Redesigning myAT&T – Storyboard Flows
Our project for Rapid Ideation and Creative Problem Solving this quarter is redesigning the mobile experience for managing your AT&T mobile phone account. We chose this problem due to how much opportunity there is to improve on the experience, especially on the mobile platform. Not only is there opportunity for improvement, pretty much everyone can relate to the frustration with a majority of cell phone providers. Previously I detailed the value of concept mapping as well as a reflection on the process.
After concept mapping we explored what it looked like to storyboard the six flows we decided to focus on as a group. In previous classes we have created storyboards, but there was a larger emphasis on character development then. While characters are useful in establishing a narrative, this focus was more to be more utilitarian; establish the happy-path. Taking practice of telling a more traditional narrative or story and applying it to an exercise like fleshing out flows made the process feel much more comfortable and natural.
The six flows we chose are include:
- Plan management
- a.) The ability to view current plan and features.
- b.) The ability to compare usage against available plans.
- c.) The ability to change a plan.
- The ability to upgrade a device.
- The ability to suspend or remove a device.
- The ability to make a warranty claim.
- The ability to make a payment/set up automatic payments.
- The ability to review and set account security.
I have had some experience sketching out flows of screens before, but there was a very beneficial constraint I have not previously applied. That constraint was the use of pure sticky notes and a Sharpie marker. Using minimal real estate combined with a thick marker forced me to focus on the most important aspects of each screen.
In the past I worked on larger pieces of paper with a thinner writing instrument, but this format led me to pay attention to navigation, placement of components, and really even the layout of the entire screen. It’s arguably too early in the process to be focusing on those details. At this stage in the game those details become distracting, pulling you away from first establishing the hero flow. I was becoming stuck in the granular details rather than stepping back and looking at the picture as a whole before fleshing out the intricacies.
The format I implemented for my storyboards were using a purple sticky note to denote the flow I was working on and light blue sticky notes for the actual flow. Within each flow, the top row shows the high-level functionality while the bottom row gives a small description of what each screen is accomplishing.
From here, I actually stepped away from working on it for a day. I wanted my mind to marinate in the flows a little before I took another stab at it. Whenever I did come back to the flows consolidation seemed to be a focus of my actions. I placed yellow sticky notes over the blue sticky notes when I saw an opportunity for iterating towards simplification with the iterated screen.
This also allowed me to easily recognize that three of the six flows began with a very similar screen design. Reducing the number of steps will ultimately provide a better experience for the end user allowing them to accomplish their task in less time. The storyboards will inform the structure of design moving into the more detailed wireframe stage, which we are working on currently.
There is a level of clarity I received during this process due to the focus of the bigger picture, which was derived from the constraints of the sticky note real estate and the thick weight of the Sharpie marker. This affords a smaller cognitive load when continuing into higher fidelity wireframes. After all, that’s the benefit of applying process, right?