PGi, or Premiere Global Services, Inc., is a corporation specialized in the creation of software that specifically provides conferencing and collaboration solutions. Its products include audio conferencing, web conferencing, webcasting, videoconferencing and virtual meeting solutions such as iMeet and GlobalMeet. The integrated GlobalMeet application was introduced in 2010, and has been one of the most successful products to come from PGis design and development teams. This case study focuses on showcasing how an effective design process brought a unified vision and convergence to a product that had different development efforts (and teams). It also aims to highlight how a holistic point of view can bring success and convergence of efforts amongst diversified teams (and benefit and empower different team members).
1. Defining the GlobalMeet application. Exploring how the product behaves, which clients it caters to, and get a general and intricate understanding of the entire software suite provided by PGi. Showcasing and explaining the existence of a roadmap, how tickets are placed in existence and how new features are placed in the upcoming pipeline (and backlog).
GlobalMeet is a web conferencing tool, which enables groups of participants (up to 125) to host virtual meetings and web conferences. These meetings can easily be scheduled and be attended on any of the platforms that this application exists, which includes desktop, web, mobile (IOS, Android and Blackberry). Prior to my involvement in the design process, the entire design of the application was done externally to the company. With the need to converge and create a design center for all their applications (in order to benefit from the synergy of efforts across different teams), PGi decided to bring the design of all their products internally. I was hired specifically to tackle the GlobalMeet product and to collaborate with my peers and fellow team members to bring a successful process and approach to the application specifically, and merge insight into the general process of all the applications. The product had already a fairly large adoption rate, with clients in existence throughout the world (such as Bank of America and Deutsche Telekom for instance). The roadmap was established quarterly and included features that were discussed with clients. All of these items were then further detailed into actionable items, streamlined through stories that were placed within Atlassian’s Jira as tickets.
2. Researching. Understanding the universe of videoconferencing software. What are the requirements, what are the constraints, and how users go through the process of onboarding, creating accounts, sharing and adding members to the meetings.
The videoconferencing world is ripe with different types of products. There are products that cater specifically to a more conversational utilization, such as Google Hangouts and Skype, and there are others that are in the same vertical segment as GlobalMeet, products that are illustrated in this section and that are definitely more focused on an enterprise level initiative (which definitely also veer off into different types of scale in terms of meeting participants) . Verifying what other companies within this industry are doing, gives insight into common industry metaphors and jargon, allowing insight into languages that the user has familiarized himself with through repeated usage. Understanding requirements, functional, legal and otherwise, allows for the design concepts to be representative of what is realistically needed, still keeping in mind the design principles that guide the team’s philosophy. Also at this point there is a definite insight into the personas that use the product, and how new features and new associate products align with what user journeys have been defined.
3. Sketching and iterating. This section specifically Illustrates how the process evolves from sketches through more formal annotated wireframes. Collaborating, iterating, across the multiple platforms, with the different teams, allows for a holistic view of the features being tackled, simultaneously giving all the teams a perspective of the direction the product is going to.
One crucial step for the improvement of the design process for GlobalMeet, was the unification of efforts from the different teams working across different platforms. Through sketch exercises and through ample discussion of wireframes, there was a much needed perspective in terms of where the product was headed, and how the roadmap needed to reflect the upcoming changes that the product was going to experience. This was a change in the process of going from a platform centric perspective, to a general product perspective, focused on elevating the general user experience across the board, and not solely on a specific platform.
4. Producing deliverables, artefacts, defining consistency, gathering user feedback and generally elevating the experience of GlobalMeet. Using a strategically devised visual design concept and diverse functional prototypes, gathering immediate feedback from users, this component represents a convergence of all the steps taken beforehand across all the platforms in existence.
One of the issues plaguing GlobalMeet was the lack of coherence in terms of both the interface and functional aspects of the different applications. Through the previous steps there was a clear identification of the issues, and solutions that were brought forth in order to remove these obvious friction points for the users. This section represents a series of initiatives in terms of achieving consistency across the different platforms, namely through the execution of extensive product guidelines, prototypes which highlighted the functionality of key features and generally achieving a much needed convergence in terms of design and development efforts across all the teams. The results of these initiatives were quickly measured in terms of testing feedback, and of course in terms of the response from clients, both loyal and new ones who were vocal in their acceptance of our product initiatives.
Check the visual representation of this Case Study below.