Challenge: Our corporate client had noticed that their retail stores were sending customer emails which were conflicting with the marketing team's promotions. Our client wanted a solution that would allow their stores to send branded, customer-facing communications. This was a unique challenge.
Bringing together teams from all over our company, we realized we could build a web-based tool to solve their problem. The new tool would grant limited access to store managers, using a supplied URL and password, to a preselected set of quality newsletter content. Each store could then select the most relevant content and build a newsletter for their store which would then launch on the predetermined date.
Action: To build the newsletter tool, I started by sketching what I knew, then going back through the process from each user's perspective. Whiteboarding the user-flow in this way helped create a clear sense of what the tool needed to accomplish and identify potential problem areas.
The results of the whiteboarding session were reworked into a few charts showing that we had considered the solution from all angles. The most valuable visualization (above right), illustrates how each team was involved in the process. We reviewed it at every client meeting, making updates as the details were ironed out.
The wireframes, a series of maps (sample above) charting user-flows and a clickable prototype in InVision were built next. The prototype was the main form of testing and client approval. Design considerations included ease of use for new users as well as the client's brand guidelines. To make the tool simple to use, gray boxes on the slide prompt the user through the process, and red arrow boxes on the right display warning states if something is missed. The use-case scenario called for a desktop tool, this interface considers touch-based design and will function in a tablet environment as well.
Results: The client was thrilled with the success of the small test run. 13 of the 16 stores chose to participate in the initial send, open and click rates were good and unsubscribe were extremely low. The following month it was rolled out to their complete network of stores.