Wolters Kluwer sought to address issues with one of its products, Lippincott CoursePoint+. Openfield helped them identify problems which led to a realignment of the user flow to match the mental model of its instructor user base. In addition to helping them solve specific challenges with the product, we identified new UX processes that have resulted in them adopting new viewpoints and practices that will improve team efficiency and user satisfaction across their product suites.
Part of the Wolters Kluwer Health products and services portfolio, Lippincott CoursePoint+ is a powerfully integrated, digital learning environment that combines tools, case studies, real-time data and the most trusted nursing education content on the market to elevate student success and preparedness for the transition to practice.
With more than 19,000 employees serving customers in over 180 countries around the world, Wolters Kluwer (WK) is a global provider of professional information, software solutions, and services for clinicians, nurses, accountants, lawyers, tax specialists, and finance, audit, compliance, and regulatory sectors
- Instructors are used to thinking in terms of the classes they teach. But CoursePoint+ was organized by publication. Because of how things were organized by publication, instructors had to go in and out of multiple areas within the product.
- Across the product suite, there was a lack of consistency in the user experiences as many different ways of dealing with the same challenge resulted from an ad hoc approach over the years.
- The client needed a way to effectively collect, prioritize and act upon the ideas of many players representing different viewpoints on what the positive and negatives of the product were.
- Thorough research and testing is key to understanding your user base’s unique set of expectations that are based on their own well-worn mental models. If the way your product works runs counter to those, it will create frustration that can lead to abandonment.
- Users want consistency from feature to feature or product to product. They are happy when they already know how to do something because they’ve learned how it works elsewhere. They are frustrated when frustrated when they have to relearn new ways of doing the same thing.
- “Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same, users don’t have to worry about what will happen.”— Jakob Nielsen Source
From the User …
- “I think about things in terms of the classes I teach, not the publications I use so it’s not organized the way I would expect it to be.”
- “Currently the way I have to find my students’ scores is so time consuming. There are way too many steps.”
From the Product Team …
- “We need a better way to get data on our users actual pain points.”
- “Requesting access to the product is cumbersome for our users. Our sales force doesn’t have the time to set everything up for them. We need to change the catalog to make it easier for our users to request products on their own”.
- “We’re concerned that the existing experience is not reflecting well on our brand.”
We identified two broad categories for improvements. We’re helping address specific product issues that were causing friction points in the latest release of CoursePoint+ while simultaneously helping to bring a new level of best practice UX process to the way WK teams work.
First order of business: Improving process to increase efficiency and allow the clients to focus on their core responsibilities.
When we began working with them, we observed the WK team tackling not only the responsibilities associated with their core functions, but also many UX activities that should fall to the UX research and design teams. We helped them learn how they could separate what they were doing from what they could ask us to do. The resulting process opened up their bandwidth to allow them to focus on the things they had to do.
The approach is enabling greater efficiency and focus on team oversight and longer term vision planning.
UX audit and benchmarking – identifying problem areas in the product.
We began our work with a thorough UX audit of the existing product to familiarize ourselves with various issues and problem areas. We then conducted benchmarking research showing how both competitors and analogous product experiences dealt with similar challenges.
We then led a truncated one-day Google Sprint work session (typically conducted over five days) to quickly extract perspectives from various groups within Wolters Kluwer.
In the Google Sprint exercise, we brought together representatives from internal product, marketing, sales and engineering teams to share their unique stories of product successes and failures. In the course of the work session, user flows were mapped out, problems were identified and solutions were explored. During lightning talks, six main business goals were identified into which potential solutions, or “How Might We” statements (HMWs), were organized. Following that exercise, we created thematic groupings where HMWs could be converted into manageable bundles of tasks that could be undertaken as projects.
With the goal of informing the creation of a working roadmap we helped them prioritize issues and solutions into manageable projects.
Using the HMWs created by the team, we developed a detailed matrix showing which problems and solutions touched the most business goals set forth by the company. Solution sets were then grouped into prioritized projects that would be approved and kicked off.
We led user testing that revealed a major disconnect between the product experience and instructors’ mental models.
Instructors shared that they do not think about their workflow in terms of what publications they use. The are course-centric in the way they approach their work. The product, however, was organized by publication with courses being a subset of publications. This meant instructors had to drill down into various different publications to access the course content they needed.
By pulling courses up a level, we flipped the context to what mattered to them most. Where courses had been a subset of data under publications, they are now accessible at the top level, which has streamlined the experience. The new dashboard view allows instructors to see all content, assignments, grades and rosters in one place.
We introduced system thinking to reduce user confusion and increase product development efficiency.
We identified an opportunity for improvement through consistency. WK faced a similar challenge that we see with clients who have multiple products in their portfolio. Years of development by different product teams, acquisitions and integrations with multiple 3rd-party content providers led to inconsistent ux paradigms and patterns across their product suites, and at times, within a single product.
Openfield is working with WK to implement consistent UX patterns that cover all aspects of the user experience, including visual cues, behavior and interaction cues. The approach is a win-win for users and product teams alike.
- For students and instructors: Much less effort is now required to learn new products and feature sets when they already recognize the way things work.
For product teams: It’s costly to reinvent solutions over and over again – those who utilize standards are more efficient than those who don’t.
- Instructors now have direct access to the information that’s important to them which reduces time spent on course management tasks.
- New user flow gives instructors a complete view of their students’ performance.
- Unified the brand and user experience through creation of a robust design system — a system of UI components and UX patterns that builds shared context and consistency across a wide range of student and instructor activities.