REVAMPING AND UNITING A SUITE OF POWERFUL MARKETING APPS
Responsys had been in a major design rut for several years, falling well behind the curve. Their aging system of campaign marketing tools had become cumbersome and frustrating. Clients frequently complained and Sales had a tougher time closing deals.
In 2009, I joined as Director of User Experience to expand their design and research practices, elevate the profile of design at the leadership level, increase implementation quality, and create a stronger connection to the voice of the customer.
During my time there, I expanded the team to include experts in both UX and Visual Design, Help & Documentation, and Community Management. Our collective work created a design system that encompassed both new and older experiences to bring a disparate set of home-grown and 3rd party applications into a unified look and feel. The updated interaction paradigms made managing mission-critical campaign tasks easier than ever.
A NEW DASHBOARD, A NEW DESIGN SYSTEM
Our first UX project revamped the user dashboard taking it from static and text-heavy to dynamic and visual, including integrated analytics and campaign status. We used the initiative as an opportunity to create the foundation of a completely new design system for all efforts going forward. I understood that the new look and feel would spread across the suite incrementally over time and that the more we defined up front, the better our chances of getting design value to clients faster.
The visual redesign brought a maturity and elegance the suite was sorely lacking. We increased the size of fonts for legibility as well as the size and placement of click targets for easier mousing. Per our research, we created form layouts and process flows that better mapped to user behavior and created clear visual cues to confirm correct user action and telegraph next steps.
By doing a full visual redesign during the dashboard project, we were prepared to efficiently reskin the analytics portion of the suite as soon as engineering bandwidth became available. We used complementary supporting colors and reserved a punchier palette for icons and graphical elements, as in the suite's analytics tool where the visual separation of elements brought considerable clarity to the data representations.
MANAGEMENT LAYERS HELPING CLIENTS WORK FASTER & SMARTER
As is common in companies with rigid, legacy systems coupled with 3rd party acquisitions, making a wholesale change is often impossible, regardless of how dire that need is. My team had to be creative to find ways to bring design value to customers in the face of such limitations. Users endured a click-heavy, painful path simply to find a campaign, program or list they might be looking for. With hundreds of campaigns to wade through, the lack of search or sub-folders, resulted in a time-consuming process for customers. Although my team was told making changes to this interface was a non-starter, we knew we had an urgent user need to address - how to make managing campaigns, the most common set of tasks in the entire suite, an experience that helps customers work faster & smarter.
Our creative solution to push through this challenge was to start with fresh code and create a new management layer that let customers find a campaign of any kind quickly with a powerful filter bar, sortable columns, access to campaign details in-situ, and an exposed action menu that would eventually phase out this productivity-killing folder widget. This new home base eradicated one of our customers' top complaints and gave them a robust, centralized interface to search, monitor, manage, and act on time-sensitive campaigns.
This management layer was so successful that we then adapted it for managing programs and lists. The result was system-wide consistency for how to manage all elements of a marketer's work within the Interact suite.
NEW REVENUE STREAMS BUILT THROUGH STRONG DESIGN
To expand revenue possibilities we identified the need to build new functionality into the platform. We created mini-apps that could be plugged into the larger campaign tool but built within a new code base in order to circumvent the untenable legacy system constraints of the original code base.
The design team was excited by the opportunity to build two mini apps from scratch. The first was a social campaign tool for scheduling and managing marketing messages on Facebook and Twitter. After validating client needs and behavior patterns through a series of interviews, we created a prototype and performed usability sessions to ensure the designs were easy to learn, robust enough to be a desirable add-on, and met customer needs.
The second mini-app was a simplified version of Interact's Campaign, called Distributed Campaigns. Specifically designed for distributed marketing teams to manage the quality of outgoing messages and reduce dependence on a centralized team. The parent marketing organization could set boundaries on creative asset use and restrict permissions based on geography.
The local marketer was given a 4-step wizard giving them access to email templates and a simple set-up process. Creating this division of labor empowered local teams to easily manage their email communications with all the power of a major email campaign tool doing the work behind the scenes. The tool created major efficiencies for clients and after a short pilot, it was released to wide customer adoption and satisfaction.