Portugal Telecom (known as PT in Portugal), the largest and oldest telecom company in Portugal, has many different brands and identities. In order to manage services within each PT division, business customers must log into a separate website for each one. Our goal was to provide a one-stop hub for PT customers to access all of their services, and to provide a singular identity for all of PT’s company sub-divisions.
After meeting with the client to agree on the focus of the project, we began the user research phase of the project. We used a combination of methods like contextual inquiries and retrospective walkthroughs, and less frequently, MakeTools and cultural probes.
We conducted research with a total of 21 users in small, medium, and large companies in Madeira. In the contextual inquiries and retrospective walkthroughs, we focused on how participants manage their telecom services. In order to identify the most common PT client concerns, we gave cultural probes to PT client managers (sales agents who also have customer service duties) and asked them to note the nature of each client call they received over a 2-week period.
After finishing user research we began to consolidate our data. This involved extracting observations, breakdowns, and insights from the individual work models we had made for each contextual inquiry / interview we had conducted, and sorting our findings into an affinity diagram. We also made a consolidated model in order to generalize our findings from each individual work model from each interview. Condensing our data allowed us to see important patterns in how businesses manage telecom services.
Our research revealed that all sizes of companies want to be able to check their bills and usage — even before the end of the billing period — in order to prevent surprise charges. Large businesses rely heavily on client managers and often overwhelm them with routine requests, like checking the details of a contract or checking on employee usage. Companies also want to be able to customize both their services and the way they manage services to fit the size of the company and the amount and type of services the company has.
In order to come up with a solution that would be valuable to both PT and its enterprise customers, it was important to consider both the user and business needs. In creating a portal for business customers, PT hoped to reduce calls to its call center and to its client managers. Many participants we interviewed hoped to take care of routine task like changing a plan, reporting a technical problem, or checking contract details without calling a client manager or the call center.
Our consideration of user and business needs led us to develop 3 concepts of client-PT interaction that would reduce calls to PT:
- Self-Management: Users manage and monitor services by themselves.
- Partnership: In order to make communication more efficient, PT provides a context for a client’s call, like a circuit number or a ticket number.
- PT Initiative: PT pre-empts a client’s call by alerting the client about bills or technical failures.
The team conducted 3 rounds of user testing with a total of 15 participants. The team used each successive round’s feedback to further iterate on our prototype. In the first round of user testing, the team used low-fidelity sketches. Users were presented with sketches of four different navigations and asked to perform a list of tasks. The goal was to discover the user’s mental model for completing the tasks and which navigation style they preferred. Based on user feedback the team merged the best qualities of the four navigations and proceeded to a higher fidelity.
In the second round of user testing we used keynote to make interactive PDFs of our screens, which were then loaded onto the iPad. This allowed users to interact with prototype (via touch-based gestures) in the same way they would interact with the final application. The goal of this round was to gather further information on how users accomplish telecom management tasks and how task structure in our app may differ from a user’s preferred or usual method of completing tasks.
The third and final round of user testing marked the rollout of the functional prototype. In this round, the fully designed app was coded in Objective C and loaded onto the iPad. The goal of this round was to fine-tune the interaction details, and see how users responded to the complete look and feel of the application.
Flattened information hierarchy
The home page provides one-tap access to all of the most important functions of the portal, a visualization of company-wide usage, the status of all requests, a list of all company services, current and upcoming bills, and buttons to make new requests for services or repairs.
Intuitive Design Metaphors
Different company services are represented by folder icons, which reference real physical folders often used by telecom managers to organize documents.
Scalability and Flexibility
The name, number, and categorization of folders are customizable depending on the number and type of services a company has.
Immediate Feedback on Request Status
On the front page users can see the status and progress of all requests they have made to PT.
All of these features serve the design goal of reducing the amount of calls that business customers need to make to PT client managers or the customer support line.
Web and Documentation Lead
Conducted User Research | Made Work Models | Designed Low and Medium-Fidelity Prototypes | Conducted User Testing | Produced and both cumulative semester reports | Designed and Coded Website
Contextual Inquiry | Think-Alouds | Prototyping | Wizard of Oz | Wireframing | Iterative Design | Usability Testing | Omnigraffle | Keynotopia | InDesign | Illustrator | Photoshop
http://portal.m-iti.org/ (My first hand-coded website!)
HCI Capstone Project