a mobile app loyalty platform for T-Mobile
In April 2017, I was hired as a freelance UX designer along side two other students to develop a new app for T-Mobile. Our stakeholders are a team of successful industry professionals working in UX design, technology development, and business development who wanted to gain outside perspective on an app concept for T-Mobile. My team and I had three-weeks to research, design, and prototype an app that is user-friendly, and uses gamification to collect user data, and I am so excited with our result!
I operated as a UX designer focusing on research, content strategy, communication with our stakeholders and users. I introduced the gamification design strategy for our MVP to my team, and worked jointly on user-research, design ideation, production, and user-testing.
Scope: My team of three was asked to design a T-Mobile loyalty app platform that will gather user-data through gamification.
The Problem: AccelOne came to us with few details, and high hopes of an app concept that would influence a user to play games on repeat, and earn rewards by participating with apps and ads, in order to generate user-data that T-Mobile could market to businesses/brands seeking a targeted client pool. This project was one of the most challenging and innovative projects I've worked on, since we were tasked with advocating for the user as we began building the idea into a successful model, and building that model into a successful app. The lack of information and the short timeline really pushed my team to think quickly, test-design-iterate quickly, and keep an agile mindset. It was a great and fun challenge!
Sketches and Ideation
Our schedule was broken down from the beginning by deliverables, and allotted ample time to user-test and make changes based on user-testing. The first week consisted of surveys, interviews, and research which included sketching low-fidelity flows and concepts. As homework for the first week, each member of my team took time to sketch ideas on paper about what we envisioned the app function and flow to be. From these sketches, we began to see some common themes,so we skimmed the best ideas and began using them as the base for feature validation, and our second week agenda.
The Original Business Model: AccelOne presented a business model that would have a user download an app through T-Mobile, and then choose a genre of ads and notifications that they would like to receive periodically. The reward for users would be exposure to new games and apps and entertainment, and access to relationship discounts thru partnering businesses.
An app that serves as the center of a business ecosystem for T-Mobile, and leverages the T-Mobile un-carrier Brand
Building a Business Ecosystem: My team and I designed a platform for a user-rewards (loyalty) app that will benefit telecom companies, users, and digital ad companies thru access to user’s data sharing. We created an ecosystem that will deliver highly detailed customer/user data from T-Mobile users to businesses who wish to deliver targeted content. The result of this work will create an environment where users feel more comfortable sharing their personal mobile data in exchange for gifts and rewards.
Once we streamlined the scope of the project and our MVP, we began to research user-data, successful loyalty programs, and gamification. Our team sent out a user-survey, and asked questions about comfort and satisfaction around sharing data with businesses, and participation with loyalty programs. The results validated many of our questions about user comfort with ads, loyalty programs, and companies mining personal user-data.
The User's Perspective: We quickly discovered through interviews, and survey results that users are not comfortable with companies sharing their personal data, but they could be swayed by monetary compensation, or high value goods and services.
High Value Rewards: We heard from users that in order to feel comfortable sharing data they would be willing to earn rewards, dollars, or discounts. Some rewards that our stakeholders hope to incorporate are entertainment deals and service discounts. We compiled research that outlined the cost of popular services so that T-Mobile could use these numbers to generate value-rewards geared for each tier.
Who are our Users
Due to the tight timeline, we leveraged our survey results, user-interviews, and internet research to develop two proto-personas for our app. We found that there are two main types of users who would engage our app.
Sarah represents the population of users who we expect to easily use our app
James represents users who may be less likely to use our app:
Competitive and Comparative Analysis:
Loyalty Apps, and Rewards Programs: We found and reviewed several businesses who incorporated gamification and loyalty rewards into their business model. We researched their strategies in order observe follow industry trends, and also improve on current models. A few platforms that we chose to focus on were Starbucks, Nordstrom, Chase Sapphire, and Amazon, based on user survey results. These very different companies all shared a unique connection, they incorporated incentives and gamification into their reward/loyalty platform.
Rally Health makes Health and Wellness into a game: While I was working with Wells Fargo in 2017, we began using Rally Health for our HSA funding distribution. Rally Health built a platform that joins health, finance, and incentive rewards. I brought the idea and the experience of participating with Rally Health to my UX design team, and it became a large influence for our T-Mobile platform. My first-hand experience working with the Rally validated our previous research on human behavioral psychology and supported our design decisions. The way Rally Health works is that it uses conventional free-to-play app game conventions to incentivize users to participate in health and wellness activities, and earn participation points that can be redeemed for high-value-item raffle entries. Rally’s successful approach to gamifying health and wellness management works because of their careful analysis of human behavioral psychology, and easy to follow language and layouts. We took a note of the successful on-boarding program and used it to influence our T-Mobile on-boarding experience.
Design Iterations: When we first designed the app, on-boarding process we tried to engage the gameification component and make onboarding a game too. This design was not very successful in educating our user, and caused a lot of confusion. We took note, and changed our strategy entirely, and updated the copy to be direct and transparent, just like T-Mobile's brand.
User Testing: Total on-boarding overhaul: In addition to changing our on-boarding strategy to be direct, and our app to be gamified, we found that users were confused by what we meant in saying "User Data". Further testing will be needed to streamline the copy and remove any vagueness about what the app does. We strive to make the copy and content engaging, fun, and educational.
A/B Testing: Much of our final design was chosen based on A/B testing first with our team, then with users from our interview pool. The final designs in our prototype performed best during user-testing.
The Final Product: Our final project joined the on-boarding screen flow above with the main screens below. Our app prototype can accomplish several tasks:
1.) We teach the user about the app and our mission thru on-boarding
2.) We show the user how to earn points in the app
3.) We show the user how to spend available points on goods, entertainment, and fun services
What I Learned
I chose to stretch my new skills during this project, and shadowed the principal designer on our team. I became proficient with Sketch, and Flinto during this three-week project, leveraged my interest in research and strategy, and enhanced my relationship management skills. Our team worked directly with a Senior UX designer, a Technical Marketing Manager with T-Mobile, and the CEO of AccelOne. And I worked as the primary point of contact; delivering process details, and keeping our stakeholders up-to-date on activities and progress. I learned to leveraged my management background, and fostered a positive and excited work environment with my team in times of pressure and uncertainty. This project was challenging at times given the time-line, and the level of innovation required to create an entirely new user-centric app concept, but I learned that a lot is possible when you work with a team of positive, excited, and hard-working peers!