Concepts

Now that I am nearing the third chapter of my time at NCR, I have begun to venture into the ideation stage of my design process. For many weeks now I have had ideas rattling about in my head and it’s a relief to finally put them down on paper. I have organised my ideation into two categories, Must Have Features and Concept Cores:

Must Have Features

The must have features have been realised from research into both the suspected users, and currently used products.  It is of great importance to consider both these elements as without them the service could be either unfamiliar or not appropriate to the user. The five speculatively diagnosed features can be seen below:

  1. Custom homepage
  • In order to build a relationship between the user and the platform and to encourage continued use and gamification.
  1. Personal profile generation
  • To encourage use through the building of social capital and ego incubation. The use of a profile will also help to facilitate an informed user allocation system through the building of each user’s skill sets.
  1. Incentive system
  • In order to maintain willing participation and a gamification aspect to the platform. The reward system will also play on an already familiar system that exists currently with the NCR culture.
  1. Idea box or managed question system
  • A system that allows for the users to either offer their own insights freely or a system that allows for the facilitated governance of an allocated question system.
  1. An IM system
  • A service that allows for instant communication across the platform, this will be useful when discussing a topic between peers.

 

Core Concepts

I have developed four concept cores from the information I have gained over the past weeks. A concept core is an idea that has no physical form, and instead purely details the ideas intention. The below concept sheets demonstrate what each of the concept suggests, utilising a relevant image, 100 word description and the pros and cons of the general concept. See below:

Disscussion Platform-page-001 ideas box-page-001 Managed Quistions-page-001 positive feedback-page-001

I next plan to whittle these concepts down into my main concept and to create a visual map of how it will function. I will then intend to sketch out what each feature is and what it could look like. After doing this I would like to get everyone within the UCD group together to review and critique the concept.

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Design Scope

Now that I am coming up for the halfway point on this project I thought it valuable to have a Re-analysis of the design scope. The design scope included such aspects as the design challenge, the design objective, the predicted users, KPIs, barriers and the design requirements.

The Objective

To gather the insights of NCRs key stakeholders by bridging the gap between those that drive the product development, and those that interact with the finished product.

Predicted Users (and what they offer)

Riggers – by feeding in the insights from the first customer interaction with the product as well as any installation issues that they personally may have.

Customer Engineers – by feeding in the customer complaints they receive regarding the servicing of the machinery. If there is a regular occurring fault this could be fed into the system.

Accounts Team – if there is any special requests or questions about the future of the industry the accounts team will be one ones that are asked. This information could be fed into the system to inform the company of any questions that the customer is starting to ask.  Accounts will also be the first person that the customer comes to if they have a problem with the current or old products.

UCD Team – Will manage the service/product in order to facilitate the exchanges of information between the development team and the customer facing stakeholders.

The Design Challenges
  1. Providing an effective incentive for the users
  2. Finding a way to maintain continued use of the service/product
  3. Making sure that the service/product can be used by all transitionally
  4. Making sure the correct amout of effort is being implemented to receive valid content
Most Important Measures of Success (KPIs)
  1. User Satisfaction: an increase in the satisfaction of the users.
  2. Resolution Timescale: the speed of resolution when acting on a gathered insight.
  3. Actionable Insights: quantity of insights gathered that can be actioned on.
Design Requirements

I split the requirements into three separate fields, seen below, and asked myself what the most important requirements are for each of the sections. I then selected 8 requirements at the end as the most important. The final 8 requirements will then be used to develop a lotus blossom (design technique).

Physical – Usage Environment

  • Portable
  • Transferable
  • Accessible

Relational – Interactions with Others

  • Transferable
  • Unobtrusive
  • Unbiased
  • Simple
  • Clear

Activities – Operations of Use

  • Simple
  • Intuitive
  • Familiar
  • Comfortable
  • Manageable

Emotional – Non-Functional

  • Enjoyable
  • Motivating
  • Clear
  • Intuitive

Rational – Functional

  • Accessible
  • Clear
  • Informative
  • Supportive

Most important Requirements (in no particular order)

  1. Manageable
  2. Portable
  3. Intuitive
  4. Familiar
  5. Motivating
  6. Transferable
  7. Unbiased
  8. Accessible

The next stage of my process is the ideation stage. I will now begin to develop some ideas around a potential outcome to solve the project objective. Considering all the above aspects I believe I have an effective grasp of the challenge at hand.

Sharpening the Project Focus

I recently had a discussion with one of the designers here at NCR that works across many mediums. The discussion started with a brief explanation of where my project was going but it eventually twisted into a project reforming exercise.  He explained that the project I was currently managing was very large, a point I had made myself, and explained that having such a large field to work with is not only difficult, but also not realistically manageable with the short timeframe. Acknowledging this he then recommended some directions that would be more fitting, without stating that anyone direction was the correct one to pursue. This level of feedback and commentary was very welcome as it presented a large degree of insight without controlling the project direction. Through the questions he asked, I was able to see the areas of my project that had holes or needed further detail. I found the questions that were asked very helpful to speculatively test the projects appropriateness. I took note of the questions for future referral and plan to ask myself them at every stage of project development.

It was also recommended that I look into other companies or industries to see how they have tackled the problems that I am looking into. Taking particular interest in the internal communication systems of larger companies I feel that this exercise could prove very valuable to my understanding of how communication systems work. I am interested in finding out how social media is used as a communication tool with larger companies and if it is widely considered to be effective.

