About the Applicant
We use design methods, processes and tools to delivery ground-breaking work, and have a set of core ideas and methods that underpin our approach:
Identifying the problem correctly will go a long way to ensuring the solution works
Consider your customer's entire experience of your organisation in order to design a game-changin solution
Close collaboration makes for a very effective way of working
Base ideas and innovation on insight gained from reasearch
Use a lean approach: try ideas as out as soon as practically possible.
Fail fast, learn fast
Change the organisation to meet the needs of the customer (instead of expecting the customer to change)
Keep the customer at the centre of everything
Organizational change is a frequent corollary of our approach; challenging traditional assumptions and stasis is something we often engender as part of our process. We believe this is healthy and will result in a better, more profitable organisation (through happier customers).
We work with government bodies (Transport for London, Metropolitan Police) and large companies in specific sectors such as banking (Amex, Barclays, Zurich) and entertainment (Cineworld) and have helped achieved far-reaching results.
Transport for London (TfL) has been a long-term partner of ours, and we are currently engaged in both customer facing strategic design work and using design methods to help internal departments and systems work more effectively - ultimately resulting in better experiences for both staff and customers.
TfL Online has been completely committed to the user centred design approach from the outset, and this has given our collaborative partnership the impetus to make something exception for transport users in London.
So we're proud to be working with TfL, and are very happy that the work we have been doing together is being recognised by the DfE awards.
we are experience
We took a service design view, and were able to make decisions that were informed by what the customer needed across the entire service provided by TfL, rather than the narrow view of the single, digital channel. Our hope is that that view has helped us create a digital solution that is built to scale for future needs.
Supported by our research, we were determined not to compromise the experience for mobile; we were committed to ensuring that mobile users would have as full an experience with the service as would desktop users.
The adoption of a lean approach to design really expidited the process, getting us quickly to somewhere useful. We rapidly developed the concept using an iterative process—we threw all the initial ideas out on the table quickly, discarded the dumb and unworkable, then validated and iterated the remaining ideas until we got to something that worked.
Creating engaging stories that described the vision was vital in driving momentum within the team and business. With a large organisation and many senior stakeholders, it was vital to build consensus about where we were headng. The use of visuals and storyboards was very effective in achieveing this.
Then we developed prototypes and proofs of concept of increasing fidelity, testing all the way through with users—we did a lot of guerilla testing.
Our team, in partnership with Transport for London's Online team, worked hard to gather requirements and insight from the business and from customers. We then laid the business requirements over the customer requirements - and where they overlapped is where we aimed for.
Inspiration came from the TfL Online team's commitment to the design process, which gave us the remit to focus tenaciously on the user.
We were also inspired by seeing some amazing work going on in the public sector and large organisations around the world, including the Government Digital Service in the UK. It's fantastic to see the shift towards focusing design on the customer and towards leaner ways of working.
There are also many companies making great apps using TfL's open API—and our inspiration came from seeing the work others were doing and where they were taking the information.
We were also driven by the fact that no-one else had really taken on the challenge of creating a responsive, mobile first digital service that had deep, heavy functionality. We felt we were pioneering—creating something new and setting a standard.
Our aim is to provide a digital service that allows the millions of travellers in London to find their way to their destinations as quickly and as comfortably as possible - and to allow for smart, informed decisions to be made en route.
Mobile is key to this. By providing reliable and timely information on the move, the service will also help customers navigate around disruptions and congestions, and find new, alternative routes that will make travelling easier.
We're treating this solution as a service, rather than a project, which means we are going to continue to all to and improve it all the time. Our next major phase of work will be focusing on personalisation and intgration of other TfL services to provide a single, individually tailored experience.
Ultimately our goal is to create a companion for travellers - a companion who knows London like the back of their hand, but also who knows the user, so information can be tailored specifically for the individual. The system will become far more intelligent and predictive, and this will enable users to make intelligent travel decisions while on the move.
As a result of the open API the demand for mobile apps was being more than adequately satisfied by the private sector.
But it seemed unlikely that the private sector would be willing to create a comprehensive source of information on the web—a huge task, but one necessary for those without apps or access to apps, or for people who wanted to go to the official source.
So the solution was to create an experience based on a mobile first, fully functional responsive web platform—access from anywhere with a web connection on any device.