Rethinking our designs
We went back to the drawing board with our design. For me, this was a great lesson in not always listening to what your users say they want, but rather observing their process and deciding yourself what they need.
We started by reducing the size of the main display. It was too large and users were getting lost in the page. We pared it down and added a sidebar to collect user inputs which would offer them feedback as they progressed through the form.
Simplifying the form structure
The second stage of the form is where most users got frustrated during the first round of testing. It was overwhelming, complicated and tried to cater to every type of user, rather than the property managers and small business owners we were supposed to be targeting.
By simplifying the inputs, we excluded the more seasoned professionals such as construction and facilities managers, but we improved the user experience for our target groups by a substantial margin.
The one page, accordion structure seemed like a nice idea in theory, and it’s something that our users had indicated they would like in our initial research. However, when it actually came to putting it in front of them this structure was confusing and jarring.
We reorganised the entire form structure into a stepped, paginated process. User feedback ratings should that this structure was far more easy to follow and understand. Our test participants knew immediately what area of the form they were currently in and how many sections were left to complete.
Designing for a smaller screen
Whilst designing mobile screens was not part of the scope of our project, we decided to mock up a few key screens to show how elements could be translated from the desktop version to a smaller device. The use case for mobile is particularly compelling for our property manager persona.
Our research showed us that this type of user commonly realises their tenants or clients are breaching fire code when they are visiting the property for a different reason. By having an easily navigable mobile form, the property manager could order new products right there and then without worrying whether or not the tenant would do it later. This is an area where Pyroweb could really gain a competitive advantage over other service providers in the area, whose mobile experiences were not the most pleasant.
From left to right: Henrichsen, Martin Mack and Illinois Fire © Safety all give users an awful online experience. The text is barely legible, input fields and buttons are unusable and mobile was clearly an afterthought for these companies.
I came up with some designs that were more suitable to mobile screens. They show the key information from the desktop interface, while allowing for easier input on smaller screens.
After presenting our research and designs to Marco, we offered him some recommendations for which direction to take this product going forward which he gladly took on board.
We advised him to conduct a rigorous audit of his sales process. If possible it would be beneficial to reduce the steps necessary to give an accurate quote to as few as possible. To maximise conversions it would be necessary to decide which information was absolutely essential to include.
Depending on the inputs users enter during the process, it may not be possible to offer a quote. We encouraged him to allow users to continue through the form even in those cases. With the correct content, users who couldn’t pass through the form could be converted to a closed sale with a simple phone call to clarify the missing data points.
A big part of Pyroweb’s business strategy was to upsell additional products that weren’t necessary under fire code but could minimise loss of or damage to expensive equipment in the case of a fire. We urged Marco to carefully think about where to place the upgrade options to minimise the negative on his users’ experience.
Pyroweb is currently working with a UI team to bring our user research and design to life and plans to implement our work by Q3 2017. By that stage we hope to see users able to go through this entire flow on the fire-extinguisher.net website.
Marco was very happy with the and had already showcased our prototype to his business partners. The week after our project finished Marco was pitching Pyroweb to venture capitalists and used our product as part of his company expansion showcase.