Willow Connect Website

Duration: October to December 2020

Role: User Experience Researcher

Research Method: Usability test, User interview

Full Report: Click Here

Overview

Willow Connect is an all-in-one, turnkey B2B communication platform that is designed for financial advisors. This platform is aiming to
• Prevent waste of financial advisors’ time by avoiding the integration between different applications and platforms
• Facilitate financial advisors’ performance by providing a streamlined communication
• Help financial advisors to match their clients with financial coaches, so clients will get supports on non-investment financial topics.


As the User Experience Researcher in the team, I

1. Distilled the primary research questions 

2. Offered a feasible and appropriate research plan

3. Conducted usability tests and in-depth user interviews 

4. Generated applicable insights and advices

5. Applied my findings to the platform as well as the user onboarding process

Research Goals

After working together with the product and marketing team, we agreed that the primary tasks are:


1. define usability issues in the current platform
2. discover users’ potential needs and expectations when they use this platform in their working environment.

Design Challenge

1. How to improve the easiness of navigation through the platform?
2. How to make UI elements’ meaning and function clear and easy to understand.
3. What features we are missing now that can ensure users’ success when performing their daily works.

Research Process & Findings

User Interview
I wanted to learn more about the life of financial advisors, so I reached out to them as my initial research. These are the questions I asked:


• What software you usually use during your daily work?
• Is there anything you like/dislike about the way you are using each of these software?
• If you can name the 5 most important key features you need to use in your work, what would they be?


These are some findings that helped the company to understand its target user:


• Since they are normally busy at work, they need to be able to quickly find a piece of information or finish a task.
• They don’t want to go back and forth between different screens when performing a task.
• It will be helpful for them to have all the information sync automatically.
• Since there are always too many things going on, they want the software they use to have reminders and follow-ups to make sure they don’t miss anything.

Usability Test
To test the current Willow Connect platform, I came up with four use case scenarios, six tasks related follow-up questions, and five Willow Connect impression questions. To view the task scenarios and the questions, Click Here.

Note taking during the usability test

Key Findings (Please Click Here to view detailed findings in each of the following high-level summarizes)

 

1. Participants were having issues finding useful information/features.
2. Participants were misled by current UI elements: they think something should work in a certain way, but it’s not working the same way as they expected.
3. Participants weren’t expecting something that the platform asks them to do.
4. Participants were expecting more from the platform.
5. The platform still has so many opportunities to help users to do their work easier.

Reflection & Next Steps

The company adopted my recommendations and updated the design of Willow Connect. The research results were also helpful when the company creates the boarding process and the FAQ page.


The project was conducted within a time limit. If there is more time available, there would be more to explore. To better optimize this platform, I would recommend conducting card sorting to optimize the information architecture of the main page. I would also do user testing with current users using the updated platform to keep improving its usability.

© 2021 by Feiyang Xu.

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