Transamerica

Enterprise Experience Framework

Transamerica Digital Products

Here is how I led my team to create a contiguous ecosystem of digital experiences across Transamerica Financial Services by standardizing an experience framework comprised of UX, technologies, and design.

Organization

Transamerica Financial Services

Role

Director of Enterprise UX

Responsibility

UX Strategy, Research, IA, and Framework

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.01 The Challenge

A Contiguous Ecosystem

As Director of Enterprise UX, one of my primary goals was to create a world-class contiguous ecosystem of experiences for all digital products. This vision was a challenge since there were countless applications with many having different technologies, branding, and design. How would we ensure continuity?

.02 Strategy

Fostering Collaboration

As an enterprise team, we collaborated on critical change initiatives with different functions across all divisions. What was immediately evident was the lack of transparency across teams trying to solve similar issues. I saw this as an opportunity to not only foster collaboration, but to convince teams to adopt a standard goal-directed application framework, one that would ensure brand, UX, and technology continuity.

The challenge was to convince the organization that the right solution was to create an experience that would be goal-directed and centered on the needs of our customers. Leadership wanted the same design and navigation structure as the consumer-facing website, Transamerica.com.

.03 Discovery

The Importance Of Evidence

How did we convince the business to adopt a common framework for goal-directed experiences? We created a case study on Mint, PayPal, and Square that highlighted their approach to creating post-login experiences and how they differed from hierarchical information design patterns typical to consumer-facing websites.

We also built a prototype that demonstrated the confusion this convention would create for users trying to complete tasks in a post-login environment. We also demonstrated how a goal-directed experience increased the effectiveness, efficiency, and usage satisfaction of completing the same tasks.

Once approved, we shifted focus to understanding the needs of our users through surveys, analytics, journey maps, interviews, and much more. Additionally, we had to inventory the current web properties, user experiences, technology stacks, and branding.



Without evidence, it's just an opinion.

.04 Definition

Collaborating With Technology

We selected the hub and spoke information architecture design pattern as our navigation schema. The navigation system consisted of a left column and top row navigation structure. The interplay between both had the potential to fit over 60 navigation items, well within the threshold of all goal-directed applications inventoried during our discovery exercises. This information paradigm enabled us to create baseline information architectures for all goal-directed experiences.

We also had to consider technology. The organization had just adopted an enterprise content management system and the goal was to push current and future web properties to it. We collaborated with engineering teams and recommended a front-end development framework that was responsive and compatible with the CMS system. We even created a prototyping platform.

The combination of information architecture, technology, principles, and guidelines became known as the Enterprise Experience Framework.

.05 Research

Research From The Ground Up

UX was a new discipline at Transamerica, so we had to build our research process from the ground up. Fortunately, we were able to collaborate with the innovation team. They provided key marketing metrics that informed design. However, we needed to obtain metrics that would drive our designs.

Our approach began with planning. Our team handled strategy while the innovation team took care of the study. Since Transamerica was a global entity, we designed our lab to be simple and mobile. This setup consisted of a couple of laptops, hardware, and software (Morae). In the meanwhile, the innovation team handled the logistics, recruiting, and the moderator's guide.

We decided to pilot the study with in-house participants. Our mobile lab was put to the test since we had to board a plane and fly to a different state, set up, and execute. It all worked out as planned. When completed, it had become Transamerica's first in-house moderated usability study. This approach served as the model for subsequent studies and became an integral part of the Enterprise Experience Framework.

.06 Design

Streamlining Product Development

The two principal methods used to communicate designs were wireframes and prototypes. We partnered with senior leadership teams from technology, creative, and business to establish the strategy, implementation, and delivery of UX artifacts.

The framework's design consisted of information architecture, layout, and components. We designed these components for mobile first and adhered to design patterns and usability best practices. We then held UX workshops, in which we collaborated with business analysts, engineers, and UX designers to create wireframes and prototypes.

Minimal and Touch Sensitive

We participated in design sessions with the creative team for the purpose of establishing a design language that would adhere to branding and usability best practices. We also provided examples of goal-directed experiences and requested for a minimal and touch sensitive design. Below are a few examples of this execution.

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.07 The Sweet Spot

Sharing My Vision

We implemented the Enterprise Experience Framework for many projects, including Single Sign On, which was considered to be the largest software development undertaking in Transamerica's history. This adoption served as a testament to the success of the framework. It also demonstrated that if you design with scalability in mind, one solution could serve as the foundation for growth, continuity, and user-centric design.

The most important lesson learned was the significance of creating a vision, sharing it, and getting support for it. The philosophical climate of 100 years of evolution created a real challenge for adoption of this vision. To overcome these challenges I had to foster environments of collaboration and form strategic partnerships. Lastly, passion and drive provided me with the strength and energy needed to transform this vision into a reality and to inspire others to do the same.

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