How I put the UCD process to use.

Delivering award-winning updates.

Case Study 1: Customer Study for the Young Vic

The Challenge

I was hired to introduce the user voice into a future design brief for the update of a customer-facing website at the young Vic theatre.

I was given complete freedom in task selection, but had to work within a restricted timescale. I therefore decided on qualitative studies for this project.

Fortunately, as this was a theatre I had physical to their customers on a daily basis (often during down-time before shows).

Online Survey

The Process:

    Business requirements
  1. First up, I interviewed stakeholders to identify objectives and discover everything they know about their customers.
  2. Next, an expert review of their site to get to grips with their ticket-purchasing flow.Spot Interviews
  3. Finally, I created an embryonic customer experience map to identify gaps in our knowledge and potential issues/conflicts.

  4. User Research
  5. I created an online survey using
  6. Usability Test
  7. Next, I devised and conducted 35 on-the-spot interviews in the bar during show nights. These gave me a great insight into thought processes and concerns leading up to their visit. They also gave me the perfect opportunity to identify and recruit suitable candidates for usability testing the following week.
  8. Finally, I conducted recorded usability tests to focus specifically on the online ticket purchasing process. This was also a chance to follow up answers they gave during the interviews. CX Map.

  9. Analysis
  10. The key deliverables were a customer experience map and a presentation to the stakeholders. I was able to explain issues and recommendations for the design brief and leave them with a visual representation of how their customers use the Young Vic.
  11. Along with the CX map I provided a Stakeholder presentationquestion-by-question review of the responces (quantitive where possible), as well as all raw responce material and excel sheets I had produced along the way. The porpose being to leave them with as much information as possible if they choose to delve deeper, while ensuring the top-level recommendations were loud-and-clear.

The Outcome

  • Positive feedback from all stakeholders.
  • The design brief is being created currently.
  • What I delivered was not just insights for ticket purchasing, but the for the entire customer experience at the theatre - aiding decision-making across all touchpoints and illuminating the customer voice within an already cusomer-friendly environment.

Case Study 2: Major Update for Global Marketing Intranet

The Site

Heineken's BrandPortal is an area of the Heineken intranet for Heineken Group Commerce. The site's focus is on sharing branding and marketing assets and information around the world, to promote a single brand message and increase efficiency of sharing brand information in 170 worldwide markets.

The site is used by 2,250 employees and more than 200 agency personnel in more than 350 offices, partner organizations, and agencies across 122 countries.

The Challenge

One year into the project, we were asked to update the site to fit current Heineken branding and to improve the core functions of the site.

I was not involved in the initial business requirements phase, but I was brought in for user research analysis through to ideation and design.

As the site was live and functioning, we had to run updates iteratively to avoid disruption to existing users. We were also given limited face-to-face access to their users so research was conducted predominantly at a distance.

Survey Analysis

The Process:

    User Research & Analysis
  1. First, we conducted a user survey to assess opinion and requests from users.
  2. We analyzed usage data to determine frequently used areas, common exit-points, and those areas that were not being used to full potential.
  3. Site AnalyticsThe overriding conclusion was: "Don't give us fancy social features. Let us get in, get our information, and get out". We therefore identified three features that could be improved to assist them:
    • Navigation
    • Search
    • Retrieval of assets and guidelines

  4. New Homepage Concepts, Prototypes & Design
  5. We sketched , created and tested wireframe proposals for a more simplified homepage. The resulting page focussed on a large search field, navigational tools, and quick links to the most commonly used areas.
  6. I worked closely with our CTO to completely revamp the search tool from the algorithm up. 'Guerilla' user testing at the prototype stage showed improved ease-of-use and function.
  7. Branded Pages
  8. Lastly, we re-designed the look and feel with bold colors and graphics, reflecting the company's branding and spirit. It allows each campaign section the freedom convey visually their branding, helping users quickly recognize that they're in the correct site area, as well as demonstrating the branding to the markets.

The Outcome

  • The BrandPortal has since become the key internal communication platform for Heineken.
  • Usage grew 150% the year following the overhaul.
  • Further surveys revealed the initial issues had been solved.
  • The project inspired Neilson Norman Group to include the Heineken Brandportal in the top 10 intranets for 2011.

Case Study 3: Mobile Calendar & Events

The Challenge

Soon after launch of an information platform for the one global client, we were asked to update the mobile offering to include information on upcoming events.

