Business Account Manager (BAM)

Ship and iterate, Inspiration comes from anywhere

Group managment UX from BAM

Background

No two businesses are identical. How do you build a solution that allows companies to mirror their culture in a way that feels natural to them? The answer: start simple and scale.

Northstar Strategy, UX pattern & writing standardization, guerrilla testing, rapid iteration, Axure interactive mocks

Summary

As Sr. UX Designer, I collaborated with senior leadership, lawyers and development. Tools used included: Workflow analysis, competitive analysis, Northstar vision development, sketching, printed documentation and interactive mocks.

Deciding a Northstar vision for the BAM

“Every great finish was once a simple beginning. Start now.” -Robin Sharma (cancer survivor)

Initially, the Business Account Manager (BAM) was intended to allow small businesses to delegate credit cards. Interviews and feedback indicated that businesses required additional capabilities. After weighing the cost and effort required to address these needs, we started simple, planning to add features later.

Rapid, directed iteration requires a Northstar vision. After brainstorming with stakeholders, we had a host of innovative patents, inspired by social media, film, amusement parks and more.

Out of these brainstorms, two core models emerged:

  1. An object-oriented model, with nodes for each element, which I recommended due to its scalable architecture
  2. A heirachical model, with nested groups allowing for cascading permissions, which was easier to develop, but limited customization

In the end, the hierachical model was selected since search would not be available for at least 1 year.

Sharing evolving UX

Good experiences require the instincts of a good designer. Great experiences require the insights of a team.

To expose our design thinking, we started with sketches, using templates I developed. Later, the designs were refined following wall reviews (see thumbnails), posted in the hallway, so the team could comment on the designs at any time.

Once finalized, I converted the sketches to interactive Axure mocks, and tested them for user acceptance and usability.

Sketch of wall review process
Sketch template for reviews and ideating
Example of wall review layout
Example of wall review layout

Wall reviews

Effective wall reviews require planning:
  • Ensure mocks are error-free to prevent confusion
  • Set aside at least 1 hour per 10 mocks
  • Ensure ALL decision-makers are invited
  • Assign a facilitator and note-taker
Conducting a wall review:
  1. Begin with a white-paper reiterating context, user goals and success criteria
  2. After reading the white-paper, invite team to walk through the experience, using stickies to record comments and questions
  3. Discuss each sticky, if change is needed, document and assign action-items
  4. Schedule a follow-up

Ship and iterate

“Control is for Beginners. Iteration is truly the mother of invention. -Ane Habjorg

Unlike physical goods, software is fluid. After rounds of iteration and testing, we launched the first version of the BAM, which allowed businesses to delegate the use of credit cards and addresses. Feedback from usage data and customer calls was mixed. While most had little difficulty using the BAM, many comments highlighted the need to organize permissions into groups.

Built to scale, the UI was designed to include this functionality. Consequently we fast-tracked sign-offs and reviews by Amazon customer experience bar raisers (CXBRs).

What's a CXBR?

Amazon takes customer experience seriously. Customer Experience Bar Raisers (CXBR), volunteer to "help teams take the Amazon customer experience to the next level." They do not focus on the UI, rather they evaluate the tenets, impact on the broader Amazon experience, and success criteria.

Exploration of messaging and navigation stages for BAM
Mocks for first stage early BAM
Mocks for second stage early BAM

Scaling the experience

Function speaks louder than branding.

A purposeful UI is a balance of content and function. Over the last 2 years, the UX has evolved, incorporating new features, such as tax exemptions, approvals, customized checkout settings, and more.

As each feature was added, the balance of content and function was re-evaluated. As a feature was added, content was removed. Resulting in a UI driven by features.

Are we there yet?

The answer is a definite "No." The BAM is slated for a major overhaul, bringing it one step closer to the 2012 Northstar vision.

BAM tenets

With each evaluation, we refer to the BAM Northstar and its tenets, including:

  • Customers must understand the scope of actions
  • Function communicates relevance more so than messaging
  • Form communicates "how" better than instructions; reduce clutter with intuitive design
Landing page for the BAM
People management page for the BAM
Groups management UX for the BAM
Settings page for a group