Our client, a Fortune 500 financial services organization, needed to update their retirement enrollment platform after shifting the way enrollment was conducted.
In redesigning the retirement enrollment process, we need a team that can:
- Understand our complex business rules
- Provide customers with an improved user experience
- Manage the information architecture, design and copy teams
Timeline: 9 months, July 2013 – April 2014
Sprints: +10 3 week sprints
Lead Information Architect
I led the information architecture of the project. I produced and directed the production of wireframes, user flows and usability findings. As the lead information architect, I worked with the copy and visual design teams to align our work and presented deliverables to the wider team of product managers, business analysts, developers, project managers, designers, and copywriters.
When we joined the project, there wasn’t a large amount of time to ramp up. We had to jump in! In the first few sprints, our goals were to:
Get Back to Green
When we engaged, the UX phase of the project was severely behind schedule. The client brought in Cloudberry to manage the information architecture, design, and copy teams to deliver on time.
Learn About Retirement Plans
There are different types of plans, different IRS regulations, and many different types of retirement products offered by the client. Designing a seamless experience required understanding the client’s complex business rules. And doing so quickly.
Integrate with Client’s Internal Teams
Cloudberry supplied the information architecture and worked with the client’s internal visual design and copywriting teams. We were part of a much larger agile development team. This provided a number of challenges. In other words, there were a lot of cats.
Hitting Our Groove
During each sprint, we received user stories that we used to guide our designs. User stories often dealt with complex use cases for specific clients and situations. All wireframe documents that we produced were annotated and tied back to the user stories that we were given. Working in an agile development environment, we were constantly iterating and improving on previous designs.
Ad Hoc User Feedback
Our client’s retirement participants can choose to have their contributions increased automatically each year. As we were designing this feature, we drafted an informal user survey which we sent to coworkers. The results of the survey indicated that people wanted to be able to choose whether or not they wanted automatic contributions to stop. We brought this to our business partners and were able to work this into the design.
The client’s online retirement enrollment product for new retirement participants includes 5 overall steps. Our project dealt exclusively with the first step, where the participant determines the contributions they want to make. To help the larger team and development understand how the new wireframes fit in with the overall process, we created user flows.
After we completed a couple of sprints, we conducted usability testing. A user testing agency facilitated the sessions and delivered a research report. We provided initial direction on what we wanted to have investigated and made recommendations for improvements based on the findings. Updates that we were able to sneak in were:
- Making the participant’s step in the process more clear
- Identifying more clearly the selections the participant had made
After 9 months, we rolled off the project. It was definitely a tough one, but we learned a lot and we were able to get the design phase of the project back on schedule.
Note: Much of the project work that I’ve completed is protected by NDAs or not openly available on the web. This is one of those projects.