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REMOTE WORK REIMAGINED
Optimizing Communication & Efficiency

OVERVIEW

 
Image by Olga Thelavart

RemoteTeam.com is a global integration platform focusing on optimizing the remote working experience. Their primary business sector centers around global payroll and HR. They came to us with a mission of entering an entirely different market: fast communication.

THE CHALLENGE: New Product

  • Quickly connect to your most frequently contacted coworkers.

  • Must integrate Slack, Zoom, Desktime, and a calendar app.

  • This product will be marketed to an international audience

  • Must function primarily within the confines of the MacOS menu bar.

CLIENT: RemoteTeam.com

PLATFORM: Desktop/MacOS menu bar

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TEAM: 3 People

DURATION: 3 weeks

MY ROLE: Product Designer

I worked with two designers and the RemoteTeam.com team. I led business research, prototyping and interface design and collaborated on all research aspects. 

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TOOLS & METHODS

  • C & C Analysis

  • Interviews

  • Task Analysis

  • Design Studio

  • Persona Creation 

  • MOSCOW Chart

  • Quantitative Research

  • Qualitative Research

  • Usability Testing 

  • Figma

  • Wireframing

  • Prototyping

 

THE CHALLENGE

The Client's Problem Space

The office is a prison of the mind…”   - Sahin Boydas, CEO RemoteTeam.com,

Currently, there is no platform that integrates all the communication aspects of day-to-day business in a seamlessly-connected, remote workspace.  RemoteTeam.com is constantly looking to innovate and felt a desktop application, focused on quick communication was the direction to move towards to accomplish their goal of business optimization. 

Business Goal: Become the go-to integration platform that connects remote workers together in a simple and efficient way.

 

PROPOSED CONCEPT

By creating cohesive access to all of the business’ commonly-used communication applications, we will provide quicker, easier, and more efficient communication for the business and its employees, increasing their overall workplace efficiency by 30%. We will know this by a click rate reduction of 30%.

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Light bulb stating "All-in-one menu bar app"

Slack

Zoom

Calendar App

All-in-one menu bar app

 

HOW WE SOLVED THIS

Image by Olga Thelavart

Finding the Why

Since we were given a fairly narrow “ask” early in the project, we were adamant to determine the “why” aspect. I decided to gather some initial qualitative data through interviews to validate the issue before proceeding forward with the proposed concept. 

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In depth user interviews were conducted via Zoom lasting 20-30 minutes. (We chose to use Zoom to test our remote communication and accommodate Covid-19 guidelines and participant timezones. 

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Interview points were placed on virtual sticky notes and affinity mapped twice to see what themes emerged for remote working. 

4 unexpected themes emerged

Workspace
Disconnection...

Desire for stronger interpersonal connections with coworkers and workplace camaraderie

Office
Frustration...

Frustration with the lack of spontaneous professional and personal communication: 

 

  • “over the wall”/cubicle

  • running into coworkers in the break room or elevator, etc.

Workspace
Isolation...

Lack of interpersonal interaction leads to employees feeling:

 

  • isolated

  • uncertain of the quality of their work and the work of others

  • disconnected from company culture

Office
Dissatisfaction...

Universal dissatisfaction with the feeling of disconnection that comes with working remotely work.

 

Respondents were also dissatisfied with current solutions proposed by their respective companies. 

Clarifying the Target User

We combined the findings from stakeholder and remote worker interviews into this profile intended to represent the RemoteTeam.com’s user base. Creating a Persona & Scenario allowed us to have a greater understanding of our user. This helped us determine which features to prioritize in order to combat specific pain points. 

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Prioritizing Features

We  had several options to combat how to address workplace efficiency through applications, so we used a MOSCOW chart to provide the visual understanding of which features to include within our designs.

The client heavily emphasized the need for diversity and inclusion worldwide, so multi-tiered communication, empathy, and connecting people were key aspects to incorporate into the finalized product.

Must Have

  • Calendar integration

  • Messaging integration (Slack)

  • Zoom integration

  • Time zone/location

  • Online status

  • Multi-app integration option

  • Time sensitive/send later messaging

  • One-click access (to everything)

  • "Top 8" frequently contacted

Should Have

  • Customizable layout

  • Multiple login options

  • Notification if you didn't connect your Zoom link to the meeting

  • Time tracker (clock in/clock out)

  • Time tracker (how much time is spent on what) (back-end)

  • Notifications in general

Could Have

  • Time tracker (clock in/clock out)

  • Time tracker (how much time is spent on what)

  • Remote Happiness

  • Announcements for comradery

  • Smart tracking that detects habits? (back-end)

  • Security guarantee/protection (back-end)

  • Linkable to current site

Won't Have

  • Payment integration

  • HR documents

  • HR onboarding

  • E-signatures

  • Their multitude of customizable integrations

  • Tax credit deduction

Quantifying Efficiency

To help measure for workplace efficiency, the over-arching goal of our client, I turned to some quantitative tools to measure successes in efficiency. Since our client only wanted to integrate Zoom, we focused our efforts to determining how to cut out steps, thus save time.  

