SUBWAY, WICKR, AN ENERGY COMPANY, & NUVENTS
Engagements focused on pushing creativity within a brand, exploring core functionality, and setting direction & winning over key stakeholders before development sprints begin for that project. These projects typically last for less than a month.
PROJECT 01 -
Refreshing Brand & Experience in unison -
I was pulled onto this pitch during the discovery / experimental phase to take a currently developing re-brand (from agency Turner Duckworth) and apply it to the Subway app. The rebrand still needed to be interpreted for digital, and it needed a heavy emphasis on cleanliness, usability and a re-consideration of modern user needs.
For a few weeks I led the visual overhaul while our Interaction team worked to experiment with different feature sets as the client themselves led user research (a very unique and also challenging situation).
Created at Fjord | UI Design • Christine Soules, Danni Kirchoff, Jesse Sims
UX Design • Ansa Astonishen, Brit Clapper, Mike Edwards
Recreating an in person experience -
Ordering at Subway is different than ordering at most restaurants, and we didn't want to lose that human-to-human, creative experience.
The backbone of the app is the sandwich builder. In the real world, a customer can tell a sandwich artist "just a dash of that" or "please make sure nothing even touches an onion." Sliders for ingredient amounts, badges to symbolize popular requests, and the ability to make notes on each ingredient individually gives customers an experience where they feel in control.
Fast casual dining even faster -
Food pre-ordering apps serve one real purpose -saving time. We wanted the app to be fun and showcase and strengthen the Subway brand, but if it's not faster than going into a store and waiting in line, nobody is going to use it.
The new brand was full of bold shapes and blocks of color, and I wanted that to be carried through to the interface. Navigation and administrative tasks like editing settings needed to be simplified as much as possible to ensure the app didn't feel like a chore.
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PROJECT 02 -
Wickr Secure Chat
Building a meaningful relationship on top of trust -
When I first started working with Wickr, they had built a completely functional product with security strong enough for the most challenging clients in the military and in politics. However, to expand their target user base, the missing pieces were approachability and usability.
Corporate customers had started coming to them with an interest in the security of the Wickr platform. However, it was also important for these clients that software their employees were using had the same friendliness and modern feel that is becoming expected of consumer products.
Freelance for Wickr | Product Design • Christine Soules | Creative Direction • Dom Bellia
Pushing the corporate limits -
I started with quick concepts based on different illustration styles and levels of playfulness with the Creative Director to see how far I could push the style that would eventually be seen by the larger internal team, and then pitched to potential customers.
It was important to me to not default to a style that is too commonly used in corporate software currently, because it would feel dated more quickly.
Pushing too far, and then finding ways to simplify is always at the beginning of my process. It forces me to not fall back on old styles, and also helps build collaboration between creative and other internal or client stakeholders.
Exploring branding to improve usability -
When I started, there were only two real branding elements. Their logo, with the two diagonal lines, and the colors orange and shades of gray.
Overall the app looked muddy. There wasn't a good way to create helpful visual hierarchy, sizing was small overall and it looked very out dated.
I kept orange as the primary brand color, and added an extended palette to add personality and also be used for content structure. I used bold black type with clear hierarchy, and plenty of spacing to improve legibility.
Expanding and scaling the design strategy -
We explored how this design system would be built out through a desktop app as well. I wanted to make sure that the more playful elements still showed through, but that they did not create a jumbled feeling with the expanded screen real estate.
We reviewed with the internal team and got very strong opinions both positive and negative. We ultimately came to the conclusion that the best solution would be to provide customers with different skins, so they could choose a feel that best fit their own internal brand and values.
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PROJECT 03 -
Mid-Sized Energy Company
Changing the world begins with changing behavior.
Our client came to us with the challenge of having a very large and very diverse user base that all have the same goal: to reduce their power consumption to save both money and energy. Their goal was to provide users with a tool that is “convenient, personalized, human and social.”
It was important that we made the app educational, easy to use, and interactive in a way that would train people into slowly changing habits in the physical world.
Created at Fjord | UI Design • Christine Soules | UX Design • Sara Wells
Managing power usage at a glance -
The dashboard surfaces the most contextually relevant info for users, and provides alerts with immediate action items.
The goal is to represent and compare both long term and short term data, to show users how small changes eventually add up. Data is compared on the timeline of an individual, as well as how their energy use compares to others in their community. Both personal and community goals can be set based on tracked data, which results in rewards for the user.
Setting realistic goals for energy use -
Measuring savings in kWh doesn’t mean a lot for many users, and daily energy-saving habits can feel completely insignificant. We provide a tool that gives customers recommendations on things they can do to help reduce their consumption and how it affects their bill.
Contextual tips, product recommendations and realistic examples of what energy savings in their community means on a larger scale will make users’ goals realistic. Tips are taken from the user’s lifestyle profile, which tracks metrics such as the users climate, home size, connected smart devices, and if they have pets, children or elderly family members.
Rethinking the customer service experience -
Some people want quick and automated help; some people just want to talk to a person. Our help center lets them choose, and either way skips the line so they never have to listen to elevator music again.
They can call or message a customer service rep (getting on a wait list through the app), or they can use the Power Buddy siri integration to ask questions quickly. The user will have the ability to rate and save favorite representatives that they can get on a wait list for if they are available that day. This will not only improve the user’s experience but also their trust and loyalty to the company.
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Project 04 -
Reimagining small event planning -
Working with the startup behind NuVents was a completely experimental, from the ground up project. The vision was to create a tool to organize events both for friends and meeting new people, all in one app that solved for the fragmentation of event planning between other social tools.
My task was to get help them refine their thinking and create striking visuals to get attention from investors. I worked with them to completely re-brand the company as well as create a basic framework for key functionality of their app.
Blurring the line between digital and in person interaction -
The Nuvents team wanted their brand to be perceived as youthful and modern, but also very simple. The problem they wanted to solve was how fragmented event planning currently is, and how hard it still is to use online event planning as a true way to connect strangers and build relationships.
Like what has happened with online dating because of apps like Tindr and Bumble, the goal was to normalize and remove the stigma of making friends online.
THE BROWSING EXPERIENCE
Different ways to browse for different types of users -
We know that different people, and even the same person in different contexts, think differently. Some people know a category they are interested in, some want to stay in or explore a certain area, and some people just want to know what all of their options are.
Through a system of tabs we provide users a way to explore based on their immediate wants.
Streamlining group chat, DMs and announcements -
We wanted the social interaction to be a group chat, not a forum. There is something very intimidating about being the first person, or a new person, to post on a permanent and public feeling message board.
We utilize the contextual action button to make chat accessible throughout the experience, so users don't feel like they have to use two separate apps to plan and communicate.