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Infor Ming.le Chat

Project Summary

Infor's "centralized space for collaboration, business process improvement, and contextual analytics" needed to improve their collaboration tool. Adoption of Ming.le as internal social network had been slow except from teams specifically required to use it. Our challenge: increase user adoption with a drastic UX makeover. 

Start at the beginning: user interviews

“Sharing files is hard and cumbersome,"  they said, and that  "searching for people was confusing."    “Ming.le should replace all other ways to exchange information…”  rather than third-party software like Skype or Slack.

“Sharing files is hard and cumbersome," they said, and that "searching for people was confusing."

“Ming.le should replace all other ways to exchange information…” rather than third-party software like Skype or Slack.

Ming.le is a vast internal communication, file sharing, and workflow tool used by all Infor employees, but through our survey, we discovered that they overwhelmingly used "Posts" (the Facebook-like news feed). So why weren't they happy with the experience? 

We started with an assumption that users avoided Ming.le because of the clunky UI and inconsistent functionality. In with a series of 11 user interviews, we discovered that our assumptions were correct.

See the research study here

Old Ming,le: Sharepoint, Not responsive, drab UI, "Connections" and "Recommended Groups" were often not understood.

Old Ming,le: Sharepoint, Not responsive, drab UI, "Connections" and "Recommended Groups" were often not understood.

New Ming.le Chat: hosted by Infor, responsive, more familiar feeling UI, Groups and Teammates organized in a way that made sense.

New Ming.le Chat: hosted by Infor, responsive, more familiar feeling UI, Groups and Teammates organized in a way that made sense.

 

Design

We analyzed the feedback and created a list of requirements and user stories.

Our process included object-oriented design exercises, sketching, and detailed mapping of MVP features. 

We then took our concepts from design to presentation-ready in a matter of weeks, presenting our prototype to the CEO and other executives, receiving full approval. 

Whiteboarding initial concepts. Photo by my design partner, Sam Provenza

Whiteboarding initial concepts. Photo by my design partner, Sam Provenza

Some competitive analysis and design critiquing. Part of the fun is leaving up your concepts for the whole team to view. Photo: Sam Provenza

Some competitive analysis and design critiquing. Part of the fun is leaving up your concepts for the whole team to view. Photo: Sam Provenza

Testing

Me and my colleague Elan outside the user testing pop-up lab at Inforum 2016

Me and my colleague Elan outside the user testing pop-up lab at Inforum 2016

After initial designs were complete, I made a working prototype (using UXPin) to test at our annual customer conference, Inforum. Over the course of 3 days, I tested 33 participants from diverse industries, gaining many valuable insights into how we could improve the design.

Some changes we made included adding an "add" button to create new teams, and overall usability enhancements to the file uploading system. 

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How it helped

Team and Group Directories:

Through our interviews, we heard that users needed a simple way to look up other teammates, rather than go through the cumbersome Outlook directory. Users had to "connect" with each other (like following on Twitter), even if they were on the same team. In Ming.le Chat, we eliminated having to connect with other users, and made all your groups visible via icons in the left-hand navigation. 

Infor Document Management:

Since we were designing a chat tool specifically for Infor users, we were able integrate Infor Document Management (IDM) into the final design. This one feature would set Ming.le Chat apart from any third-party application, and allow users to collaborate around documents seamlessly. 

Ming.le Chat is not live yet, but is being slowly rolled out to select internal teams, with new features such as Infor's virtual assistant. As with any social collaboration tool, the more people use it, the better it gets. 

Ming.le Chat is live!

Ming.le Chat is live!

update: Ming.le Chat is live!

A former coworker recently sent me a screenshot of Ming.le Chat. It lives! Nice to see a product come to life.

[Last names have been anonymized for privacy.]