We were given 10 days from concept to completion so I decided to lead our team through a collaborative agile process. I opted for 2 day sprints to allow for maximum opportunity for iterations.

Brainstorming functionality

The Process:

    Brainstorming, Journeys & Prioritization
  1. To kick off, I held a briefing and brainstorm with account manager and developer.
  2. Together, we defined and prioritised a set of key goals for the mobile user and ideal journeys to reach them. With no opportunity for direct user research we had to work from our knowledge of client requirements, our own experience of attending events and analyses of popular consumer mobile offerings.

  3. Event page sketchConcepts, Testing & Sprints
  4. For the key journeys, we sketched storyboards and defined functionality. With the developer present at all times we were able to assess which ideas were quick wins and drop ideas that required too much development.
  5. The developer began preliminary setup work while I refined sketches into axure mockups and the account manager fed back to the client on progress.
  6. Calendar outputI guerilla tested my mockups with non-contributing members of the office and passed them on for the initial sprint.
  7. Each morning we had a catch up and brainstorm to solve issues, refine ideas and ensure we were on track.
  8. Following the sprints we tested functionality and journeys and fed back findings into the next round.
  9. The process of sketch-mockup-test-sprint-test was repeated until finally each function in the key journeys had been completed.

The Outcome

  • We now have a mobile events offering which forms the backbone of our event managent system - including a calendar, google maps, timings and key event info.
  • Each page is purely focussed on the goals and restrictions of the mobile user.
  • It was the first time this developer had been involved in this way from the outset. Since then our developers have become and integral part of all brainstorming sessions within our company.
  • We came in 1/2 a day over our allotted time due to and unexpected handover to a new developer in the last couple of days, but overall the client is delighted and our company learned the value in collaborative design and the agile approach.


Case Study 4: Competition Minisite

The Challenge

An internal global campaign competition, previously handled offline, was to be transferred online. The challenge was to:

A) Create a process for online submissions
B) Allow the users to vote for the winner
C) Deliver the results during a live event.

The Process:

Converting Offline to Online forms
  1. I conducted interviews with key stakeholders to assess the intended audience, submission/voting criteria and timing.
  2. I produced detailed analysis of the offline forms and advised on simplification for online purposes.
  3. I devised process flows for submitters, casual readers and voters, and defined key pages to be designed.
  4. Voting Process PresentationFor the key pages, I sketched, wireframed and designed our ideas, at each stage conducting 'guerilla' user tests with colleagues and friends to ensure clarity of purpose. I also ensured technical feasability by including our developers at this early stage.
  5. Once wireframes and designs were defined we created detailed specification documents for developers to create the prototype voting process.
  6. I managed the build of the prototypes with our developers, helping to find solutions to technical issues as they arrived.
  7. Once the prototypes were ready, we carried out a further final round of testing, this time with key stakeholders and a selection of 'real' users.
  8. Feedback was noted and updates were made before removing all test data and launching live.

The Outcome

  • There were twice as many submissions online than the previous year offline.
  • Not a single complaint from any user at having to submit online.
  • 60% of those who could vote did vote - again, no complaints.
  • The submissions and voting period broke records for online activity on the site as a whole.

Case Study 5: Personal Project - Music Website

I have placed this in my portfolio as it represents my first exposure to the real power of UX. Testing and feedback early on in the process meant that the site could be built quickly and delivered well. It was a simple site, but did what it needed to do without clutter.

The Challenge

Back in 2009, we needed a website to introduce the band, the music, the tour, and allow us to update it on-the-go. It needed to be built quickly and look professional, as local buzz surrounding the tour was beginning to grow.

US Tour site

The Process:

  1. All ideas for functions, pages and branding were brainstormed quickly.
  2. I sketched, wireframed and designed the site within 2 days. At each stage I placed visuals in front of friends and family to assess clarity. Feedback was noted and fed back into the design.
  3. The prototyping and build happened simultaneously. As a result initial designs had to be adjusted to solve technical issues, but in the end I hand-coded the site and linked the homempage to 'Blogger' within the following 3 days.
  4. A further round of testing was carried out before setting the site live and promoting it via social networks and radio.

The Outcome

A simple, intuitive site. 3 prominent tracks to download, and 4 consistent navigation links. Our tracks were downloaded heavily and the site recieved a number of comments on the blog some referenceing inner areas of the site. Positive comments about the site from punters at the gigs and a recognised brand for posters and flyers.

Check it out at

For more about my experience and education, check my CV Download the PDF.

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