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VTS Navigation

After the merger of VTS and Hightower, my team was tasked with creating features and improvements to support our combined user base. One of those improvements was improving the way finding system in the product.


PROBLEM DISCOVERY

Why Navigation?

As we continued to build products for our combined platform we realized ( through feedback and metrics ) that our product was extremely difficult to navigate. Users were dropping off and were unable to discover our core product offerings. After deeper investigation we saw that users were simply unable to find what they were looking for. We realized we needed to re-structure our product to make it more navigable. 

We worked with both Hightower and Legacy VTS users to take a deeper dive into the navigation experience of the user and their reasons for drop off using the following tools and methods. We relied most heavily on qualitative feedback from customer calls.

 
 
 
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Data

We used analytics tools like Pendo and full story to understand the engagement and behavior of our users. It was useful for identifying trends in our user base.

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User research

Working with our users really helped us understand the "why" behind our data and gain qualitative insight for improvements.

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Feedback

Our internal stakeholders - especially our customer success team were able to provide a deep analysis of our users' behavior.

 

Synthesis 

Once we gathered a sufficient amount of information and created a shared understanding we were able to articulate our findings into clear customer goals and pains. We worked with the entire product org to ensure that our findings reflected the pain their teams identified.

Artifects:

  1. Feedback theme buckets
  2. User story maps
  3. Audit of existing platform
  4. Top goals and pain points 

 

 

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PAIN POINTS

  • Users didn't know how to navigate to their core workflows.
  • Users do not know what asset they are viewing information for.
  • Users were not aware of many of our updates and feature improvements.

GOALS

  • Easy identification and navigation of assets.
  • Easy discovery and navigation of features.
  • Intuitive transition between features.
 

SOLUTION DISCOVERY

Sketching and Ideation

Once we had a clear set of goals, and buy in. We started a broad ideation and sketching process which included an audit of our existing navigation system and brainstorming sessions with product and design stakeholders. 

 

Design Audit

 
Old navigation

Old navigation

Old site map (overview)

Old site map (overview)

 

SKETCHING AND BRAINSTORMING TOOLS

  • Brainstorming sessions with the design team

  • Crazy 8's with engineering and product management

  • Low fidelity prototypes ( sketching and invision )

Design Goals

  • The user should always know where they are

  • The user should know how to go anywhere

  • 3 clicks or less to reach their goal

  • Create a scalable navigation system

 
Asset selection and drill down confined to left, feature navigation on top. Testing showed that users rarely interact with filters 

Asset selection and drill down confined to left, feature navigation on top. Testing showed that users rarely interact with filters 

Exposed asset navigation with nested feature navigation. Testing showed that users were more confused about feature discovery and did not find it useful to expose asset list

Exposed asset navigation with nested feature navigation. Testing showed that users were more confused about feature discovery and did not find it useful to expose asset list

Feature navigation on left with asset drawer. Testing showed that users liked the emphasis on features and the hidden asset list. They found the filters to be confusing.

Feature navigation on left with asset drawer. Testing showed that users liked the emphasis on features and the hidden asset list. They found the filters to be confusing.

Users liked the separation between features and asset selection but found the system unintuitive and were keen on saving vertical space.

Users liked the separation between features and asset selection but found the system unintuitive and were keen on saving vertical space.

 

Testing

Throughout the process of brainstorming and sketching, we were constantly validating our solutions with metrics, stakeholders and with users. We used low fidelity prototypes to conduct qualitative research studies and usability tests. We eventually landed on a direction that we thought would be successful

Logging feedback

Because we were collecting feedback from so many different sources, it was important to articulate how we prioritized and planned to execute on our feedback. We created a feedback tracking tool internally to communicate our process and create visibility around the decisions we made.

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EXECUTION

Interaction Design

We went through various visual iterations to finalize a design to execute on. We wanted to maintain as much familiarity as possible so we chose to stick with existing infrastructure and systems as much as possible. We also wanted to create a system that served both the needs of legacy VTS and Hightower users. 

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Final Design

After extensive testing we launched a design that we felt met our user goals and pain points. You can learn more about the feature improvements we made here

New navigation in action

New navigation in action

Detailed view of navigation

Detailed view of navigation

 
New Nav

New Nav

Old Nav

Old Nav

Roll out and testing strategy

We created a roll out strategy to ensure that we were getting valuable and timely feedback at a low cost. We decided to roll out features piece by piece to a large surface area. This also helped us onboard users without overwhelming them. We collected and synthesized feedback after release and made appropriate changes. I designed an in-app on boarding flow using Pendo to educate our users.

We used metric testing, and follow up usability tests to gauge the success of the navigation. We also allowed users to easily opt out of the experience, which was also an important metric for us to record.