Morning Consult clients purchase the platform in order to visualize their real-time polling data. Through discovery interviews with the platform's power users, we uncovered a variety of user problems to focus on while creating OKRs and roadmaps.
After documenting user problems, I partnered with my product manager to gather stakeholder input to better understand solution design scope. I interviewed developers, business leaders, and product leaders to create a short, medium, and long term vision for the product.
In these interviews I ran through a summary of user feedback and the hypotheses we'd developed for solving these problems. I focused on the most impactful user problem: users wanted to work together within the visualization tool, but were unable to do so easily, or securely. The stakeholder research revealed a number of technical blockers to creating a sharing solution:
I found that users were commonly sharing login information in order to have access to the same content. One of the product team's driving business goals is to increase the number of active users. Uncovering this sharing-work-around was a big motivator to rework the data model to enable cross-team collaboration, and to, hopefully, encourage client teams to onboard new users.
This stakeholder research illuminated just how many systems would need to be updated to enable a sharing feature. The work was broken up between two scrum teams: one team would focus on rebuilding the authentication model to create a systematized approach to the content-user-team relationship, and one team would focus on building the content sharing MVP.
Because this work spanned two scrum teams, the order in which designs were needed was a high priority for me and my product manager. It was our goal to reduce (as much as possible) the cross-team blockers and to keep the release schedule iterative and consistent.
User flow & wireframes
The sharing MVP required a technical migration which presented an opportunity to overhaul the accounts management UI. After creating an end-to-end user flow from account creation, to visualization sharing, I created wireframes that updated the old UI to the new design system components.
Technical migrations take time and focus to be done effectively. In previous migrations, it has meant a near halt to feature releases. In this project, we were keen to pair the backend improvements with frontend improvements to maintain continuous delivery of user value. This meant a complete redesign of the accounts management UI, both to the information architecture, and to the user interactions.
I learned from prior user research that many basic functions within the accounts management system caused user confusion and frustration. Something as simple as changing an account's email had resulted in dozens of IT support tickets in the year prior. As I redesigned these pages, I prioritized streamlining these common jobs-to-be-done to reduce friction and add clarity.
I regularly sought feedback from my development teams and business stakeholders. What I learned was:
Users need to be able to switch between teams at the site level (rather than at the account management level)
There are three main user groups: account executives, client success representatives, and external users
Some account management features shouldn't be accessible to all external users
Internal users should not be able to see the personal information of users they don't directly manage
Users need to be able to switch visualizations settings between private and shared
Shared visualizations can be accessed by everyone on the client team (all or nothing)
The MVP solution redesigned the existing accounts pages, introduced the most requested accounts features, reconfigured the database to recognize different client teams, added a toggle to switch between teams, and allowed visualizations to be shared via link within teams.
Prototyping & usability test
After iterating on the final designs with stakeholders, I ran an unmoderated usability test with 10 users to validate my design decisions and uncover any areas of improvement.
I ran this test using a prototype I developed in Figma in an effort to uncover any major usability issues before we began development. After compiling test results, I presented the findings to my team, and implemented a number of UI updates to the mockups. This process helped ensure that when development began, we could move quickly and confidently.
Because the redesign involved moving many features to new areas of the product, I was particularly interested in testing how quickly/easily users could navigate the new information architecture.
Navigational elements (side bar, top tabs) were easy to find and use
The flow to add a new user to a team was too similar to the flow to add an existing user to a team
Assigning data access to teams was much easier in the new design
The organization of internal users versus external users was not as clear as it could be
Because the new account management designs would affect the day-to-day lives of 200+ users, we rolled out the product to a handful of pilot users before moving onto a wider release. This gave us an opportunity to fix any bugs and to refine our release documentation to best communicate these changes.
Key Learnings & Next Steps
The new accounts management tool, team toggle, and sharing MVP have launched to a positive reception. The renewed focus on building collaborative tools helped save a high-profile client contract.
Coordinating two scrum teams for 8 months was a great learning experience in project management, deadlines, and designing in an iterative, non-blocking way. Having a clear vision of the final experience and a path to get there was vital to success.
Next steps include:
1Introduce a hierarchy of user roles to the accounts management system to provide users with varied levels of features
2Expand sharing to enable multi-user editing and commenting to encourage broader collaboration within the platform
3Create a notification system to alert users when changes have been made to their content or team accounts