Introducing human-centred thinking to feature-focused teams

Unmind is for humans and fundamentally about humans, however, when I started with the company, there was no shared understanding of our customers; their motivations, behaviours, philosophies or journey in product. Together with our Head of Design and Head of Product we decided to use this project as an opening to start a conversation with our internal teams and users. I set out a project plan with the following steps:
  • Meetings with key stakeholders - Customer Success (CS), Sales, Product, Engineering to discuss feature background and expectations
  • Journey maps + service blueprint
  • Ideation & alignment workshop
  • Customer interviews
  • Mobile & web designs
  • Finessing messaging
  • Testing flow & interaction
  • Release & tweaks

Client pressure, internal legacy and building a 'community'

Discussions with key stakeholders revealed a number of important forces at play that impacted how I moved forward with Plus One.
The first, was the client pressure our Sales and CS teams were under to have this feature realised after promising it to clients some time ago. After v2 of the web and mobile app were released, the product team were also feeling the push to go beyond parity and release new value for customers.
Secondly, with product teams transitioning from a waterfall workflow to agile and squad style delivery, there was an added sense of doubt that Engineers wouldn't be included in earlier phases of the product development cycle. Our sudden shift to remote work compounded this factor.
Lastly, our Head of Product was eager for Plus One to be the first step in exploring how Unmind might support users in feeling more connected and part of a community on the platform.
To release the valves on some of these points and, inline with our dual-mission of human-centered thinking, I facilitated an ideation and alignment workshop to bring minds together around who this feature was for and how we should deliver it to them.
Before the session, I created an employee experience map / service blueprint so we could see where Plus One might fit into the employee journey and what the experience would be like for a Plus One once they had been invited.
Before the session, I created an employee experience map / service blueprint so we could see where Plus One might fit into the employee journey and what the experience would be like for a Plus One once they had been invited.

What does Unmind mean to users, how would they share it?

Talking to users is always the most enlightening part of design and this time was no different. During these mostly directed (with a small segment of undirected listening) interviews, I was able to observe a number of actionable patterns, and invite stakeholders to listen in and get in touch with our end users.
As you can see from some of the quotes below, interviewees also revealed underlying motivations and philosophies around mental health which kicked off another project in UXR about audience segmentation (let me know if you'd like to hear more).
“I just was looking for something that I could use to make me feel a bit more connected…”
"I'd actually direct her straight into a tool...(and say) this is how I look after my mental wellbeing on a regular basis, there may be some things in there that you want to take a look at..."
“I need to make some changes or do something different. So I've been exploring what could be an alternative future and I found that quite tough cause it's quite scary thinking about…doing something different.”
"I'd just talk through my experience (if recommending to someone else). Somebody my age–59, 60–you never stop learning and reaching out for help."
First design concepts for 'Invitation Flow', feel free to scroll down and click through this prototype.

Personalisation, recommendations and user education to ease invitation anxiety

Our alignment workshop and interviews yielded great findings to take forward into flows, messaging and hi-fi design. These included:
  • Interviewees all referenced their own experience and/or recommend a feature when 'inviting' someone to join Unmind ie. "I use X and I thought it might help you".
  • There were several points of anxiety in the journey related to privacy, what the invitee's experience will be after the invitation is sent, if they could be uninvited or removed, and if they could see each other's progress in the app.

Fast, secure and personalised

Following testing and internal prioritisation, we simplified the flow and added in more user education early on in the journey for both employees and plus ones. We bug-bashed for a solid day across platforms to make sure the invitation, un-invite and removal process was leak-proof and did an internal release before setting Plus One free.
Leading up to release I worked closely with our Brand Designers, CS and Marketing team to craft consistent, beautiful and impactful messaging about Plus One that featured in webinars, blogs, social posts, and in-app CTAs.
Native app: Inviting a Plus One
"I've been going through the Support inbox and it's honestly so incredible to see how many people are getting access to Unmind as a Plus One...When I think back to 3 years ago, I think most families would have struggled to have such open dialog about mental health..."

– CS Manager
Web App: Inviting a Plus One

Effort vs. impact

I tried to pack a lot into this project: introducing user research to the business; new workshops with stakeholders; changes to UI and grid; and inclusion of brand elements in collateral and in app experience. While these activities served longer term goals such as increasing design maturity, collaboration and a more polished user experience, it wasn't a particularly lean approach for what ended up being a simple feature.

I'm interested now in thinking more about short vs. long term impact and how to better measure this in projects and teams I lead.