O2 World Chat
O2 World Chat Case Study
Case study: O2 World Chat
Streamlined on-boarding that communicates purpose
Date & Duration: 2 weeks, May 2017
Team: Kevin Smith, Charles Newsam, Spencer Spottiswade
My role: competitive analysis, user research, design studio, prototyping, visual design, presentation
My team worked with O2 to take a new look at the on-boarding for their World Chat app. Although World Chat has 150,000 registered users, it has a 84% bounce rate after installation.
During a 2 week design sprint we conducted competitive analysis, user research, and created personas to take the design from initial sketches to high fidelity prototype.
Several rounds of testing and iteration resulted in a new on-boarding flow, which better explained the benefits of the app and encouraged the user to start using immediately. Additionally, the design gently nudged the user towards first top up, making the conversion to a monetised user.
The existing on-boarding in the app was bloated, uninspiring and failed to communicate World Chat’s USPs. A series of static screens featuring a marketing video that took the user outside of the app, it offered no guidance once inside the app and left users clueless. The result was a bounce rate of 84% after initial sign up.
O2 believed that an improved on-boarding flow could communicate the purpose of the app better to first time users and encourage repeat usage and top-up conversion.
Static screens with universal iconography and simple text combine with timely notifications to engage and inform the user unobtrusively.
Additionally, the design gently nudges the user towards first top up, making the conversion to a monetised user.
A redesigned on-boarding flow using fewer static screens, keeping the user in-app. Improved graphics and copy better explain the benefits of the app and encourage the user to start using immediately.
We kicked the project off with a project canvas to map out the task ahead, to understand the scope of the project and to identify the constraints.
One of the most obvious constraints facing our team was that Spencer was working remotely from the West Coast of the US. We were going to have to be smart with our communication and handovers.
We then jumped into some competitive analysis of both network and internet calling apps to see how they sign up and on-board new users.
We felt the most effective on-boarding flows were light on static screens up front and featured intelligent guidance within the app.
It was interesting to find that the majority displayed their unique selling points clearly and offered a low barrier of entry.
Finding the users
We knew that World Chat's three largest user nationalities were Polish (by a long way), India and Nigeria. However, as we didn't have direct access to existing users of the app, it was going to be a challenge to do valuable research with target users.
We posted a screener survey on ethnic community pages on social media platforms such as Facebook and Reddit to access foreign nationals living in the UK who make calls to their home countries.
From the 38 responses to the screener survey we were able to organise eight interviews with a range of users of varying ages, nationalities and tech know-how. We particularly wanted to learn more about their experiences calling abroad, their feelings about on-boarding in apps, and their thoughts on the existing World Chat App.
“I skip on-boarding screens if it feels like too much effort. On-boarding needs to happen passively so I can stay focussed.”
The key takeaways from the interviews were that:
- users don't pay much attention to information up front
- they want to get into the app and be able to start using it quickly
- they often don't understand the benefits of using the World Chat app
To make sense of the interview findings we conducted an Affinity Mapping exercise, which looked for common themes in the responses. These helped us focus on the core issues to address moving forward.
We crafted personas to gain a deeper understanding of users' needs and pain points.
They reflected World Chat's greatest users (foreign, under 30, working in the UK) and also the less common user (British, older, retired), who we found also to have a need for the app. Once we had focussed on our key persona we were able to create scenarios and an experience map to detail the emotional journey of using the app.
Moving into the ideation phase we wanted to find ways of encouraging the user to start using the app immediately as a first time user, without frustrating him. I led a design studio with O2 Product Manager, Jon, at General Assembly to find solutions, followed by a second transatlantic design studio with Charles and Spencer.
Key ideas that emerged included tool tips for guiding the user within the app, static screens to communicate the benefits and USPs more clearly, making the 5 free minutes more evident with a confirmation button, and a personalised set up to engage the user and increase investment in the product.
We had some big questions about what should go into the paper prototype design: where should the user land after the static screens? At what point does the user need to know about the 5 free minutes? How do we incentivise the user to make the first monetary top up? We found the answers to these questions once we got into our first round of testing with users.
To decide where the user should land, we A/B tested two possible flows - one landing the user on the balance screen, one on the contacts. We found that most users liked being landed on the contacts screen because from there they could make a call more quickly.
"A simple test early—while you still have time to use what you learn from it—is almost always more valuable than a sophisticated test later."
Revealing the free 5 minutes
We felt that the user should know about the free five minutes before they carry out any tasks because it effects those tasks. However we didn’t include it in the static screens because on-boarding best practice suggests progressive disclosure in context is more effective.
After initially displaying the free minutes as a pop-up which had to be dismissed, in later iterations we designed it as a notification with a greyed-out screen to highlight its importance. The pop-up had worried users because, in the absence of a button to acknowledge the information, they felt that they may lose the free minutes after dismissing it.
Both our initial research and findings from users told us that it is best practice to keep on-boarding to a minimum, and that static screens aren’t the best way to guide a user in a new app. However, the results of our interviews and prototype testing revealed the need to communicate both the concept of World Chat and its unique selling points more clearly.
So we redesigned the static screens with engaging graphics to hook users and to reinforce why they should use World Chat. Colour and style-wise, we kept the branding consistent with the existing app so that it blends in and feels part of a whole.
A streamlined on-boarding flow which communicates the benefits and USPs of the World Chat App with simple language and universal graphics. By landing the user on the contacts screen, where the five free minutes is also displayed, it allows them to jump straight in and make a call.
Members of the O2 innovation team were extremely pleased with the result and plan to consider the design for future implementation.
Two weeks gave us just enough time to explore the core issues linked to the on-boarding in the World Chat App. However, with more time we would like to explore the following areas to develop the app even further:
A more visual way to onboard non-English speakers
Gameification of the top up process or promotional first top-up amount
Highlight location-specific daytime hours
Improve World Chat App Store description
I'm generally satisfied with the solution we produced in the two-week design period, considering the constraints of the project.
We proved through testing that our on-boarding flow communicated the purpose of the app better and allowed users to start using more quickly and easily, while maintaining brand consistency. However, I feel that a bolder visual approach in terms of colours and graphics - and possibly some animation - could have created a more engaging solution.
Additionally, I feel that returning to some of the original target users we initially interviewed and tested with our design during the later stages of prototyping would have strengthened it - either by validating it or allowing us to iterate further.
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