Designing for the Future of Work

Launched, 2019 🚀

A Toronto startup set out to tackle the problem of disengaged remote work culture. The mission was to normalize remote work. After grueling months of sweat and tears, the team launched Whiip, a visual employee platform that makes intro's between employees based on interests and skills.

And I was the founding designer at Whiip.

This is us! We worked hard (but mostly having fun 😛)

Problem

Remote teams are disengaged as they work more, but receive less support

soltion

Make intro’s between employees based on skills & goals, and improve collaborative culture

Impact

In Oct 2019, we validated our idea by launching pilots with 10 SMB's & users made 110+ connections on our platform

Problem

Remote teams are disengaged as they work more, but receive less support

soltion

Make intro’s between employees based on skills & goals, and improve collaborative culture

Impact

In Oct 2019, we validated our idea by launching pilots with 10 SMB's & users made 110+ connections on our platform

stack

Go, React, Typescript, PostgresSQL, Figma

Startup

User Research

Product Thinking

Interaction Design

Visual Design

Problem at Scale

159%

Growth in remote work
since 2005

Global Workplace Analytics

85%

Of global workers are disengaged from work

State of the Global Workplace (Gallup)

$7 T

In lost productivity due to
disengaged workers

State of the Global Workplace (Gallup)

Global Problem: Remote work is on the rise, yet more workers are becoming disengaged. Moreover, remote workers are 2X more likely to become highly stressed than on-site workers. This results in a productivity loss ($7T) and profit loss for the businesses.

Our Own Problem Discovery

Research Insights

Then we dug deeper into the problem using these methods:

  1. User surveys
  2. User interviews
  3. Competitor research

To recruit participants, we leveraged the co-working spaces + targeted cold emails. We had surveyed & interviewed managers and employees of tech companies and agencies in Toronto.
As for the competitor research, we analyzed the competitors' reviews (e.g. G2, GetApp) and conducted usability testing on their tools.
Here are the key insights uncovered:

Problem in depth:

‍Remote teams work more - they have have 2X more meetings. But receive less support (less team building, networking, coaching), leading them to become disengaged & disconnected.

Target Users:

Mid-sized distributed companies that are growing. This was identified as 83% of the companies in our research were planning to hire more remotely in the next 12 months.

Current Solutions:

Clunky HR software or management tools that are bloated and
not easy to use.

Goal: How might we help disengaged remote teams 
to improve the culture of connectedness and collaboration?

Defining the Success Metrics

Using the insights from our research, we determined down our goals and value metrics early on, so we can keep our eyes on the prize 🎯

Explorations

We then brainstormed possible solutions.

We used the Effort x Impact graph + process of elimination

We tested first on web app then mobile
— because our target users were using web more than mobile, as seen in Google Analytics

We conducted concept testing with several solutions
— some were tested with Figma prototype, some were made into functional software

Some of our explorations

Workplace forum v.1

Workplace forum v.2

Twitter for workplace

Some of our explorations

Simplified OKR

People

Employee spotlight

Concept testing & picking the winner

From concept testing, we decided to move forward with the People & Spotlight feature and its collaborative aspects. And it followed the following hypothesis:

Hypothesis: If we help employees connect with each other based on interests and skills, then they’ll feel more comfortable and connected with the team.

Narrow Focus, Deep Explorations

After our somewhat lukewarm first release and testing, we revisited it with a fresh set of eyes.
And it desperately needed improvements 🛠

Revisiting the Visual Language & Content

First, we tackled the low-hanging fruits. This also taught me the importance of investing in design systems.

Addressed:
Accessibility issue
Content not digestible
Unnecessary pages
Inconsistent shapes

Redesigning the Card

We explored the profile card in-depth since it's the most important element. Things we considered were:

- Are the content simple and bite-sized?
- How transparent are the information laid?
- Do users click the CTA?

After many iterations, we narrowed down to these 3 top options for the profile card. User testing revealed the following:
- Option A was ruled out first, as the interaction cost for user to realize the value was too high.
- Option C was chosen as the users clicked on the CTA button than option B.
- Option C also had a clear navigation and hierarchy, as users identified the menu items quickly.

Final Design

Spotlight

Simplified for user’s attention — this is the entry point to the app, where the user’s motivation is the highest. Based on user testing, users were hooked right away on reading about a person in Spotlight.

Putting 1 person in the focus at a time — we want the user to give attention to the Spotlight person and connect with them.

Emphasizing the face, then name — helping remote workers become familiar.

Recommended for you

Personalization — we can recommend someone who’s relevant based on similar goals & interests, so user is more likely to engage and collaborate.

People

Prioritizing transparency & simplicity

Humanizing workers, not be a row in excel sheet

Know your team's faces & names

Know who to reach out to when you need
- Star icon to save for faster contact

Group Sessions

1-to-many connections

Scalable mentorship and internal training

People - gallery view

Prioritizing transparency & simplicity

Humanizing workers, not be a row in excel sheet

Know your team's faces & names

Know who to reach out to when you need
- Star icon to save for faster contact

People - list view

Efficient search

Quickly find anyone in the company

Keep track of who you've connected with

Impact

10
Companies

Validated our idea by launching pilots with 10 companies 🚀

+20%
Ease of use score

Usability testing score increased by 20% since the pivot📈

110+
Connections made

On our platform, from
 300 pilot users 🤝

Simple and effective in getting to know remote coworkers I would’ve otherwise missed out on collaborating with."

User feedback

Faster and more fun than our clunky HR software"

User feedback

+Bonus: the timeline

Key Learnings

Culture is the pre-requisite to profit 🤝
Humanize your business first. Help people feel engaged and connected at work.

Use data, but with deep user empathy ♥️
Relying too heavily on data led us to the wrong path earlier on. Listen to frustrations; be an advocate for users. 

Take risks ✨
Growing up as an immigrant child, I was told to play safe. But this entire journey taught me take risks and make mistakes because that's the best way to learn!