Solution by Example

AMG needed market data about thier product in order to determine the right positions and features for thier next releases. They had interesting promotional programs to help stimulate customer feedback, but thier online survey was hard to use and inaccurate. Below, was the web form they used this form for approximately 10 years. This roughly produced about 100 valid responses, but nearly 200 invalid ones over this timeframe.

The marketing management team initially thought it was the content which caused the bulk of the issues. Certainly this was one a major issues - requirements for business intellegence requirements typically change along with the business. As well, at a glance, it's easy to see that wasn't the only problem with the form. Between information layout, issues with validation, issues with usability, and needed additional business questions, there was work to be done.

I interviewed the owner, who had deep lab/customer experience, and reviewed existing customer surveys to glean that AMG had two major customers archetypes demarcated by years of experience in lab environments: Cell Culture Grads, and Researchers. Researchers bought microscopes which allowed them to run experiements - however, some experiements were more recently being done in cell culture environments. The product line had a cell culture scope, a hybrid scope, and experiment scope.

The benefit to the customer for completing the opportunity to earn a free gift card (10-50 dollars), share their work, and to learn about additional promotions. The gift card form option (which was choosen nearly 95% of the time) was the big draw for disclosing all that personal info and preferences. We needed to insure the form was easier to read and complete quickly and clearer in terms of what information we wanted from them so we could fix the major issues.

Access to the survey was also buried within a site navigation drawer metaphore which over burdoned sub-structures - it was a needle in a haystack. So they needed a way to quickly choose which survey to fill out by the microscope they had.

Issue 1 Assessability for each persona - they already had a survey selection mechanism but it wasn't exposed to the customers well. The solution was to create simpler dashboard heirarchy to make EVOS Survey and other promotions easier to see - I created a top on the web site where they could quickly access all surveys to choose from. This allowed the sales staff to easily promote the survey with very simple/clear instructions - choose promotions, EVOS Survey. The form allow disambiguation between personas.

Issue 2 Out of Date Business Questions - I asked the team to work with the owner to review the business questions. They came back with quite a few changes and additional questions to boot.

The major issues with usability I found were:

Issue 3 Long scrolling content

Issue 4 Placement of important information (rules and regs at the bottom)

Issue 5 Disorganized information - questions which cause the user to do context switching

Issue 6 Ability to submit the form without needed information.

Asthetically, the form looked quite crude when compared to the rest of the website - out of place.

Issue 7 The design required content chunking between the dash and fat-footer.

Issue 8 Design treatment didn't exist: no use of common theme or consistant design language elements for for buttons or content panes.

Issue 9 Broken functionality - they ability to upload images was simply broken.

Solution Tactics: Match theme and button styles for both content and site navigation, put important information where it needed to be (move rules and regs to top).

Organizing the Input into simple related sections, chunk content to easy usability and integrate into site better. Hide irrelevant information until to becomes relevant - like the Enter Make and Models section belwo which only shows upon selecting specific options.

Introduce feedback mechanism for page-by-page validation and survey progress, page progress indicators

Fix broken functionality (image upload, reporting), insure proper flow and state of information per page. Allow the user to go back and change answers

Enable additional functionality such as further access to other promotions for completing the first - provide good anthropromorphic language on page dialog.

The survey was met with great success from customer, sales staff, and the owner. Invalid submissions dropped to zero and an increase in submissions was visible right off the bat.