunate to be involved in various projects ranging from user research, desk research and interaction design in marketing solutions and B2B onboarding experience.
The deliverables I had included research report synthesizing insights, competitive matrix, slide decks documenting the projects, mockups done in Sketch, and inVision prototypes. Below is the case study* of my approaches and the progress made with the VisionType project.
*Unfortunately, most of the artifacts and details for this project cannot be shown publicly due to confidentiality. If you are interested in certain details after reading my process, please contact me either through email or on LinkedIn.
The VisionTypeback to top
The project was in the early discovery stage for a new marketing solution under a specific marketing channel to create a communication piece during discovery sessions with clients and to explore the design space. I was working in collaboration with a PM intern remotely under the mentorship of a senior ux designer and a senior project manager for six weeks.
ExploringUnderstanding the Design Space
Upon receiving the project, the first thing I did was to mockup the concept the team had at the moment rapidly. The visualization allowed the team to have more effective discussions on the details and moved us closer to having discovery calls with clients. At the same time, to acquaint myself with the subject matter, I started looking at other solutions on the market to have a better idea of the competitive landscape from a ux perspective.
But how were marketers using these solutions in real life? While the exemplars provided me great insights on functionality & usability, it was essential for me to have some basic understandings of more use cases specific to NPOs, so that we can have a more effective conversation with clients later. To expand my knowledge on how admins at non-profit organizations might and wish to utilize this marketing channel, I perused guides, best practices, user stories / reviews on other products and synthesized the findings as below.
Narrowing Down Talking to Users & Picking a Focus
Going into the discovery calls, some primary goals me and the PM intern settled on were to understand how the admins create, manage, and evaluate their marketing campaigns right now, especially within what contexts these campaigns were for.
Due to the limited timeframe and resources, it was impossible for us to have that broad & exhaustive exploration we had hoped for. Therefore, we had to strategically narrow down our focuses to something that we recognized would benefit the project and our users the most in the long term to contribute our time and efforts. We ended up constraining ourselves to the workflow of creating the marketing contents and providing a way for admins to have a more personal interaction with constituents through this marketing channel. Below is the breakdown of how and why the decision was made.
ChallengeFinding the Balance
While we had great insights from the discovery calls with clients, it was also the part I found most challenging throughout the process. For it being a project in such early discovery stage, there were limitations on reaching out to users and multiple concerns during the calls. With certain sessions, it was difficult finding a balance between drilling into specific details and getting more user knowledge on the subject matter. In retrospect, maybe the mockups presented to the client was too high-fidelity for our purpose, and I should have left some details that weren’t relevant at the time out.
OutcomeOff to a Good Start
After 5 weeks of exploration and iterations, the final deliverables I had for this project were mockups with user flows, inVision prototype, and a slidedeck documenting my process including analysis of competitive landscape, project scope and use cases. The project received positive reactions from both the UX and PM team, and was regarded as a good foundation for the product development in the long term. It also sparked discussions internally on accelerating it on the product roadmap by the end of the internship.
Takeawayback to top
My times at Blackbaud during the past summer has been a great opportunity for me to learn how UX team operates and collaborates within a corporate, and more importantly on what I was capable of and needed improvements on.
Planning & Adapting
The first thing I realized early on going into the internship was the significance of planning ahead. Going into a session with a clear goal and a plan, but at the same having the ability of adapting that plan according to the situation was key to the success of any meetings.
Knowing what I knew, what I didn’t know, what I was supposed to know, and how to know them was the probably the second most important lesson I had throughout the summer. Especially when a lot of the design work I had was to adapt existing patterns and system to a new design space.
It Goes beyond UX
Learning about things beyond UX was also extremely valuable for me in terms of understanding where the products stand and were perceived by the customers. Each product is and should be a collective effort from users, team members and different departments. Empathy and understanding does not only apply to our interaction with the users. Knowing how and why colleagues have different concerns over the product and how we as designers take those into considerations is definitely a part of the design process, too.