Cisco’s e-commerce platform is a vital part of its business, supporting the discovery, configuration, and transaction of Cisco’s products. Over the years, Cisco’s business has evolved from primarily hardware to hardware, software, integration, and services. However, the platform design has not substantially changed to account for these changes. Cisco initially came to us concerned that their e-commerce platform had severe UX problems, but needed a more detailed and accurate assessment of the UX issues.
This was a multi-phased project conducted over several months where the findings of each phase drove the approach for the next. We started with a heuristic evaluation which confirmed the UX issues and provided a deep and detailed understanding of the issues. This spawned a foundational user research effort that drove both a tactical design effort focusing on “low hanging fruit” design changes and a parallel strategic design effort to lay out an approach for transformational change.
We began the project by conducting a heuristic evaluation and generated a detailed analysis of the usability issues with the platform, identifying short term tactical solutions and long term strategic approaches forward. More importantly, it helped us convince the Cisco team of the need to gain a much more accurate understanding of their users.
As we learned about the platform, we realized that the platform was being used in new ways, reflecting the evolution of Cisco’s product line. We convinced Cisco that we should do additional user research to understand these newer users in depth before moving forward with design. We conducted user interviews and generated new personas and a master journey map that captured the complex ways the different personas interfaced with the platform and each other.
#Designing for now and the future
We took a two-pronged approach to the re-design: a tactical one to provide immediate improvements to the user experience and a strategic one focusing on a fundamental redesign of the entire platform.
The tactical effort involved redesigning messaging across the platform (errors, alerts, informational text). We created a messaging style guide and rewrote 250+ messages that the team was able to implement immediately.
Strategically, we created an entirely redesigned conceptual model design to serve as the foundation for a re-imagined platform.