The main questions that came out of the discussion are:

  • What information can each of the stakeholders provide and is it necessarily valuable to the platform as whole?
  • Whose perspective is the most valuable and is that perspective shared?
  • What benefits will this platform have for its uses and will they function as a big enough an incentive for its continued use?
  • If the platform is going to be have a lot of traffic daily how will the large amount of data collected be managed and maintained?
  • How is the content provided by contributors received/displayed, distributed to the relevant departments and controlled by those that receive it?
  • If the platform is to be presented as for internal use only, how do you facilitate the influx of consumer insights?

The above questions really ask how the platform will function in the face of known pressures, as well as to highlight key design decisions that must be addressed. I now intend to really have a think about what direction I intend to take the project. I still intend to send out several copies of my “Insights Toolkit” in order to learn more about the key stakeholders, however I believe that given the new insights I have gained I will be able to focus on the few rather than the many.

 

 

Understanding the Customer

I was recently lucky enough to be invited along to a few NCR strategy presentations that were being held for one of NCRs customers. The presentations started with the company in question detailing their current strategies and the pressures that they currently face as a company. This was a great experience for me to understand what ailments were presently affecting this specific customers industry and how the company was trying to tackle them. The initial presentation was then followed by a series of NCR lead presentation that revolved around NCRs current strategies and services. During these presentations NCR tried to address some of the pressures that there customer was facing, recommending solutions to their problems. This was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the services being developed by NCR and the relationship that is had between NCR and its customers. The discussions that were had were very interesting and informative allowing me the opportunity to build on my current perceptions of the service delivery offered at NCR. Unfortunately, and understandably, I cannot go into too must detail in regards to what was discussed; however I can say that the experience was invaluable to my learning.

I now intend to use my knowledge gained to build a better understanding of the frame of stakeholders that play essential roles within the NCR service journey.

Social Media – Customer Feedback

I had a look on the most popular social media sites to gain an understanding of what site gets the most traffic in relation to ATM faults and complaints. I was also looking into what form of complaints are popular on each of the sites.

I was only really able to find any user interaction on Twitter, of which there was a great deal. There was a few people using Twitter to contact the banks and tell them that there are ATM faults. However, most people were using Twitter to inform others that there is a fault with a certain ATM and to avoid it, tagging the bank that is involved. The general feel was that lots of people are upset and are blaming the bank for the ATM faults when using Twitter. The most common complaint was that the ATM had “swallowed” there card and the bank “refused” to return it.  Due to the bulk of tweets being sent in anger they are blunt and uninformative. It is only one the bank has replied and asked for the information that it is provided by the user.

Google+ offers discussions with other users. There is little to no discussions about ATM faults.

Facebook does not have any record of any customer complaints about ATM faults. I can speculate that because the bank has control over the content on their pages they will remove any content that could fracture their reputation.

TWITTER COMPLAINT 1 TWITTER COMPLAINT 2 (app loadtime) TWITTER COMPLAINT 3 TWITTER COMPLAINT 4

Week One

Day one consisted of familiarising myself with my surroundings and building an understanding of place.  Once I was settled in I was invited to a meeting in order to discuss my thoughts on the brief with both Steve Birnie (consultant industrial designer) and Charlie Rohan (senior director of user centered design). They were able to provide several names of people that work within the company that would perhaps be able to put me in contact with certain stakeholder groups along with many other useful insights.

The following day I met with one of NCR’s account directors. As a sales professional he keeps a very close relationship with his/NCRs customers. He had a great deal of knowledge of what the customer wanted and was able to give detailed accounts of how much things would cost the customer and what product they would be interested in. I was informed that the rise of the ATM has allowed for banks to move staff out onto the floor instead of behind the glass screens, allowing for more immersive interaction. I was then informed that these days the consumers can even do all there banking at home on their computer or mobile device and avoid the bank all together.

Following on from the conversations I had at the start of the week, I created my first iteration of a stakeholder’s information sheet. This sheet detailed my current knowledge of what roles each stakeholder played as well as what other stakeholders they interacted with and what observations could be made (for example a Customer Service Engineer meets the bank/tertiary business and fixed any faults, the observations that are made could include recurring harware issues or customer frustration).

I then decided that it would be valuable to map out the service journey including each of the stakeholders, in order to understand where each of the stakeholders interact and to what level of communication they undergo.  After this decision was made I began to think about who the stakeholders were and gained a basic knowledge of their role within the service journey.

Introduction to Collaboration

In the world of design, collaboration is a tool used almost every day. For example, you wouldn’t go about designing a dress without first asking the manufacturer the material limitations. “Banana Armour” (the product that keeps my banana fresh, day in and day out) wouldn’t have got very far if those that designed it hadn’t first asked the guys at Chiquita how big there bananas are.

Collaboration is the simple act of working with someone to produce something that works. Generally, collaboration is a great tool to use in principle, buts it’s certainly easier said than done. There are so many great ideas being thought up all the time but just not enough people working together to make them happen.

This was the thinking that lead to the formation of Crit-Café. Crit-Café is a monthly collaboration event that encourages anyone to bring and share or refined ideas – to take them to the next level.

Great things are almost always born from a fusion of innovation and collaboration. One of the greatest examples of this is Apple, ask yourself who invented the first Apple product? Most of you will say the late and great Steve Jobs. In fact the first Apple product, the “Apple-II”, was created by an interdisciplinary group of collaborators. Steve “Woz” Wozniak an electronic engineer hand-built the device in hopes to sell it for $40, Steve Jobs brought it to market and found a buyer that purchased the computer for a stagering $500 each, and finally there was Rod Holt who developed the devices unique power supply, giving the Apple-II life. These three people brought entirely different skills to the table but through working together created a movement that has changed the way we look at technology today.

Collaboration reaches its full potential when people from different backgrounds meet. Everybody has great ideas that remain unused because the right people aren’t there to make it happen.