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Info & Service Delivery System (Smart Wuxi & Wireless Suzhou)

Citi should serve all the citizens who live in
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About

This system is intended to help citizens access services and information in a quick and easy way without downloading multiple apps, registering multiple accounts that they can barely remember their passwords. Smart Wuxi and Wireless Suzhou are two comsumer apps based on such system.

1. Research

2. Design

3. Development

1. Research

Research includes face to face interview, and user needs analysis, feedback check, online surveys, and observations.

2. Design

This design covers all the phrases that a design process should typically include. Wireframes were created with Illustrator and Sketch, high fidelity mockups were created with Sketch and Photoshop, and interactive prototype was created by Principle, together with After Effects which was used to created interaction animation.

3. Development

I was not involved in the development of the iOS app and Andriod app, however, I developed a demo page.

Project Details

Client: Wuxi Broadcast & TV Group

Date: 2015 - Present

Online: See App Store

Two consumer products are available on iOS and Andriod. A new strategy, which was age responsive design was advanced for this project.
A system was set up to support consumer products and offer great flexibility to customize user's needs, with development of Artificial Intelligence, our system can even be closer integrated to the front end prducts and offer more features and functionalities.

Behind The Scene, In Great Details

User Experience Design, User Interface Design, User Research, Prototyping, Wireframe, Mockup, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Web Development

Introduction

On this page, I try not to emphasize the design process as I usually do, but to elaborate the thinking process on how I solved the problems and what were the pitfalls and tricks to solve them. I will show you how I see the whole picture of this problem and how to dissect it into small pieces. It is of course not a “one skill solves all problems” technique, however I do hope this could bring you some alternatives for your future problem solving skills. Without further ado, let us jump right in!


What Did I Do

I functioned as a User Experience Designer and Project Manager from time to time, specifically, I did the following:

  • Daily UX designer routine including user research, feedback review, wireframes, mockups, prototyping, product analysis
  • Supervised progress of products and set product goals, and to perform + and – on functionality

Key Concepts

Age-Responsive design: Our product implements age responsive design, that is, for people in different age, they have the choice of customizing different features.

Artificial Intelligent supported: Our product is set to be AI supported in the next release.


Motto

A city should care everyone who live in


Background

Mobile arises! With smart phones getting popular and popular in China, people are experiencing an innovation that changes fundamental of their life. According to iiMedia Research, the amount of people who uses smart phone has reached 655 million, covered 50% of the population, and till 2018, nearly 66% of the population is projected to be covered. The following table may give you a sense of such changes:

Now a question is advanced, what can we do for people live in Wuxi who has a smart phone?


What can we do specifically (to help them)?

Ahhh, this is a typical designer question that we have to ask ourselves when we are facing design challenges. A simple solution to answer ourselves about what we can do is to ask them directly and feel the pain that they feel: so we decided to walk on the street and ask them directly on what they think and feel for the status quo.

"I have trouble to pay my electricity bills. I do not have a car and I have to walk and take a bus and spend 2 hours each month to just pay for it and get bill details. My legs are not as functional as I was young (laugh), I think I need a feature through which I could pay my bills easily."

Mr. Chen, 67, Male, Retired Face to face interview

“I like reading news and it makes me knowledgeable. Current news apps are designed for national news or international news, but no good apps for local news. Can you believe that?”

Ms. Wang, 24, Female, Office Clerk Face to face interview

"I wish I can collect promotions and coupons in a much easier way, and I think a lot of people need it."

Mrs. Zhang, 32, Female, House Wife Face to face interview

We received hundreds of user feedback by simply asking them on the street, and it provided us a rough mind of what we can do next. It is a good start, but not enough. So we also designed online surveys and detailed face to face interviews. We analyzed almost every single piece of the feedback and we found the following facts:

  1. Interviewees constantly mentioned some keywords like “I think”, “I wish”, “I believe”, “It might” etc, which indicates they clearly knew what they wanted, although it casted with a layer of hesitation.
  2. Seniors did not feel safe when it comes to technology, they had fears to the terms “virus”, “malware” etc and they can hardly know how to use each app for each service. Furthermore, there are no apps for some services even. WeChat solved some problems, but not in a so easy way.
  3. The needs for each user are quite different, yet some are similar.

What we can conclude

Great, now that we had so many data at hand and did a preliminary analysis on it, we can have a clear goal for which our system should be targeted:

  1. Customization. Different people need different services. With millions of users, it is important to let them customize the features and services, probably with some tutorials.
  2. Security. We need to design a system that could be easily used, yet very secure to our users. We need to give them full control when it comes to services related to money, yet the authentication should be simplified, preferably within just a few steps. How? We do not know yet.
  3. Simple. Hide what they do not need, and present them the information they need in a simplified yet elegant way.

MindMapping

Mindmapping is a great skill to help designer analyze and distill key information hidden in the research and layout all the information in a structural way. I did not translate all the Chinese version mindmapping here but instead show you some of my mindmaps:


A Function Analysis

Here I took just one single function out to fully analyze it and show you how our design works. This function is called one click pay, which means you can just click one button to pay your bills within app, with extra security features, of course.

We walked through the old fashion way to pay electricity bills, which we created the following scenario:

  1. Wang received his electricity bills
  2. He needs to download electricity company’s app
  3. He needs to register an account
  4. He needs to input his account information, together with bank account information
  5. He clicks pay

It seems not complex so far, just some routine process when you need to use a certain service. However, it is not only the electricity bills that he needs to pay: He needs to repeat all the steps to pay his water bills, gas bills, phone bills, insurance bills etc. Even worse, for some services, there is even no way for him to pay electronically. What a disaster.

This is where our reimagination begins: How about we establish a system and provide different services to Wang with just one time set up? Would it be convenient for him to pay various bills by just clicking the button once without downloading all the apps and creating all the accounts, which cannot be even remembered.

Yes we do, thanks to China’s Real-ID Policy, under which a user needs to use his real ID to register any services. Since our user Wang has a phone, and consequently has a phone number with his Real ID registered with phone company, we can easily use phone number as an anchor to hook all other services under his name. Without compromising the security and privacy, we also came up an idea of using incoming voice or SMS to confirm the payment. Incoming voice and SMS are all free in China so it would not have any extra cost. Below is a simplified recreation of such pattern.


Simplicity, Simplicity and Simplicity

One goal for almost all usable designs is to streamline certain kind of process, and ours is no exception. How to intuitively measure such improvement is a challenge for me. In order to be more specific (of course I cannot simply feel it is simplified), I calculated clicks for a certain most frequently used tasks on the old version app and did the same on the new one. Here is the comparison I got for most frequently used features on our front end product:


Try it out

This app is Chinese language only and currently available on iOS and Andriod platform. Please search Smart Wuxi in the store. Also Wireless Suzhou is a sister app created under the similar system and design.


Impact

Before we released our product, we had a little over 1 million users. After we released our new design, we had around 43% new user acquisition increase and 36% positive feedback increase within the first 180 days. Below is a diagram showing how it was trending between Year 2015 to Year 2016.

"I LOVE the new design as I can customize what I need! It is my daily app now!"

Anonymous User Direct Feedback

"Wow, cannot ask for more."

Anonymous User Direct Feedback

Reflection

Through the whole project, I sometimes feel hard on how to create deeper relationship between our product and users. I do not see our product as a single product, rather I see our product as a nexus between users and the services / information they want to reach: a natual connection binds each side. I tried to solve this problem by always thinking from user's perspective and analyzing their natural conversations with me to see if I can find some unfound or ignored.


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