Back to projects

Workspace

Work remotely, stay connected

Overview

Remote work has been becoming more and more popular in the last few years. People can now work from anywhere and anytime and companies increase their pool of potential employees. Working from home may also suit your family life, while it allows you to focus on the job without the distractions of socializing and office chatter.

On the other hand, remote workers often feel isolated. They can easily interact with co-workers and clients via technology but it’s not the same as face-to-face meetings, lunching together or just everyday chat. Companies that have space offices around the world and that consist of teams working in various destinations, have the need to connect their employees and create a global company culture.

Workspace is a social media app that helps the employees connect with their colleagues from different office locations, share their everyday work-life and their interests, habits and hobbies.

The 5 steps of the design thinking process

Empathize

User interviews

During the research phase, I conducted user interviews in order to gain a better understanding of user's motivations and to gather information on users' feelings, and users routines.

I interviewed two people found amongst friends, that work remotely for more than a year in companies that have employees in multiple locations . The interview with Markos was done in-person and the interview with Myra was done via telephone.

Guiding Questions:

Intro:

  • Could you tell me more about you? What's your occupation?
  • For how long are you working remotely?

Company:

  • Can you tell me about the company you work for?
  • About what percentage of the employees work remotely?
  • Does your company support asynchronous work?

Life at work:

  • I would like you to describe a typical day at work. How does your day begin? Do you take breaks? What do you do during breaks?
  • What do you like in your daily routine at work?
  • What do you find hard?
  • What's important for you regarding your work?

Relationship with colleagues:

  • What do you think about your relationship with your colleagues?
  • What do you find difficult in this relationship?
  • Do you feel connected with them?
  • Do you ever feel the need to meet them in-person?
  • Has the company established procedures or events in order to create a company culture?
  • Do you think that the relationship you have with your colleagues will affect the relationship with the company (for example the time you stay at the company)?

Working in different location:

  • How do you feel about work from a different location, for example, a colleague's work space?
  • What do you like in this idea?
  • What do you think that wouldn't work for you?
  • What information would you like to have about working with a colleague, before you meet them in person?

Get feedback on product:

  • Would you use a social media app that would connect all your colleagues and that you would give you the opportunity to learn their interests and hobbies and share yours?
  • Do you think that it would help create a company culture?

Outro:

  • Is there something else that you believe I should know?

Empathy Mapping

During the user interviews, I was taking notes in order to create the empathy maps. I chose empathy mapping because it helps us deeply understand our users and prioritize their needs. An empathy map externalizes knowledge about users in order to create a shared understanding of user needs and to illustrate user attitudes and behaviors.

Fig.1 Empathy Mapping for Markos
Fig.1 Empathy Mapping for Myra

Define

Personas

Knowing what our target users do, say, think and feel, allows us to empathize with them and be able to find solutions to their problems and fill their needs.

After having interviewed people that work remotely and having identified what their actions, thoughts and feelings are, the fictional character of Pavlos is created, that encapsulates the basic characteristics of our target group. That way, we have Pavlos as a point of reference in the future decisions that we'll take. The solutions that we will find have to solve Pavlos's problems and respect her needs and goals.

Outcomes

Top 3 problems:

  • Remote work makes you feel lonely
  • You can't really connect with people that you don't meet in-person
  • People bond more easily with people that they work more closely (in the same team) - it's difficult to create a company culture

Target customers:

People working remotely for companies

Ideate

Solution:

A tool that works as a connection between colleagues. People have the chance to introduce themselves in a fun way, share their interests, habits and hobbies and learn more about their colleagues. In that way, they can connect with them, visit their workplace and work with them.

What people do now:

  • Use chats like Slack, Discord
  • Companies organize company retreats
  • Remote team activities

Key activities to measure:

  • Retention: Do people still use the app after 3 months?
  • Increase people using the application - Increase communication between colleagues
  • User profile completion: In what level do people complete their user profile?
  • Increase people travelling to visit other colleagues

User Flow

The user flow diagram

Prototype

Test

Usability Testing

Before starting designing, I created a low-fidelity prototype and I did a quick usability testing in order to reveal possible usability problems. I tested it with two people in-person.

Scenario:

Browse Hugo Daugherty's user profile.

Findings:

  • Both users clicked "About" as a first click. One of the participants told me that he wants to read more about the other person the first time he enters their profile. He wanted something more "personal".
  • They both didn't know what was the images below the map in the "Works from" section
  • They didn't understand if the "latest articles" were the person's articles or articles in general
  • In the media section they would expect to see photos and videos.
  • One of the participants asked how he can follow the colleague. The other participant asked the same question, but answered to herself "I guess I already follow all my colleagues"
  • They didn't understand what "what's new" is.
  • What does share button do (since everyone sees everyone's post, you don't need to share them and since you can't share the posts outside the company)?
  • One of the participants mentioned that he would like to see other people with the same interests

Design decisions:

  • Rename What’s new to Home
  • Latest articles in the activity is confusing. I think that, since there is the Blog section, we can remove it from the Activity section.
  • Move the photos below the map so that the information is more structured - its easier to understand what the photos is about.
  • Input for search, not just icon.
  • Rename media to blog
  • Add more information to interests, books, movies: like, add to favorites, other people who are interested in this.
  • Add small description in the profile.
  • I decided to leave the share functionality, but rename it to "Send to", so that a user can share a post with a group, or send it to another colleague.

After conducting the usability testing and having reached the design decisions, I made the changes in the wireframes: Link to Whimsical

Design

Extra feature

Let's work together!

It was very clear from the user interviews that it was very important for them to meet their colleagues in order to bond and feel connected. One of the features that is worth working on, is planning a trip or event. The users will have the opportunity to plan a trip, list the details and discuss with their colleagues about it.