A task analysis gave us concrete data to work with and highlighted opportunities for improvement. Our desktop solution managed to slash the 16-step process of scheduling a recurring zoom meeting down to just 2 steps! 

(From 16 steps to set up a Zoom meeting to 2 steps)

Working Man

This theme of capitalizing on microseconds not only  boosts efficiency, but also mimics a more connected workforce.

We recognized a broader benefit of easy, more spontaneous and quick communication: it aids in the building of stronger personal and professional relationships, therefore building stronger businesses.

With this in mind, we focused our visual efforts on recreating interpersonal connections utilizing the online resources requested by the client.

Key Things to Include for the Visuals 
  • Friendly, casual vibe --> coworker's faces to create the "over the wall" effect

  • Quick access to Zoom, plus other communication sources in one place 

  • Customizability --> to create a more personal, bespoke feel 

  • Ability to integrate multiple applications, depending on the organization

Creating the Visuals

In order to remain objective from all the previous competitor research, we conducted two Design Studios to bring fresh eyes to the problem.

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Participants were tasked with coming up with rapid-sketch solutions that could solve the issue of missing human connection and “over the wall” pop-ins to communicate with their coworkers.  

We incorporated several of these ideas into our finalized designs, focusing on recreating the feeling of connection via digital interface. We predicted that by removing as many barriers as possible to connect with coworkers, communication becomes simpler, easier, and fosters a more holistic work environment. 

 

OUR SOLUTIONS

Teammate's dropdown panel with local time, location, hours conversion cheatsheet, desktime time tracker, messaging, smart date detection, one-click zoom integrations and meeting setup, and their personal schedule
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  1. Top contacts in MacOS menu bar with status availability indicators 

  2. Local time & location, hours ahead/behind host's local time, Desktime time tracking integration

  3. Slack, email and Smart Date Detection integration

    • Smar​t Date Detection would pick out what it thinks are dates from messages that are typed and suggest calendar events

  4. One-click Zoom access or Quick-step meeting setups

  5. Daily schedule in real time

The Teammate's Dropdown

We recognized that talent is worldwide and one of the benefits of remote working is the freedom for companies to hire the best talents. Keeping this in mind, we wanted to incorporate features that expressed appreciation for diversity, inclusion, and respect of other people's time.

Settings Panel 

  1. Customizable contacts

  2. Accessibility-friendly display status indicators

  3. Application integrations

  4. Mouse/trackpad shortcuts

Settings panel of RemoteTeam.com's desktop application. 1) customizable contacts, 2) accessibility-friendly display status indicators, 3) application integrations, 4) Mouse/trackpad shortcuts

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Having highly customizable features and integrations allows for businesses to utilize the applications that best fits the needs of their organization. We drew inspiration from RemoteTeam.com's existing online dashboard and leveraged the integration-focused  platform idea onto the desktop app. 

Floating Dock

An alternative dock was created for flexibility and accessibility. Users can move the dock anywhere on their screen and scale to the size to their liking. Clicking on any avatar provides the same dropdown menu as the top menu bar avatars. 

Messaging & Notifications

  • All-in-one location messaging and notifications

  • Reply directly within notifications

  • Smart Date Detection

  • Real-time calendar updates

Full Onboarding Flow

Providing an experience that feels natural and quick not only cuts down on extraneous actions, it provides the positive aspects of working in an office alongside the benefits of working remotely. Striking this balance and between business and interpersonal relations brings together the best of both worlds. 

Image by Olga Thelavart

REFLECTIONS & NEXT STEPS

This was an amazing project to work on and the possibilities of further integrations and customizations are endless. Our research has lead us to suggest the following next steps:

  • Capitalize on the branding opportunity for this Quick Connect application

  • Incorporate voice-activated control features

  • Integrate a mobile whiteboard for group collaboration

  • Include holiday and celebration information within the platform to continue on their inclusivity and diversity values

*This was designed as a new project; launch date is TBA. We have a good relationship with the client, so we will monitor and update launch date changes.