From myAT&T to yourAT&T – Design Strategy Feature Brief
AT&T is a complex product that needs to do a lot of things. Things like pay bills. Buy devices. Observe different types and levels of data etc. An application that spans across commerce, finances and data usage holds a lot of complexity and therefore is inherently difficult to make in a simple fashion while still scoring high on usability tests.
The steps bringing our designs to this final stage have been arduous and many. They include conducting research with people who currently use the myAT&T product where we gain a comprehensive understanding of how it feels to be a person in direct relation with the various attributes of the product.
From there we mapped the connections between attributes and tasks. Understanding what features and components were and/or could be related to each other was key to making an experience that makes sense. Then came development of the wireframes from sketching to digital.
It then got exciting going to meet with a developer and get the creation sized up for a development timeline and then thinking critically and strategically to put those timelines into a roadmap and action plan.
In creating the Feature brief, or final document, the process is to pull the most essential and impactful pieces out from all of those processes and aggregate them into a story. This was the most clear example of always having more information than you can articulate concisely.
It was cool to see how fluent I was in this product. When you’re in the thick of a certain part of the process, its often hard to see the full value of what you gleaned from each step. Creating a Design Strategy Feature Brief is a sure way of making sure that you have dumped each portion of your knowledge on the project at hand, onto the paper or screen in front of you.
In research I was noticing 3 main things:
- The AT&T mobile application is not a place where users go to “hangout” for pleasure.
- The existing in-app experience feels like a conglomerate of different development efforts that have been “patchworked” together.
- Users are confused by the multiple routes there are to the completion of a task.
The first one is pointing towards the PURPOSE of the application. How do people naturally use the thing?
The second one is regarding CONTINUITY. The current state of the application feels like it was trying to cram all of the needed attributes in the experience without thinking about things like flow, continuity, number of steps, recognition vs recall etc.
The 3rd one is regarding the actual FUNCTION of the app. How does it relate with itself? For example: There are 5 different ways a ‘+’ sign is used in the current experience.
These observations informed my design decisions. The abstraction of these observations told me what I should do…
- The product should provide the ability to quickly complete actions
- The product should feel like a cohesive, trusted experience
- The product should provide clear pathways to the tasks users want to complete
All of these behavioral insights and design principles are pointing towards an overarching theme of efficiency and trust being held as the highest values. Therefore with all of my thoughts I was trying to condense information. Provide more streamlined ways of moving through the experience.
The value that I promised to deliver came to this:
I promise to help AT&T customers rapidly accomplish tasks with ease while feeling in control of their account.
This massively influenced my UX and UI decisions. Especially because of the discombobulation of the current experience I was set on making it fluid and easy to be fluent in, as well as quick to develop. I was looking at this project as relatively start-up style. If I was on a guerilla team trying to get this product out to the AT&T customers because the current experience is so “broken”. Therefore I changed much of my navigation to standard iOS components to be able to get it out the door more swiftly.
In considering this drastic of a change. What, really, is a change of company posture and approach. I started to think about how a company would launch a change like this. A Feature brief could be the perfect spot to initiate that kind of conceptual, company perspective change.